|Summary|| California Coastal Commission staff submitted item Th12a, revised findings for application No. 5-15-2097 Newport Banning Ranch, LLC in Newport Beach. The purpose of reviewing the revised findings is solely to address whether they accurately reflect the Commission’s decision for the proposed development at the September 2016 hearing.
The project applicant testified, requesting that the Commission deny the revised findings as submitted - claiming that they do not accurately reflect the basis of their action. The applicant requested that the findings be rewritten to emphasize that the purpose of the project denial was due to unresolved issues and the need for more information, thereby leaving the door open for a revised project. As written, the applicant claims, the findings would preempt any future consideration for development.
Coastal Commission Attorney, Chris Pederson disagreed with the applicant that the findings would preempt consideration of any new or updated information regarding the project. He stated that nothing would prevent the applicant from bringing forth new information or working with Coastal Commission staff to create a new project.
Commissioner Mary Shallenberger motioned to approve the revised findings as written, highlighting that the appended quotes from the September 2016 hearing substantiate the findings. The Commissioners voted 7-1 to approve staff’s revised findings.
Commissioner Mark Vargas voted against the revised findings as written by staff. He emphasized that he voted against the project in September, not to deny it completely but rather to encourage the applicant to find a workable project under the Coastal Act and wished that this to be more clearly reflected in the findings.
|Outcome Description|| Commissioners voted to approve staff’s recommended revised findings. The revised findings are meant to reflect the Commissioners’ decision made at the September 2016 hearing. In September, Commissioners voted to deny the project as proposed. Staff had recommended approval with suggested modifications to significantly scale down the proposed development. During deliberation, Commissioners expressed concern with staff’s modifications, noting that more information on potential environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA) was needed as well as more information on potential impacts to cultural resources. They found that the project was inconsistent with the Coastal Act.
Although the applicant expressed concern that the findings will preempt any future development, Commission staff attorney advised that this is not the case. The Commission would have to consider any future modifications including new information.The revised findings reaffirm that the project as submitted is substantially out of conformance with the Coastal Act and Commissioners denied the applicant’s project as well as the staff’s proposed modifications.
|Why You Should Care||Approval of the revised findings reaffirms the Coastal Commission’s decision to deny the proposed development at the Newport Banning Ranch site due to nonconformance with the Coastal Act. Denial of the proposed project showed that the Commission understands that there is only one chance to do things correctly (development can’t typically be undone) and that Commissioners want to see things done right – in accordance with the Coastal Act. This decision demonstrates a commitment to making careful, well thought out decisions under the Coastal Act. All development needs to be considered with this level of scrutiny.|
|Decision Type||Approval of revised findings|
|Staff Recommendation||Adopt the revised findings for Denial of the permit|
|Lobbyist/Agent||Mike Mohler, Brook Street Consulting|
|Opposition to Project||Banning Ranch Conservancy, Coast Law Group, Flo Martin, Tom Shotmiller|
|Coastal Act Policies||Chapter 3|
|Mary K. Shallenberger|
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