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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Orange County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Measure L
Open Space Amended to Permit a Resort
City of Newport Beach

Majority Approval Required

14798 / 33.0% Yes votes ...... 29997 / 67.0% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the the Newport Beach General Plan be amended to be consistent with the Marinapark Resort and Community Plan (Project)?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
A "yes" vote on this measure would amend two "elements" of the Newport Beach General Plan to be consistent with the Marinapark Resort and Community Plan (Project). This Project, which is described in greater detail below, contemplates development of a 110 guest unit luxury resort on City-owned bayfront property commonly known as Marinapark. Marinapark is located on the Balboa Peninsula between 18th Street and the American Legion parcel. Marinapark is currently developed with 56 mobilehomes, 4 tennis courts and other recreational facilities, a Community Center and 21 parking spaces. A "yes" vote would change the Land Use Element designation for Marinapark from Recreation and Environmental Open Space to Recreation and Marine Commercial to be consistent with the Project. A "yes" vote would also amend the Recreation and Open Space Element to delete a reference to "future opportunities for park, recreation and aquatic facilities" on Marinapark. A "no" vote means the language in the Land Use Element and the Recreation and Open Space Element would not change. A map showing Marinapark, the proposed amendments and the current language are in the material that accompanies the sample ballot. The City Council has submitted this measure to the voters pursuant to Section 423 of the City Charter and an agreement between the City and the Project proponent. Prior to submitting the measure to the voters, the City Council certified an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for the Project. The EIR concluded the Project would not have any significant adverse environmental impact with the adoption of certain mitigation measures and the City Council adopted those measures. The following is a summary of the Project described and analyzed in the EIR:
  • A 110 guest unit luxury resort (12 of the units may be fractional ownership) consisting of approximately 96,000 square feet of floor area including a lobby, restaurant, bar, ballroom and spa. A pier and float would be installed adjacent to the American Legion marina and 200 on-site parking spaces serve guests and employees.
  • Guest units are in one and two story villas. The maximum height of the two story villas and the spa is 27 feet and the lobby is 34 feet in height.
  • The Project proponent would relocate and reconstruct, at its expense, a 6,200 sq. ft. Community Center/Girl Scout House, 4 tennis courts, a children's playground, 41-space public parking area and a bayfront public walkway. The City Council received a fiscal impact report on the Project when it certified the EIR. Assuming the resort opens in 2007, the report predicts that, in 2010, the Project will generate City revenue of approximately $2,200,000 and City costs of $26,000. Annual City revenue before the resort opens is anticipated to be less than current mobilehome rents and annual revenue after 2010 is projected to exceed $2,200,000. The majority of the revenue is a combination of lease payments and hotel tax. Actual City revenue depends on, among other things, the terms of the lease and accuracy of room rate and occupancy forecasts.

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Arguments For Measure L Arguments Against Measure L
The Marinapark Resort and Community Plan presents Newport Beach residents with an historic opportunity to upgrade our community for the public's benefit. A yes vote will lead to the creation of a small though elegant resort befitting Newport Beach's worldwide prominence. With only 110 rooms in 16 villas, it will be a modest yet beautiful addition to Newport Bay. A yes vote will also put in motion a remarkably balanced series of environmental, restoration, recreational and economic improvements to the Balboa Peninsula. Your yes vote will end the private, outdated use of Marinapark as a trailer park. By doing so, an extraordinary public benefit will be realized + more than $100 million in lease, sales tax and transient occupancy tax revenues generated by the resort over 50 years. These are resources important for the future of the public safety, utility, recreational and cultural services we expect. Your yes vote means a triumph for environmental stewardship, clearing the way for the creation of Newport Bay tideland boundaries for the resort site. More than $1 million a year ($50 million over 50 years) will be placed in the Newport Beach Tidelands Fund for beach and water quality improvement. The resort will revitalize our historic Balboa Peninsula. American Legion Post 291 will benefit from a $500,000 restoration, and Las Arenas Park will be home to a new Girl Scout House and Community Center. The resort will assure local public access to bayfront beaches, and permit public enjoyment of the resort and its recreational amenities including tennis courts and docks. Opposition to the resort does not have a plan, only hopes for a costly and crowded public park and boat launch ramp that will generate far more people and more traffic to the Balboa Peninsula than the resort, and no economic benefit. Vote "Yes" on the Marinapark Resort and Community Plan.

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The proposed Marinapark timeshare hotel will supposedly provide a wonderful upgrade to our City. But for whom? Who of you, who now own this priceless bayfront property, will pay the targeted $400 nightly room rate; or the $2 Million price for each of the 12 proposed timeshare units? Who of you ever venture into the newly rebuilt Balboa Bay Club to use that supposedly user-friendly bayfront, which is also City owned, and also ground leased to that operator. How will Marinapark be any different? Vote NO to maintain public control of this public property. The developer projected annual rent revenue to the City, after the developer gets his $20 Million up front for the timeshare units, and assuming the hotel operates at above the $400 nightly rate, is estimated to be $2 Million. That is less than 1.3% of the City's current $178 million Budget. For comparison, in each of the last five years City property tax revenues have increased more than the hotel's projected annual rent to the City. The public gain from the lease income doesn't offset the loss of public use and control for the next 50 years. Vote NO. The real question is what is the best City resident use for Marinapark? A beautiful 8 acre bayside park and aquatic facility available to all Newport Beach residents, or its' conversion to a speculative high-end timeshare hotel targeted for very wealthy and mostly non-residents? A NO vote allows the City to keep Marinapark for public uses.
The Newport Beach City Council has given you the opportunity to choose what legacy you will leave to your children, your family and your community: a park, or a hotel with time-shares. Vote NO to retain the existing general plan use for Marinapark as parkland and open space. Marinapark is City owned public property. It is the last opportunity for a waterfront bay-beach park on the Balboa Peninsula. The Mobile Home Park is planned for removal, leaving almost five acres of additional parkland property for the public's use for small boat launching and storage, parking, kayaking, rowing, swimming, and other park recreation activities. A NO vote preserves park and recreation space for your enjoyment of the bay. Water recreation is the heart and soul of Newport Beach, yet it is hard to find public facilities that have access to the bay. Most bay front property is privately owned. Marinapark has over 900 feet (three football fields long) of public bay frontage that can be used to create a park and aquatic center. Vote NO to keep this area open for public use. If a "luxury resort hotel" is placed on this priceless waterfront parkland only its guests and customers will enjoy the five acres that could have been a park. Vote NO to keep a "luxury resort hotel" from being built on Marinapark. The Balboa Bay Club is on land donated to the City. A public park could have been there, but we have a hotel and private apartments instead. Don't make that mistake again! Vote NO. Parkland is for public access and recreation, not for revenue generation. Don't let this public property be leased for an exclusive resort hotel that will serve very few compared to the many that could use new park, recreation and aquatic facilities. Vote NO.

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The opposition to Measure L promotes a boat launch ramp, public pool and public park as a "legacy." But what is the cost?
Far more traffic than the resort will create.
Tens of thousands more people each year from throughout Southern California.
No ability to generate future revenues for enhanced city services or the funding of beach and water quality improvements.
Increased demands on police and city services. Is this the kind of "legacy" Newport Beach needs? Is this the kind of "legacy" envisioned by the committee that supported the election of the opposing authors to the City Council? The Marinapark resort is the result of more than 25 public hearings and the most comprehensive Environmental Impact Reports in Newport Beach history. The results of the extensive public planning and study are these facts. Marinapark Community Plan:
Generates $100 million over 50 years for Newport Beach
Allows creation of Newport Bay tideland boundaries
Contributes $50 million over 50 years to the Newport Beach Tidelands Fund
Assures local public access to bayfront beaches, the resort and its recreational amenities
Provides a half-million dollar remodel of the American Legion Post 291.
Builds a new Girl Scout House and Community Center for use by Newport Beach residents.
Sparks the revitalization of Balboa Peninsula with a small, elegant, 110-room resort with public beaches, gardens and docks Vote YES on Measure L. It's a real legacy for Balboa Peninsula and for Newport Beach.

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:32 PST
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