Council Shortens Public Comments, Opposes CDM Entryway Project

A roundup of news from Tuesday night's Newport Beach City Council meeting.

The Newport Beach City Council met Tuesday evening. Here are some of the highlights from the council session.

Shorter Public Comments

If you have something to say to the Newport Beach City Council, say it fast.

The City Council voted 4-3, with council members Nancy Gardner, Tony Petros and Leslie Daigle dissenting, to shorten the public comment time from five to three minutes.

Some residents were uncertain about the change, like Resident Laura Curran who said, "these changes could potentially input public comment and transparency."

But Councilman Tony Petros said he supported the time change and referenced his vast experience across the state with meetings.

"It's not unusual to have a three rule, that is the norm and the standard," Petros said.

Mayor Keith Curry said he also supported the public comment time reduction because most residents have been able to provide their comments within three minutes, even during controversial meetings including the regarding Banning Ranch.

"Most of those comments came under three minutes," Curry said.

Along with the time reduction for public comments, the council also voted to allow only council members to pull items off the consent calendar. In the past the public was allowed to pull items too.

Corona del Mar Entryway

The City Council voted unanimously against the proposed Corona del Mar Entry Improvement Project. The council did however agree to look into another project to look into parking solutions and revamping the area through landscape redesign. The proposed plan, which was developed by the Corona del Mar Citizens Advisory Panel, included moving a lane merge on East Coast Highway at MacArthur Boulevard and getting rid of parking spaces to allow for pedestrian areas. 

At the meeting city staff referenced a traffic study conducted over the summer which showed the temporary barriers installed to test the plan resulted in traffic congestion and complaints from residents.

“I don’t believe it’s a good concept,” Resident George Schroeder said. “We all saw the study, we all saw it backed up."

Supporters of the project said it would have enhanced CDM, making it more pedestrian-friendly and appealing to the eye.

Junior Lifeguard of the Year

Mackenzie Gaddis was recognized as the 2012 Junior Lifeguard of the Year. According to a proclamation read by Curry, Gaddis was selected for several reasons including "her eagerness to learn, always being on time and having 100 percent attendance."

Curry also noted Gaddis was also proficient in the rigorous first aid and rescue components of the project. Gaddis received a $200 scholarship on Tuesday night from the California Surf Life Saving Association.



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