MOORLACH UPDATE — Newport Beach City Council — October 16, 2014

For the length of the timeline. For the number of meetings. For the significant amount of research and legal analysis. For the sensitivity of the topic. For the impacts on the neighboring communities. For the turmoil that another proposed airport had on the politics of this County in the previous decade. And for the number of folks around the County that have been involved in the airport battles, it was astounding to me that I was half of the speakers at Tuesday’s Newport Beach City Council meeting, as mentioned in the Daily Pilot article below. The other speaker was opposed, and he was professional and polite. His facts may not have been accurate, but he was the only contrarian. I don’t know how to quantify a political victory, but to have such a major effort approved unanimously by both the Board of Supervisors and the City Council of Newport Beach without acrimony is unheard of. When I spend some time in the near future reflecting back on the many accomplishments during my eight years in office, the John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement 15-Year Extension will be one of those to marvel about. It was great to participate in Tuesday evening’s historic occasion and to express my gratitude to many of the participants. I want to thank them, again, in this missive (see MOORLACH UPDATE — JWA Settlement Agreement — October 1, 2014). Now, let’s hope that the hearing at the U.S. District Court goes without a hitch. Then we can close this file and continue working on a few more initiatives before the end of this year.

QUASQUICENTENNIAL BONUS: Speaking of John Wayne Airport, Orange County students are invited to enter the 25th annual Student Art Contest. All Orange County public and private school students in grades kindergarten through 12 are encouraged to submit artwork inspired by this year’s theme: "OC125: Exploring Orange County’s Story." Entries should be submitted to the Orange County Department of Education, any Orange County Public Library Branch or participating city libraries, no later than 4 p.m., Wednesday, November 5, 2014.

Winning student artwork on display in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal (2013)

This year, the JWA Student Art Contest theme was selected to commemorate Orange County’s rich 125-year history. For inspiration, students are encouraged to visit JWA’s OC 125 Exhibition currently on display in the passenger walkway between Thomas F. Riley Terminal B and C or explore the OC 125 companion guide available at Jfrisch.

Newport approves A-frame signs for Corona del Mar

Signs would be allowed on sidewalks but not with balloons, flags or other additions meant to draw attention.

By Jill Cowan

They’re about hip height, they’ll tell you the daily specials and until Tuesday evening, if you saw them loitering on the sidewalk in Newport Beach, they’d have been considered scofflaws.

But at this week’s Newport Beach City Council meeting, members of the panel voted to make A-frame signs — those street-level mini-billboards so ubiquitous in most cities — legal for certain businesses in town.

The catch? The ordinance lifting a citywide ban on the signs applies only to commercial areas in Corona del Mar. That means that Balboa Peninsula bar owners hoping to draw in a few extra patrons with a quippy sign, or Lido Village vendors planning to advertise deals will be out of luck.

That’s just for now, though: Councilman Mike Henn asked for staff to bring forward a proposal that would let Balboa Village business owners test out A-frame signs for a year, per discussions with the Balboa Village Merchants Assn.

Provided the ordinance passes its second reading, merchants will be allowed to post A-frame signs within 10 feet of the "primary entrance" of their businesses, so long as they’re at least three feet from any other portable signs and they don’t block doorways necessary for people to enter or exit a building.

One sign will be allowed per business tenant space, and they can’t be more than 48 inches tall, or larger 10 square feet in size. Finally, they can’t have any "attention-attracting devices" attached to them, such as balloons or flags.

The vote to move forward with the rule change came after a planning commission debate on the matter, during which some commissioners dismissed the idea as a nuisance that could spark an "A-frame sign war," as Commission Chairman Larry Tucker put it in August.

But, with the support of the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District’s backing, the idea passed out of the planning commission and was sent before the council, with the recommendation that the change apply to Corona del Mar only.

This week, the council voted 6-0 to approve, with Councilwoman Nancy Gardner recusing herself.

No members of the public spoke on the issue.

**

In other news, the council breathed a sigh of relief and congratulated one another as they came to what City Manager Dave Kiff called "the end of a long road," and gave an agreement that will extend John Wayne Airport’s noise and traffic limits its final approval.

Last month, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved an extension to the 1985 legal settlement that allows John Wayne Airport to remain one of the nation’s most tightly regulated for noise in surrounding communities.

The agreement, which keeps the airport’s curfews in place until 2035, but allows for passenger caps to rise starting in 2021.

After a short recap of the years-long negotiation process among the settlement parties — which include the city, the county and community groups Stop Polluting Our Newport and the Airport Working Group — officials lauded the level of cooperation throughout.

"I was at the [Orange County Board of] Supervisors meeting," said Councilman Keith Curry. "It was a great celebration of consensus-building."

Supervisor John Moorlach, whose district encompasses the airport and Newport Beach, addressed the council and thanked various city staff members who have helped in negotiations.

"I"m really pleased with the outcome," he said. "It’s a balance for the community — the extension was a big ask [of the Federal Aviation Administration, which essentially had ultimate veto authority over the agreement."

Still, not everyone was pleased with the deal.

Longtime council critic Jim Mosher, the only member of the public to take the podium before the council’s unanimous vote to approve the agreement, called the settlement extension an act of "self-delusion."

The deal, he said, sets "arbitrary" passenger cap targets that residents will be stuck with for years to come.

With the council’s approval, the agreement will be filed with a U.S. District Court.

Corona del Mar Today Editor Amy Senk contributed to this report.

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