meeting agenda (Item No. 20), at 1 a.m. the City Council reviewed two
possible schematics for the proposed civic center complex at the
existing Newport Beach City Hall location, which includes 0.62 acres
for a new fire station with three bays. The schematics reflect in
part efforts to find the best solution for the fire station.
Fire Chief Tim Riley said that ideally a fire station with three
bays, with potential use as an emergency operations center, would
generally be on about 1.2 acres. He also stated that it is imperative
to have a fire station at or near the current location in order to
provide appropriate response times to residents, businesses and
beachgoers, which is a point I can agree with.
What was clear is that the fire station is being shoehorned into
an unsuitable location and that compromises are being made to the
proposed civic center complex design in order to accommodate the
three uses -- City Hall, parking structure and fire station. As
Councilman Don Webb pointed out, the proposed basic plan creates a
four-story concrete wall of buildings, with all three structures
fronting 32nd Street. Is this the world class design that residents
and businesses want and expect for Newport Beach?
So this begs the following questions.
Why have the City Council and members of the city staff dismissed
any serious study of alternate sites for one or more of the project's
pieces? And if the current site is the only option, my reading of the
feelings of the general plan advisory committee shows a clear
willingness to support more multi-use development and an interest in
redevelopment of the entire Lido area, so how about a civic center
complex combined with other revenue generating uses, which could
support purchase of other property for a fire station?
Do the residents and City Council really want a fire station that
is jury-rigged onto a site 50% the size of an optimum site? Would any
of us accept a 50% solution in our business lives for a site that may
be designated as an emergency operations center? How do you explain