is required, by state law, to have. It describes what development can
occur and what resources need to be protected in the coastal zone.
Newport Beach has racked up monthly fines since missing a July 2003
deadline to have a coastal plan in place.
Newport officials are upset because they turned in a draft
land-use plan in July 2004 but got little or no feedback from Coastal
Commission staffers for more than six months, Newport Beach Planning
Director Patricia Temple said. The commission finally suggested 147
changes to language in the plan, and the city gave detailed responses
to those last month.
Now everyone is up against an Oct. 21 deadline, after which the
commission forfeits its ability to request changes and the plan is
"We think we have a right to a hearing in September," Temple said.
"We think the statute actually requires it."
But at the moment, the commission is shooting for an October
hearing on Newport's plan, said Deborah Lee, senior deputy director
of the Coastal Commission. Revisions to the city's draft land-use
plan have been delayed because the planner working on it went on
maternity leave and the commission is short-staffed, Lee said.
"We have been working with them, but I'll acknowledge it hasn't
moved along as we would have hoped," she said.
Officials are still hashing out some parking standards and how
much development can occur on bluffs and other environmentally
Even after the commission holds a hearing on the land-use part of
the plan, the city's work isn't done. Newport must also create a plan
to enforce the coastal land-use rules, similar to how the zoning code
fleshes out what's in the city's general plan.
The enforcement plan could be finished by early next year, but a
Coastal Commission hearing is required for that also. It could be
anywhere from a month to more than a year before the commission takes
that up, said city planner Patrick Alford.
"We don't have too much confidence in them, because they said
they'd expedite this application," he said.
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* ALICIA ROBINSON covers government and politics. She may be
reached at (714) 966-4626.