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Newport Center Expansion

November 16, 1986

With the amount of emotionalism and misleading hype concerning the completion of Newport Center running rampant, it is easy to jump all over the big bad Irvine Co. as the single thoughtless generator of all the area's traffic problems, but this reflects only campaign induced passions of the moment.

What were the options 25 years ago? Newport Beach was simply not destined under any scenario to remain a sleepy seaside village. What has typically occurred in cities all across this country is visually depressing, fragmented, parcel by parcel development as each individual lot owner does his thing. Why is our community studied by envious cities and planning groups from all over the world? Why are our property values so stable? Why as we drive along Pacific Coast Highway, Jamboree or MacArthur, can we enjoy major landscape edges rather than the backs and service areas of strip retail centers?

Try to visualize these arterials as they would appear in almost any other community. Those who have traveled widely will understand. Those who haven't need only drive Interstate 5 from Los Angeles to Irvine or make the same trip on any surface street. Strip commercial and uncoordinated development constitute the worst form of visual pollution.

Without question this, in some form, could have been the character of our community had there not been a single, responsible, planning oriented landowner. Traffic problems will not go away if the completion of Newport Center is halted. The north bound traffic that backs up each morning on Pacific Coast Highway south of Corona del Mar is a fact of life stemming from development in Laguna, Dana Point, Capistrano, San Clemente and all employment centers north of us. It is blatantly obvious that the Pelican Hill bypass will have far greater impact on lessening this problem than anything happening--or not happening--at Newport Center.

Past history throughout this country confirms the fact that sooner or later every developable parcel of land will be developed with something. Let's not lose perhaps our last opportunity to have the largest remaining development in our city completed in accord with a single deeply studied, well conceived quality master plan.

As a permanent resident both the immediate impact area of Newport Center, I urge you to think beyond the campaign cry of Gridlock and vote yes on Measure A on Nov. 25.

WALTER J. RICHARDSON

Newport Beach

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