Residents of Spyglass Hill and surrounding neighborhoods fear their picturesque ocean vistas will be marred if a nearby cemetery is allowed to expand.
Pacific View Memorial Park wants to build a new chapel, offices, a funeral home and six mausoleums on the site.
More than 50 residents protested the proposal at this week's City Council meeting. The council sent the proposal back to the Planning Department for further study but it is unlikely the expansion plan will be adopted as presently proposed.
Under the city's general plan, the cemetery is allowed to build up to 50,000 square feet of floor space. The expansion proposal would exceed that limit, said James D. Hewicker, Newport Beach's planning director.
The council directed planners to prepare an amendment to the general plan. The amendment would further restrict where cemetery structures could be built as well as create new height limits and setback requirements, Hewicker said. The new amendment would continue to restrict the park to 50,000 square feet of floor space.
City planners are expected to take two months to complete the amendment, which then must be approved by the Planning Commission and City Council.
Some residents were disappointed by the council's action and hoped the cemetery's plan would have been rejected on Monday. Council members stressed that their decision does not mean that they endorse the cemetery's plans.
Residents of Spyglass Hill, Seaview and Spyglass Ridge are concerned that the proposed expansion would detract from their views and hurt property values. Some residents also fear the mausoleums would be erected too close to their back yards.