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NEWPORT BEACH : Input Again Sought on Taco Bell Proposal

October 05, 1994|HOLLY J. WAGNER

A debate over a proposal to build a 24-hour Taco Bell across West Coast Highway from the Balboa Bay Club will resume Thursday night when the Planning Commission holds a second public hearing on the plan.

Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp. wants to raze a vacant restaurant at 1400 W. Coast Highway and build a dine-in, take-out and 24-hour drive-through restaurant.

Several residents of the bluff overlooking the proposed site have opposed the plan, fearing it will attract crime and generate late-night noise.

Eight people spoke against the project at the first public hearing Sept. 8. The commission, short two members that night, postponed a vote to give the chain's representatives time to meet with residents and Balboa Bay Club management.

The meeting did take place but the proposal returns to the commission unchanged, senior planner Javier Garcia said. A Taco Bell spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Bay club executive Dave Wooten said he reviewed the Taco Bell noise study and has no plans to oppose the project on behalf of the club.

A city traffic study projected the restaurant would draw 1,400 cars a day, 760 of them specifically for the restaurant and the rest stopping on the way to other destinations.

The permit also may allow the franchise to operate with 10 fewer parking spaces than required under city codes and two lighted pole signs instead of the one normally allowed for such businesses.

The existing building, erected in 1966, has housed the Grinder, Guido's and Melee's--all full-service restaurants with no drive-through or outdoor service.

Also before the commission is another restaurateur's plan to put a crab-shaped awning over the front of a harbor-side eatery. Gary Coburn has asked the commission to decide whether his proposed awning for Joe's Crab Shack, 2607 W. Coast Highway, fits the city's definition of a sign. If it does, he will have to seek special permission from the city to install it.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers, 3300 Newport Blvd. Information: (714) 644-3200.

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