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Our Times: Orange County Communities

Newport Beach

March 29, 2000|Noaki Schwartz, (949) 574-4323

Operators of the Newport Dunes resort are questioning whether a proposed hotel is still worth pursuing, given the restrictions slapped on them last week. City planning commissioners told the developer to eliminate the hotel's fifth floor and remove a third floor from a proposed time-share building that would face the Dunes marina.

But the deal-breaker may be the request to reduce the amount of conference space--deemed critical to attract business groups--from 54,000 to 30,000 square feet, a 44% cut. Project manager Tim Quinn said that reducing that space "cuts the heart out of the project."

The Dunes expansion, which would be built in a corner of the Upper Newport Bay, has sparked controversy with upset neighbors, who worry about traffic and noise, and with environmentalists, who fear the project's size and scope.

Quinn said Dunes operators will make a decision to cut the conference space and move on, or withdraw the project altogether by the end of the week.

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