Newport Beach Coastal Development Goes Before California Supreme Court

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Protesters against the development of Newport Banning Ranch celebrate in September, 2016 after the Coastal Commission rejected a large development project proposed for the property. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The California Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday in San Francisco on a preservation group’s lawsuit challenging the Newport Beach City Council’s approval of a proposed development at Banning Ranch.

The Banning Ranch Conservancy, which seeks to preserve the sprawling coastal property in West Newport as open space, is accusing the city of violating its own general plan when, in 2012, the council approved a large residential and commercial development for the area.

The group contends the general plan prioritizes open space in West Newport and that city officials failed to work with the California Coastal Commission to prioritize sensitive habitat areas. The conservancy also says the project’s environmental impact report was inadequate.

At the time, developer Newport Banning Ranch sought to build 1,375 homes, a 75-room hotel and a commercial area on about 95 acres of the 401-acre property, which has been an active oil field since the 1940s.

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