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• <br />• <br />u <br />City of Newport Beach <br />City Council Minutes <br />June 13, 2000 <br />that they adhered to a strict three minute time limit on public testimony and <br />advised the public at the beginning of each meeting of the time limit and <br />encouraged everyone to present their points in outline form, give the <br />Commission new information to assist in the deliberations, and follow up <br />with written supplementary information to support their oral testimony. He <br />reported that they heard well over 100 speakers and that, even though they <br />were not conducting a plebiscite, speakers in favor and in opposition were <br />remarkably even in their numbers. He added that the Commission also <br />received hundreds of pages of letters, faxes, and emails, as well as telephone <br />calls about the project. <br />In trying to follow a logical path in deliberations so that the public could <br />follow the Commission's progress and participate in the deliberations, <br />Mr. Selich stated that the Commission started from the broad perspective of <br />whether or not the project was worth considering and sequentially narrowed <br />the deliberations down to project design factors and impact mitigation. He <br />reported that, at the end of each meeting, they carefully explained what had <br />been done that evening and, at the beginning of each subsequent meeting, <br />the Commission recapped where they were and what they were going to try <br />to accomplish that evening. They also kept track of each question raised and <br />then answered them in the staff report for the following meeting. He <br />indicated that the Commission feels that, with all this extra effort, those <br />citizens that wanted to participate in the deliberations had ample <br />opportunity to do so and have their testimony, oral and written, carefully <br />considered by the Commission. <br />Mr. Selich stated that the Commission spent hundreds of hours going <br />through the hundreds of pages of documents and studies, as well as visiting <br />the site and public and private properties that had the potential to be <br />impacted by the project. He indicated that, in his 20 some years as a <br />professional planner and developer, he has never seen a project so <br />thoroughly analyzed by a planning commission, public participation so <br />actively sought, and so much time spent to insure that a proper decision and <br />recommendation to the legislative body was rendered. He noted that the <br />Commission's recommendation was unanimous, although individual <br />members may have preferred something slightly different here and there. <br />Mr. Selich indicated that the Commission deliberations began with the basic <br />question of whether the project had enough merit to pursue or whether it <br />was so out of character and scale with the community that it should not <br />move ahead. He reported that the Commission was advised by the City <br />Attorney that the baseline for consideration is the 1983 Settlement <br />Agreement as amended. He noted that the agreement provided for the <br />development of a 275 room /500,000+ square foot hotel and ancillary uses. <br />Although there is a proposal for a 165,000 square foot/275 room facility <br />which was previously done, the Commission determined that the baseline is <br />what is permitted under the settlement agreement and is much broader than <br />the proposal. The Commission concurred that the spirit of the settlement <br />agreement should be honored but that no agreement is perfect and, if a <br />better project can result and be within the spirit of the agreement, then they <br />would be remiss in their duty to the City if they did not pursue the improved <br />project. He reported that the Commission concluded early on that the <br />proposal had sufficient merit to warrant serious consideration but only if it <br />Volume 53 - Page 428 <br />INDEX <br />