By Jill Cowan
January 4, 2013 | 8:15 p.m

As the Newport Beach City Council gears up for 2013, it will tackle uses for the old City Hall site, an Airport Land Use Commission finding that could affect a development project and analysis of a Corona Del Mar lane merger relocation at its first meeting of the year Tuesday.

Old City Hall site

According to staff reports, the city received 15 responses to an October request for qualifications from groups interested in developing the 4-acre City Hall site with either a boutique hotel or a residential mixed-use complex.

Of those, city staff and the Ad-Hoc Neighborhood Revitalization Committee recommended that the council move to issue a request for proposals from the top three groups in each category.

The groups chosen for possible hotel proposals were Pacific Hospitality Group, RD Olson Development and Sonnenblick Development Co. For residential developments, the group chose AMLI Residential Partners, Archstone and the Shopoff Group.

Uptown Newport

Community members can discuss the possibility of overruling an Oct. 18 Airport Land Use Commission decision on the Uptown Newport project, which found that plans for the development were “inconsistent” with John Wayne Airport’s land use plans.

The council was originally set to have a public hearing Dec. 11. On Tuesday, it can vote to officially notify the commission and the state about its intention to overrule the finding. After more opportunity for public comment, the city could then override the commission’s decision.

Lane merger

The council may also put to rest a proposed location change for a lane merge in Corona del Mar.

In June, the city set up temporary lane markings to test the effects of the proposed change on East Coast Highway at MacArthur Boulevard. The change would have added sidewalk space nearby.

In late October, the city found that congestion in that area increased and the council voted to have the temporary markings removed.

The council is scheduled to hear a final report on the trial period.

Public comment changes

Issues that may not be up for much discussion are proposed changes to the council’s public comment policy.

A consent calendar item, which city staff typically expects to pass without council debate, would change council policy to decrease the amount of time members of the public would have to comment on matters that appear on the meeting agenda.

The change would allow three minutes of public comment on agenda items, whereas now, five minutes is allowed.

In the general public comment period, when community members can comment on anything, the time limit is already three minutes, which wouldn’t change, a staff report said. The council would still be able to lengthen or shorten those time limits on a case-by-case basis.

The consent calendar item would also change policy to allow only members of the council to pull items from the consent calendar for further discussion. Now, any member of the public can also ask for more discussion on consent calendar issues.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Newport Beach City Council Chambers, 100 Civic Center Drive.

Twitter: @jillcowan

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