Neighbors Vow to protect 60 year agreement

From Corona Del Mar Today

Editor’s note: The lot merger agenda item will not be heard until after 6:30 p.m.

Robin and Joan Campbell have lived in their Ocean Lane home for more than 30 years, with its wall of windows that overlooks Lookout Point and the Pacific Ocean. But another couple with plans to merge two homes and build a taller, bigger residence could leave the Campbells with a view of nothing.

“It’s absolutely the worst thing that’s happened to us, other than losing a dog,” Joan Campbell said. “I can’t think about anything else. It’s destroying my life. I want to be able to see the water.”

The Campbell’s home, along with another house owned by John and Alberta Silva, are part of a 1951 agreement with three homeowners in the 2800 block of Ocean Boulevard. The agreement stated that the three Ocean Boulevard homes would never build above one story, and the two homes in back on Ocean Lane would share an easement that allowed for garage access.

But a couple, John and Julia Guida, has bought two of the Ocean Boulevard properties and plan to build a single home on both lots, with a basement and a roof deck. Neighbors say the home will be the maximum height allowed by the city — more than 20 feet — and will obliterate views.

“This isn’t right,” said Cliff Jones, who lives in a nearby home and who also will lose views. “Everyone is very upset in the whole neighborhood.”

Attempts to interview the Guidas were not successful, and Corona del Mar Today will update this story when they have had a chance to respond to questions. But in an email, Julie Guida offered the following statement:

“Regarding our new home in Corona Del Mar, we are excited about our relocation to the Newport Beach area. We chose the Village in CDM to build our home because of its natural beauty and openness to a variety of architectural styles. We have engaged a team of professionals who have worked diligently to design and build a home that respects the area, adheres to all ordinances and will enhance our property as well as others in the area. With change comes uneasiness and we have heard there is some misinformation about our project among our future neighbors. We regret this may be the case and hope they will get to know us before passing judgment.”

Neighbors attended a Zoning Administration hearing in September, where the city approved the merger of the two lots. The neighbors have appealed, so the issue will now go before the Planning Commission on Thursday. Neighbors also said they will attend Thursday’s meeting of the Corona del Mar Residents Association to see if that group can help. But city officials say they can’t enforce private property agreements, even those that protect views, so it isn’t clear what recourse neighbors have to try to limit construction.

John Silva said he plans to fight.

“If they merge the lots, the covenant is broken,” he said. “At that time, we get legal opinions.”

“He says he wants to be a good neighbor, which makes us all throw up,” Jones said. He also said the new home would block public views from the alley off Goldenrod Avenue, a popular path to the beach from those walking from the Goldenrod Footbridge.

Robin and Joan Campbell bought their home in the mid-1970s, said their daughter, Lucy Campbell. Robin Campbell had been visiting Corona del Mar since the 1930s, when he would ride his three-speed bicycle from San Marino to the beach because he loved the ocean views.

“It’s a funny little house,” she said of her parent’s Ocean Lane home. “It’s all about the view. This whole issue is a catastrophe. This house and the view is it to them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I worry about them. It’s just not right.”

The Planning Commission could overturn the zoning administrator’s approval of a lot merger at the Thursday meeting. That meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd. The public may attend and make comments; click here to read the staff report. The Ocean Boulevard item may not be heard until after 6 p.m. because of the full agenda that includes plans for the Newport Beach Country Club and a liquor license upgrade for Pizzeria Mozza.

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