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burrowing owl, Newport Beach

Coastal panel staff recommends smaller oil land development

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — State coastal panel staff are recommending a proposal to build homes and a hotel on a large oil field in Newport Beach be downsized to make more room for the burrowing owl.

A report released Friday by California Coastal Commission staff suggests that the panel confine development on 401-acre Banning Ranch to about 20 acres.

The developer wants to build 895 homes, a 75-room hotel and retail complex on roughly 70 acres, leaving most of the site as open space. About 15 acres would still be used for oil drilling.

Environmentalists oppose the plan and want more of the land protected for species including the owl.

The commission is expected to consider the proposal on Sept. 7.


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