Processing development permits in much of Newport Beach is about to get easier.  
Beginning January 30, under a decision Friday by the California Coastal Commission, Newport Beach City Hall, not the commission, will be giving the final OK for a variety of projects in Newport's coastal zone, an area that encompasses nearly half the city and its entire coastline.
For property owners in neighborhoods such as the Balboa Peninsula and Lido Isle, that means trips to 100 Civic Center Drive could cover one's permitting needs, rather than having to wait up to 18 months for both the city and the 12-member Coastal Commission to give their blessing.
"We believe this will help property owners because they have access to [city] staff assistance with their permits and questions and it should reduce their permit costs and processing time," said city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.
Permitting authorities in Newport could be the zoning administrator, Planning Commission or City Council, depending on the proposal. 
The types of projects within the coastal zone that City Hall will be able to approve on its own are broad, including building new structures or additions to existing ones, changing a project's density and subdividing land.
However, there are exceptions.  City officials said the Coastal Commission still will have the ultimate authority on submerged lands, tidelands and public trust areas, as well as appeals.  It also will have control over the fate of Banning Ranch.
Coastal development permits for Newport Coast will continue to be processed by the county, not the city.