Insider's Guide

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City Council Agenda items and other items of interest to the City Manager 

March 24, 2018

A happy 1st Saturday of the Spring to you and your family.

Here's what's going on at the upcoming Newport Beach City Council meeting set for Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m. Meetings are held in the Newport Beach Civic Center at 100 Civic Center Drive - the public is always welcome. I do not highlight all of the items on the agenda - please go to the City's web page and review the agenda if you want to see all of the items.

There is no study session in the afternoon, so the Regular Session starts at 7 p.m. The items that seem worthy of highlighting and/or explaining are these:

Council Member Muldoon asked his colleagues to consider a statement in support of a ballot measure proposed for the November 2018 statewide ballot. This relates to tightening up some of the things that arguably were loosened with recent ballot and legislative actions involving the parole system and who is eligible and when.  It also would place new penalties on parole violations, among other things.

  • Some new improvements and maintenance are/is coming for Peninsula Point Park near the Balboa Pier, and Bayview Park near the Marriott Bayview.
  • I think folks will be happy to see improvements to the crosswalks along Newport Boulevard and Balboa Boulevard - recall that we've had a number of community meetings that Council Member Dixon has hosted about further enhancing the visibility of current crosswalks on the Peninsula.  
  • The Annual "Status Report" on the General Plan and its Housing Element. This is usually a pro forma item, but it allows the staff and Council to ensure that we are following State law relating to reporting in on how we're implementing the General Plan and whether there have been any recent changes to housing activity in the community.    
  • I’ve placed Advocacy for a Port Master Plan back on the agenda, and will explain why. The goal of having a special carve-out for aspects of Newport Harbor's public and private permitting is (to me) a good one. Today, nearly all permits to do things like dredging around residential piers, residential pier repairs, sea wall repairs, and more all have to go to the Coastal Commission. Ideally, those permits could be assigned to the City and City Council for approval, provided that we considered them through the same lens that the Coastal Commission would - same concerns, same protections, same compliance with the Coastal Act. This concept will not cause Newport Harbor's current character to change - it's about permit authority, not becoming port-like (or even Port-lite). Anyway, in order to even be able to submit a plan for permit authority to the Coastal Commission, we think we need state legislation to allow us to send a Port Master Plan in for Commission review and approval. There are certainly good questions involved in this process, and good reasons to ask questions, but it seems to make sense to try it out. There could come a time in the near future when we decide this isn't going to work, and our advocacy agreements allow us to pull the plug quickly. Speaking of advocacy, Council Members Dixon and Peotter and I had a good conversation between Council meetings to become more comfortable with the approach and staffing that Don Schmitz and Sean Henschel will provide. Therefore, I was comfortable putting it back on the agenda quite quickly. If anyone has any questions about this at all, please contact me and I'll wade through it with you.  

A couple of random notes:

  • A lot is going on regarding homelessness in our region. In fact, I spent last Saturday morning in Judge Carter's chambers listening to updates about the clearing of encampments in the Santa Ana riverbed as well as a planned clearing of the Santa Ana Civic Center encampment. While I won't include it here, I recently wrote up an e-mail that I sent to a number of residents about this issue, including what we're doing as a City and community. I can send that to you if you ask me by return e-mail. Secondly, Speak Up Newport is planning their Wednesday, April 11 forum on this issue. SUN meets at 5:30 p.m. - with the program at 6 p.m. -- in the Community Room at the Civic Center. Note, too, that a small (12-unit) "permanent supportive housing" location in town has recently completed its renovation and is open for business, housing six veterans and six low-income seniors. It's an amazing place and looks terrific.  
  • We're chugging along on our airport efforts, thanks to great enthusiasm by our key community groups. We're now in the thick of a data study looking at ways to improve departure procedures so that planes can depart in the quietest manner (but still safely, of course) possible. Our groups like AWG, Air Fair, and CAANP are really engaged on this. It's exciting.  I'm happy to fill you in more on this if you ask. This coming week may (emphasis on "may", because stuff like this is very uncertain) also see the first few planes using a new pathway in the Upper Bay that involves two gentle turns, versus the current "just one" turn procedure.  I will confess to trepidation as to how this will work, but we'll be following it very closely.
  • I hope everyone has a pleasant Easter and great spring break in the upcoming weeks.  

As always, I enjoy hearing from you about this or any other community issue involving the city government. So does the City Council - remember that you can email them at to express your thoughts or ideas.  

Thanks for reading!

Dave Kiff
City Manager


City Council Meeting Information

The Newport Beach City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of most months (the exceptions are August and December). Typically, there is a Study Session that starts at 4 p.m. Study sessions are times for the Council to take a deeper look at a specific issue, or hear a presentation, that might eventually lead to a specific and more formal action. A closed session often follows the Study Session. Closed sessions are typically to address legal, personnel, and other matters where additional confidentiality is important. The Regular (evening) Session typically starts at 7 p.m., and often has a specific listing of 20-40 different items ready for formal votes. Items on the “Consent Calendar” are heard all at once, unless a Council member has removed (aka “pulled”) an item from the Consent Calendar for specific discussion and separate vote. If an item on the agenda is recommended to be “continued”, it means that the item won’t be heard nor voted on that evening, but will be pushed forward to another noticed meeting.    

Public Comment is welcomed at both the Study Session and the Regular Session. The public can comment on any item on the agenda. If you want to comment on a Consent Calendar item that was not pulled from the Consent Calendar by a Council Member, you will want to do so at the time listed on the agenda – right before the Council votes on the entire Consent Calendar (it’s Roman Numeral XIII on the posted agenda). If an item is pulled, the Mayor will offer that members of the public can comment as that specific item is heard separately. Additionally, there is a specific section of Public Comment for items not on the agenda, but on a subject of some relationship to the city government. If you cannot attend a meeting and/or want to communicate with the City Council directly, this e-mail gets to all of them: Please know that I get a copy of that e-mail, too, because in almost all cases it’s something that the City Manager follows-up on. It’s my head-start.   

The Council meets in the Council Chambers at 100 Civic Center Drive, off of Avocado between San Miguel and East Coast Highway. There is plenty of parking in the parking structure behind City Hall. You are always welcome to attend in person, but you can also watch on TV Time Warner/Spectrum 30 and Cox Channel 852 or stream it on your computer.

This Insider’s Guide is not an attempt to summarize every item on the Agenda – just the ones that seem of specific interest to Dave. I encourage you to read the full agenda if you wish.

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