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Insider’s Guide for the Newport Beach City Council Meeting on April 13, 2021

Our next City Council meeting is Tuesday, April 13.  Items that may be of interest are highlighted below.  The entire agenda, and all reports, can be viewed here.

There will be a Study Session at 4 p.m.:

  • The City’s Public Works staff will discuss potential upgrades and cost estimates to improve the storm drain system and manually operated tide valve system on Balboa Island. The proposed drainage concept would protect the island from flooding up to a 100-year rain event.

The Regular Meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and the following are items of note:

On the Consent Calendar is:

  • A $1.2 million agreement with the San Juan Capistrano-based firm Dudek to complete the environmental analysis, permitting with state and federal agencies, and the preparation of construction documents for a project that would replace four water mains and a sewer force main that run beneath Newport Bay. The four water mains are scheduled for replacement in the City’s Water Master Plan as they are relatively old and/or currently out of service due to damage to the pipelines. The sewer force main is currently out of service due to the damage to the pipeline. If the agreement is approved, Dudek would also provide construction support services for all five bay crossings. Construction would tentatively take place in the fall of 2024.
  • Resumption of the Balboa Peninsula Trolley for the summer of 2021. The action would approve the Peninsula Trolley operations between June 26 and September 6 (Labor Day weekend). The trolley operates on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as holidays, to reduce traffic congestion during the busy summer tourist season. The trolley is managed by the City and primarily funded with a grant from the Orange County Transportation Authority. The resumption of trolley service would include COVID protocols, such as mandatory mask-wearing and limits on the maximum capacity of the trolleys.

Public Hearings and Current Business include:

  • A resolution authorizing the submittal of a local coastal program amendment to the California Coastal Commission regarding short-term lodging on Newport Island. The proposed amendment would cap the number of short-term rental permits on Newport Island to 20, and require that all short-term rental units be owner-occupied and managed by the owner of the owner-occupied unit. Current permit holders for units that are not owner-occupied would have one year to retain their permits. In 2020, the City Council adopted a series of reforms for all permit holders aimed at reducing the impacts of short-term lodging, but recognized the unique characteristics of Newport Island required a separate approach. Newport Island has limited parking, is only accessible by a single bridge, and has had a significant increase in short-term rentals in recent years, going from 3 permits prior to 2018 to 18 permits today (representing more than 11% of all housing units on the island). The Council action, if approved, would authorize staff to submit the proposed short-term lodging changes to the Coastal Commission to request approval.

Thank you for reading. Feedback is appreciated so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment.

Grace K. Leung
City Manager, gleung@newportbeachca.gov
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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 6 p.m., and often has a specific listing of 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: citycouncil@newportbeachca.gov. The City Manager also get's a copy of the email, because in almost all cases it’s something that the City Manager follows-up on.

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. You are always welcome to attend in person, but you can also watch on TV, Spectrum channel 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 the City Manager. You are encouraged to read the full agenda if you wish.

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