City Council Consent Calendar

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A new street name, budget amendments and plumbing repair services were just a few of the items on the consent calendar at this week’s city council meeting.

Most of the items were passed unanimously without public comment, including renaming the entrance way to Balboa Bay Resort & Club from Balboa Bay Club to Balboa Bay Way, a Resolution of Intent to set a public hearing regarding declaring a level one water shortage, appointments of Tom Nicholson and Scott Palmer to the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District Advisory Board of Directors for FY 2014-15, and a budget amendment to accept a check from the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation and appropriate funds to the library’s fiscal year 2014/2015 maintenance and operation budget.

Council Member Nancy Gardner pulled item 21 from the consent calendar: Review and approve Newport Beach & Company 2014/2015 & 2015/2016 Marketing Plan and Budget and the Newport Beach Tourism Business Improvement District FY 15 Annual Report and Budget.

First, Gardner suggested that next time Newport Beach & Co. summarize the reports instead of submitting the 77 page Marketing Plan that was probably aimed at their board of directors.

She asked Newport Beach & Co. President and CEO Gary Sherwin questions about the makeup of Visit Newport Beach, its website, and elements of the marketing plan.

“You show the beaches that are attractive, and one of the goals is to convert that day visitor who spends $50 to an overnight visitor who spends $350,” noted Council Member Gardner. “I live near the beach, I see the families come and park for free on the street and go to the beach. How do you go about converting them?”

“One of our biggest challenges is that people see us as an extension of the LA. neighborhood, but we’re working to change that perception,” replied Sherwin. “We’re a unique experience…we want that population base, it’s a bread and butter drive market for us.”

“We hear from people in Los Angeles that when they arrive in Newport Beach, they feel they have arrived in a different spot, you can be 200 miles from L.A. when you enter our city,” added Sherwin. “It’s a different mindset. People tell us that all the time. We are an hour away, but when you get here you could be five hours away because we have a look and feel that sets us apart from where they came from.”

Gardner then asked why there was a separate Dine Newport Beach when the city already had the Restaurant Association.

“Our job is to market Newport Beach, and the dining experience is part of that,” said Sherwin. “We market restaurants in general. We need to revisit the funding sources. They are looking at that issue, and how to continue with a more engaged constituency.”

After additional discussion about how Visit Newport Beach works with local Business Improvement Districts, and taking public comments from Jim Mosher on the changes in the Newport Beach & Co. structure, the motion carried 7-0.

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