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

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City Manager Grace Leung

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

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 at

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. On the Consent Calendar:

  • 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 percent 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.
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