By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
Our next City Council meeting is Tuesday, October 26. Items that may be of interest are highlighted below. The entire agenda, and all reports, can be viewed at https://www.newportbeachca.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/64216/72.
Study Session at 4 p.m. Agenda items include:
- A progress report on the draft Housing Element update to the City’s General Plan, following comments received from the state Dept. of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Staff will discuss the HCD comments and efforts to revise the draft Housing Element based on that feedback. Staff will also provide an update on the environmental review and next steps. The City is updating the Housing Element in response to state mandates calling for Newport Beach to plan for the development of more than 4,800 housing units in the next eight years.
Regular Session at 6 p.m. Items of note:
- A resolution to form an ad-hoc committee on residential care facilities. The resolution stems from an October 11 community meeting, hosted by the City, on sober living homes, group homes, and state-licensed residential care facilities, where residents expressed concerns about the number of facilities and the way in which certain facilities are being operated. The meeting brought together residents and elected officials from the City, County and State to discuss current laws and regulations pertaining to the different types of group residential facilities. The ad-hoc committee, comprised of Council members supported by City staff, will examine code enforcement, regulatory and legislative needs and other proposals designed to help address the community’s concerns.
- Direct election of City mayor. The Council will consider a resolution calling for an election that would amend the City Charter to provide for the direct election of the mayor of the City of Newport Beach. If approved, the resolution would authorize a June 7, 2022 or November 8, 2022 special municipal election and order that a proposed amendment to the City Charter be submitted to voters. The proposal under consideration would authorize the direct, at-large election of a City mayor, who could serve up to two, four-year terms, and eliminate one council district. Under the current system, the mayor is elected annually for a one-year term, to serve as the presiding officer of the City Council, from among seven Council members by vote of the members.
- Fiscal Year 2020-21 year-end budget review. Council members will review the City’s year-end budget report and consider staff recommendations for the use of surplus funds and federal relief funds. Revenues were higher than anticipated and expenditures were lower than expected during the 2020-21 fiscal year, thanks to the City’s conservative budgeting approach and a more rapid improvement in the economy than anticipated. The City’s General Fund now has a surplus of $31 million, accumulated during the past three fiscal years. Council members will consider a staff recommendation to allocate $5 million from the surplus toward the City’s annual unfunded liability contribution to CalPERS, $10.5 million to fund long-term infrastructure projects and $15.5 million to the capital improvement program and neighborhood enhancement projects. Staff is also recommending that $10.1 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds be allocated to the capital improvement program.
- Hoag Hospital development agreement extension. A 10-year extension is proposed to an agreement between the City and Hoag Hospital, which was first signed in 1994 to ensure the orderly development of the hospital over time. This would be the fifth amendment since 1994. Hoag has requested a 10-year extension to the current term of the agreement to provide greater flexibility in responding to the rapidly changing health care industry and needs of the community.
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: [email protected]. The City Manager also gets 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.