Newport Beach City Manager Update: Dredging Newport Harbor, Coast Highway Construction

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Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

We had some very good news this week out of Washington, D.C.: An $8.3 million funding allocation in the federal infrastructure bill to dredge the lower Newport Harbor. It is the final piece of the funding needed to restore the lower harbor to its original channel depths, which will maintain navigational safety, and improve harbor water quality and the environmental health of the bay.

The City has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and federal legislators for many years to advocate for harbor dredging funds. We are grateful to our federal partners and Congresswoman Michelle Steel for her efforts to secure these funds as part of the infrastructure bill.

We expect the lower harbor dredging to begin in the coming months. The work will be performed by the Army Corps in coordination with the City. The lower harbor dredging, together with the Entrance Channel dredging completed last fall, will help maintain Newport Harbor as a premiere recreational and commercial boating marina, worldwide tourist destination and regional economic engine.

Organic Waste Recycling Rollout to Begin February 1

Beginning in the first week of February, Newport Beach residents will begin to receive green-top carts for state-mandated organic waste recycling, which includes yard waste and food scraps.

The new program will utilize three separate carts: one for solid waste, one for mixed recyclables, and a third for organic waste recycling, which includes food waste and landscaping waste items.

Between February 1 and March 31, residents will begin receiving new, green-top recycling containers for organic waste, an optional two-gallon bucket for kitchen scraps, and educational materials on how to recycle properly.

Organic waste recycling is now mandatory under state law, to reduce the impact on landfills and reduce greenhouse gases produced by the decomposition of organic waste. For more information on the new program visit www.newportbeachca.gov/recycle.

East Coast Highway, Marguerite Avenue Construction Project

A construction project will begin Monday, January 24 to rehabilitate concrete sidewalks, curbs and access ramps on East Coast Highway and Marguerite Avenue in the Corona del Mar area.

The construction will require temporary, intermittent lane closures at the work locations. “No Parking” signs will be posted at various locations during the project.

The areas impacted by construction will be East Coast Highway between MacArthur Boulevard and Newport Coast Drive, and Marguerite Avenue between Bayside Drive and 5th Avenue. The concrete improvements are expected to be completed by the end of March, and will be followed in April by street repaving, which will be completed by the end of May.

To minimize public inconvenience, the East Coast Highway repaving will be done at night. The Marguerite Avenue repaving will be done during the day.

The work is being performed by the City’s contractor, All American Asphalt. For questions please contact Ben Davis at (949) 644-3317 or [email protected] or Andy Tran at (949) 644-3315 or [email protected] from the City’s Public Works Department.

Tsunami Advisory Activates Emergency Communication, Response

Fortunately, the Southern California coast escaped damage on Saturday, January 15 from the tsunami waves caused by a volcano near the Tonga islands. Another positive outcome is that the tsunami advisory gave the County of Orange and Orange County coastal cities a chance to activate and test our emergency response systems and flood preparations.

Our lifeguard and harbor staff were on high alert throughout the day, checking for signs of turbulence and rising water levels. At the same time, our emergency response teams were in close coordination with the County and other coastal cities, ready to respond as needed.

If you are not registered with AlertOC, the County’s mass notification system, I encourage you to sign up. AlertOC sends time-sensitive voice mail messages regarding countywide or Newport Beach-specific emergencies to your cell, home or business phone, email or TTY devices. Text messages can be sent to cell phones.

Another helpful resource is the County’s Ready OC page with information on how to prepare your home and family for an earthquake, fire, flood or other emergency situation. To sign up for Newport Beach news and alerts, visit www.newportbeachca.gov/subscribe.

COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach

As of January 20, the total cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 8,474, an increase of 606 cases since January 13. The total number of cases in Orange County as of January 20 was 466,107, an increase of 43,689 cases since January 13. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of January 20 was 323,606. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.

Testing and Vaccination Resources

Self-collection, at-home COVID-19 Test Kits are available at no cost to people who work or live in Orange County, and can be ordered online at www.ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.

In addition, free tests are now available from the federal government through www.COVIDtests.gov or by calling (800) 232-0233. You can order up to four rapid tests to be sent to your home address, which will be mailed at no cost through the U.S. Postal Service within 7 to 12 days.

Vaccines continue to be widely available throughout Orange County for walk-in, same day and future appointments. Individuals who are not yet vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19, or are eligible for a third dose (due to immunocompromise conditions) are encouraged to visit a local pharmacy or healthcare provider, or go online to www.Vaccines.gov, www.MyTurn.ca.gov or www.Othena.com, to schedule a vaccination appointment. For more information on COVID-19 information and resources, including case counts, vaccination and testing in Orange County, visit ochealthinfo.com/covid.

City Receives Additional State Input on Draft Housing Element Update

City staff and its consultant team have been working with the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee (HEUAC), Planning Commission, City Council, and the community over the past two years to prepare a draft of the updated General Plan Housing Element. This effort is required by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in response to the 6th Cycle Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation of 4,845 new housing units for Newport Beach.

In November, the City sent a revised draft of the update to HCD for a second round of preliminary review. On January 14, HCD sent a letter with feedback and findings. Based on this letter, additional revisions will be required. Click here to view the letter: https://newportbeachca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/71132/637782004887620823.

The City Council will be discussing parts of this letter at its January 25 study session.

If you have any questions or to submit comments, please reach out to City staff by emailing [email protected]. The City greatly appreciates the community’s continued participation and engagement in this challenging and unprecedented update process.

Homelessness Update

Our homeless coordinator, police liaison and our contractor, City Net, are working diligently to find shelter for those experiencing homelessness and match them with appropriate local, county and state resources. In the coming weeks we will be launching our partnership with Be Well OC, a mobile mental health service, which will help reduce the number of homeless individuals by providing treatment and providing connections to longer-term care.

  • A woman moved into a new apartment in Anaheim last week after losing her housing and experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach for several months. The woman entered the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter in May   2021   and   obtained   an   Emergency   Housing   Trellis International, a Costa Mesa-based non-profit organization and City of Newport Beach partner, donated and delivered a new refrigerator and moved her belongings from storage to her new apartment.
  • City Net, Newport Beach’s contract social services agency, processed an application and security deposit for a senior apartment for a woman awarded an Emergency Housing Voucher. Emergency Housing Vouchers are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and allow people to pay affordable rent based on their fixed incomes. Nine people experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach have been awarded vouchers. The voucher program is administered by the Orange County Housing Authority. City Net is assisting Newport Beach clients with completing the necessary paperwork, obtaining bank statements, touring potential rental apartments, and more.
  • 17 people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
  • City Net enrolled one person into their services and completed a Vulnerability Index Assessment. City Net utilizes the Vulnerability Index Assessment to screen clients on a number of factors to determine proper placement in the County’s Continuum of Care system. Some factors include age, health issues, and length of time being unsheltered.
  • City Net assisted a family with shelter referrals and rental listings, and completed a housing assessment.
  • City Net completed applications with two clients matched to permanent supportive housing in Costa Mesa.
  • City Net assisted a client with enrolling in the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program and obtaining a low-cost cell phone. The EBT system is used in California for the delivery, redemption, and reconciliation of issued public assistance benefits, such as CalFresh, CalWORKs, and other food and cash aid benefits. Established in 2004, EBT provides up to $125 a person a month to purchase food.

To donate to those experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach, please visit our Good Giving Program web page at https://newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/how-you-can-help.

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