By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
Orange County’s COVID-19 case numbers under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy showed improvement this week, but county health officials are concerned with recent increases in the number of daily cases that could, potentially, set us back into a lower tier in the coming weeks. For now, though, Orange County still remains in the “substantial” (red) tier.
The state system tracks three COVID-19 metrics: average daily case rates per 100,000 population, the percentage of positive tests, known as the positivity rate, and the health equity metric. The results are generally reported on Tuesdays.
In the numbers released this week, Orange County recorded 5.6 average daily cases, down from 6.0 average daily cases last week. The test positivity rate decreased from 3.6 percent to 3.3 percent this week, which would qualify Orange County to move into the “moderate” (orange) tier, if not for the higher case numbers.
The health equity metric decreased slightly this week, from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent The equity metric needs to be below 5.2 percent to move into the moderate tier.
For more on the status of Orange County and others, visit http://www.COVID19.ca.gov.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of November 12, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 1,307 and the total cases in Orange County was 63,460. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of November 12 was 55,777. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.
Residences at Newport Center: Notice of Preparation and Public Scoping Meeting
On Thursday, November 5, 2020, the Community Development Department released a notice of preparation and initial study for the Residences at Newport Center Project (PA2020-020).
The proposed Project is located at 150 Newport Center Drive and consists of the demolition of an existing carwash and construction of 28 condominium units and common space areas over a two-level below grade parking garage. A detailed project description is available in the Initial Study (linked below).
The notice of preparation includes an invitation for public input regarding what should be evaluated in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The 30-day public comment period runs from November 5, 2020 through December 7, 2020. An electronic copy of the notice of preparation and initial study are available online at www.newportbeachca.gov/ceqa.
Hard copies are available to view at City Hall and the Central Library. All comments or other responses to this notice should be submitted in writing via mail or email to: Liz Westmoreland, Associate Planner, City of Newport Beach, Community Development Department, 100 Civic Center Drive, First Floor Bay B, Newport Beach, CA 92660, [email protected], (949) 644-3234.
The City will also conduct a public scoping meeting where attendees can learn more about the EIR process and provide comments on the scope of the information and analysis to be included in the EIR. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom on Monday, November 30, 2020, at 5 p.m. If you wish to participate, please visit the link below to register for the meeting using a valid email address. You will receive a confirmation email allowing you to join the meeting. https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TaDlB-M-Rtyo4TfojHQ5HQ.
You may also participate via telephone/audio only by calling (669) 900-9128. The webinar ID is 974 8209 9307.
Workshops Nov. 16 & 17 Seeking Community Input on the Future of Housing
How should Newport Beach grow in the future? The community is invited to discuss that question and provide input during two interactive, virtual workshops scheduled for November 16 and 17.
The City must plan for an additional 4,834 housing units over the next decade to comply with the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). These workshops will help shape the City’s “suitability analysis” of housing densities, which will be included in an update to the General Plan.
The first workshop, on November 16 at 6 p.m., will focus on the Airport area and Western portions of the City, including West Newport and West Newport Mesa.
The November 17 workshop, also beginning at 6 p.m., will focus on Newport Center and Coyote Canyon Landfill. Both workshops will take place over Zoom with additional input opportunities offered online.
The November workshops continue a series of virtual workshops, online activities, and educational videos to engage Newport Beach residents in the General Plan update. The workshops will be discussion- based, with polls and surveys incorporated.
- November 16. Part 1: Airport area and Western portions of the City, including West Newport and West Newport Mesa.
- November 17. Part 2: Newport Center and Coyote Canyon Landfill. • 6-8 p.m. • Hosted through Zoom. Register at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMrduqqpz4uGdY79F7tepkYWnEzWZboA2qu.
- More Information at www.NewportTogether.com. The workshops will be recorded and available on www.NewportTogether.com.
If you are not able to attend the live workshops, you can watch the recordings and provide input at your convenience.
The City’s General Plan Housing Element details the City’s strategy for enhancing and preserving community character and identifies strategies for expanding housing. The Circulation Element governs how cars and people move through the City on local roadways, buses, ferries and trails. Over the next few months, the City of Newport Beach will host more opportunities to provide input into the Housing and Circulation Elements, as well as environmental justice policies for the General Plan Update.
Visit www.NewportTogether.com to register and learn more.
District 1 Virtual Town Hall November 19
Please join us for a virtual town hall meeting for residents of Council District 1 (Peninsula area) on November 19 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.
The topics will include Oceanfront Boardwalk safety, recent changes to short-term rental housing regulations enacted by the City Council, the new City fire station near Lido Isle, and the Lido water main replacement project.
Please register for the Town Hall in advance at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vu39EhAeTkWJ-33GOz3nxA.
Emergency Sewer Repairs on Via Lido
Starting Monday and for the next two weeks, the Utilities Department will be working to replace (open cut) a 200-foot stretch of 15-inch sewer pipe on Via Lido between Via Oporto and Via Malaga. A northbound and southbound lane will be closed for the duration of the work to allow room for the construction equipment and dewatering. (There will be one open traffic lane in each direction.)
The construction work is expected to be difficult because of the 10+ foot pipe depth and groundwater conditions and the City’s contractor will work as quickly as possible to reduce the impacts. The work is being coordinated with local surrounding community and businesses.
Addressing homelessness continues to be a priority in the City’s ongoing COVID-19 response, working closely with contractor City Net and regional partners throughout the county and state. The City Net hotline number is (714) 451-6198. Those who call the hotline may leave a detailed voicemail message for themselves or others in need and City Net staff will respond within 48 hours. For immediate assistance call the County’s Crisis Prevention Hotline at (877) 7-CRISIS or (877) 727-4747.
- City Net helped secure an apartment for a woman who had been sleeping in her car. The woman moved in this week. City Net provided housing navigation resources and a kit with household items.
- City Net placed two elderly women from Newport Beach into a local shelter. The women had been sleeping in a small car for several weeks.
- The Homeless Liaison Officer assisted a young couple staying by the Newport Pier who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The man now works for a yachting company in Newport Beach and the woman started a new retail job this week. The Homeless Liaison Officer helped to shelter them in a motel to facilitate their employment, and is coordinating rental housing in the City of Orange. City Net is assisting with providing housing navigation resources.
- A woman who had been homeless for several weeks was reunited with her family in Wisconsin, through assistance from the Homeless Liaison Officer. The woman lost a teaching position due to COVID-19, and could no longer afford her rent in Newport Beach. In addition, her wallet and identification were stolen during the time she was unsheltered. The Homeless Liaison Officer contacted the woman’s family to make travel arrangements, collaborated with the Transportation Security Administration at John Wayne Airport to allow her to fly without an ID, and transported her to the airport for her flight.
- Two people in Newport Beach experiencing homelessness were enrolled into City Net services. City Net staff completed Vulnerability Index Intake Assessments for each. The assessments are used to screen clients to determine proper placement in the County’s Continuum of Care system. Some assessment factors include age, health issues, and length of time being unsheltered. City Net completed two housing assessments for people enrolled in their services.
- City Net staff continues to provide support and case management to several people sheltering in motels while they await placement into permanent, supportive housing.