By Grace Leung | Newport Beach City Manager
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Orange County moved from the purple tier (“widespread” risk level) to the red tier (“substantial” risk) under the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.
This allowed some business sectors to reopen immediately, with modifications, and other sectors to expand operations. In addition, all K-12 schools in the County could be eligible for re- opening for in-person education as soon as September 22.
In the red tier:
- Restaurants can reopen for indoor service at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer;
- Places of workshop can reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer;
- Indoor malls and shopping centers can expand operations to 50 percent capacity;
- Retail stores can expand to 50 percent capacity;
- Indoor gyms and fitness centers can reopen at 10 percent maximum capacity;
- Movie theaters can operate indoors at 25 percent capacity;
- Personal care services can reopen indoors with modifications.
Orange County can remain in the red tier if the two key COVID-19 metrics (case rates and the percentage of positive tests) continue to meet the conditions for that tier. If the metrics improve, the County would move into the orange (“moderate” risk) tier. Counties must stay in each tier for a minimum of three weeks and meet the criteria for the next tier for a minimum of two weeks.
Visit www.COVID19.ca.gov for more information on the color- coded tier system, the current status of counties, and the businesses that are permitted to open or expand with each tier.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of September 10, the number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 1,088 and the total cases in Orange County was 50,471. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of September 10 was 44674. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.
COVID-19 News and Resources
The State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy is the new system for gradually re-opening California’s businesses.
Counties will move through each of four, color-coded tiers based on two key metrics: case rates and the percentage of positive tests. Moving from tier to tier will require a 21-day wait time and counties will be required to meet the metrics for the next tier for two weeks in a row.
The State’s “COVID-19 Employer Playbook” includes guidance for workplace safety, best practices for an outbreak, testing information for employees, and more. The document, available at https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/employer-playbook-for-safe-reopening–en.pdf, provides useful information for business and industry to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and prepare for cases among employees.
The County of Orange continues to add new COVID-19 data and information to its website at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. The County of Orange Healthcare Agency’s COVID-19 Hotline can be reached at (714) 834-2000, or by email at, [email protected].
County staff monitors the hotline and email box and answers questions about industry reopening and activity resumption, current guidance and more.
The County also maintains a growing list of FDA-approved testing sites for County residents who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. If you are showing symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider for testing information first. If you do not have a healthcare provider, visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening for testing information. The SOS Health Center in Newport Beach is an approved community testing site. Call (949) 270-2100 for an appointment.
Please visit www.newportbeachca.gov/covid19 for the latest City news and useful web resources, including information about the federal, state, and county resources available to help small businesses and workers that have been financially impacted.
Balboa Village Parking Management Overlay Local Coastal Program Amendment
On September 9, 2020, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved the City’s application to amend the Local Coastal Program (LCP) to create the Balboa Village Parking Management Overlay District.
The Overlay creates the framework for a village-wide parking management strategy where parking on every parcel will not be necessary for most commercial uses. Many existing businesses may be able to expand or change use and not have to provide off-street parking. New commercial uses including restaurants may also be eligible to locate in the district more readily.
Existing public and private parking spaces will be preserved, and shared use of off-street parking will be allowed subject to City permits.
The Overlay was one revitalization strategy envisioned in the Balboa Village Master Plan adopted by the City back in September of 2012. After the Master Plan, the City amended the Zoning Code to create the Overlay and then embarked on including it in the LCP.
The next step is to return to the City Council with an ordinance consistent with the Coastal Commission’s approval. Once adopted by the City and then certified by the Coastal Commission as being legally adequate, the LCP amendment process will be concluded.
Once that step is complete, the City will file a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) application with the Coastal Commission. The CDP will include all the various programmatic details that will include employee parking permits, shared parking, pay stations, wayfinding signs, bike racks, features to support alternative transportation such as the trolley or busses, future electric vehicle charging stations, and the new more flexible parking requirements.
For additional information, please contact the Community Development Department at [email protected].
Planning Commission to Discuss Role in Circulation Element Update
The City is currently processing an update to its General Plan. Initially it was to be a comprehensive update with the entire General Plan being evaluated and updated as necessary. However, due to an October 2021 deadline for adoption of the Housing Element for the next eight-year planning cycle (2021-2029), the effort shifted focus to the Housing, Land Use, and Circulation Elements.
In order to provide a public forum for this effort, the City Council created a 10-member Housing Element Update Advisory Committee (HEUAC). Given the centralized focus of the HEUAC on the Housing Element and the fast approaching deadline, the City intends to use the Planning Commission as the deliberative body to guide the Circulation Element update. When placed on an agenda, the meetings will serve as one of several ways the public can participate in the discussion of community transportation and circulation issues.
On Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, the Planning Commission will learn more and discuss its role in the process. The discussion will likely include a high-level overview of the Circulation Element’s purpose and its basic makeup, as well as what minimum changes need to be made for compliance with State law.
Another main discussion topic will be the outreach program, which is intended to overlap and harmonize with the outreach program identified for the Housing Element component. The community is invited and encouraged to participate along the way.
Once posted, the agenda for the Planning Commission meeting will be made available here. For more information on the overall update process and current status, please visit www.newporttogether.com.
County Board to Review, Approve General Aviation Facility Leases on Sept. 15
At its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15, the Orange County Board of Supervisors is expected to advance the John Wayne Airport General Aviation Improvement Program (GAIP) a step further when the Board considers the negotiated leases with the selected fixed base operators.
Fixed base operators (FBOs) are the private companies that will build out and operate the airport’s new general aviation facilities. The staff report and the negotiated leases are available through the County website.
If you’ve been tracking this project, you may recall that Newport Beach has been fighting to stave off anything in the GAIP that might lead to increases in general aviation jet traffic in and out of JWA. We’ve had several successes.
To date, the City’s and community’s efforts have led to the elimination of the once proposed, additional full-service FBO that would serve the private jet community as well as land use and lease restrictions that preserve the majority of the space available for the smaller and quieter general aviation aircraft.
And, we were pleased to see that the County heard our request to prohibit commercial airlines from operating out of FBO facilities and included a lease term to that effect. These measures will result in the long-term preservation of small general aviation at JWA and protections for our community.
Several of our requested provisions, however, have not been included in the leases. We continue to ask the County to include:
- Language that eliminates the ability of any lessee to construct and operate a General Aviation Facility (GAF).
- A term that restricts the operational hours of the FBOs to match the hours of the commercial curfew at John Wayne Airport.
- The requirement that any future modifications to the terms pertaining to commercial use of an FBO, prohibiting a GAF, preserving the majority of the space for small general aviation, and restricting the FBOs’ operating hours go before the Board of Supervisors for review and approval, after reasonable public notice.
For a history of the City’s work on the GAIP, please visit www.newportbeachca.gov/gaip.
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. Recently, people in Newport Beach experiencing homelessness have been placed in motels through Project Roomkey, a state initiative to provide shelter during COVID-19. Newport Beach staff and City Net staff are collaborating with the Illumination Foundation, a local non-profit agency working with the state to facilitate Project Roomkey.
- Throughout the month of August, 26 military veterans and their families were housed through the County’s Coordinated Entry System. The Coordinated Entry System manages a roster of eligible veterans and works with service providers, such as City Net, to match veterans with housing opportunities.
- Staff helped place a mother battling cancer and her teenage son into a motel after they fled a domestic violence situation and were living in a car. The family reached out to OASIS staff members, who connected them to City Net for help. City Net staff is assisting them with finding permanent housing and obtaining domestic violence counseling services.
- One woman experiencing a mental health crisis was sheltered in a motel room to aid with her recovery through a collaboration between the City’s Homeless Coordinator and City Net staff. The Homeless Liaison Officer and City Net staff worked with the County’s Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT). PERT staff are mental health clinicians who ride along with assigned law enforcement officers to address mental health related calls in the assigned city. PERT conducts risk assessments, initiates involuntary hospitalizations when necessary, and provides resources and education. The program also provides outreach and follow-up services. PERT may be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round, in multiple languages, at (866) 830-6011.
- Four 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. Case managers will follow up with the clients to provide housing assessments and prepare documentation for housing.
- Two people met with City Net’s Housing Navigators to locate appropriate housing within their budgets. Housing Navigators help homeless individuals develop a housing plan, address barriers identified during the plan, acquire documentation, and complete forms required for housing. The Navigators also assist with inspections, utilities, transportation and related moving tasks.
- City Net staff continues to provide support and case management to several elderly people sheltering in motels while they await placement into permanent, supportive housing.
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.
To enroll in Project Roomkey, call (714) 834-3000.
Newport Beach Playground Refurbishment Program
The FY 2019-2020 Playground Refurbishment Program is currently underway with three playgrounds receiving improvements to include Newport Shores Park, Mariners Park and Bob Henry Park. Each were identified as requiring maintenance due to the age of the play equipment and the rubber surfacing. Work is being done in order to maintain desired safety levels and ADA compliance.
Newport Shores Park and Mariners Park playgrounds will be receiving new playground equipment components, while still making use of the original play structure. Bob Henry Park playground will receive completely new play equipment including a shade structure and new rubber surfacing. The sand at all three parks will be cleaned and refreshed. Project completion is scheduled for the end of September.