By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
This week, I’d like to recognize and honor Jean Watt, a former City Council member and pillar of our community for many decades, who passed away Sunday at the age of 96.
Jean leaves behind a tremendous legacy that has shaped Newport Beach in many positive ways. Best known as a leader — many have said “matriarch” — of our local environmental community, she was a co-founder of SPON (then an acronym for Stop Polluting our Newport; now Still Protecting our Newport) in 1974. Under her leadership, SPON fought for greater environmental protections for Newport Bay, open space preservation, and many other environmental and quality of life issues in the city.
She brought that same passion and determination to another group she co-founded, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, in the 1990s. That group brought together leaders from environmental organizations throughout Orange County to act as a unified voice in support of parks, water, open space, and environmental education.
Jean was elected to the City Council in 1988 and served as Mayor Pro Tem from 1993 to 1994. In 2013, she was named Newport Beach’s Citizen of the Year, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the community. Jean remained active in the environmental community until very recently.
No services are pending, but a community celebration of life is being planned for this summer.
City Launches New Website to Help Homeowners Build Accessory Dwelling Units
The City has launched a new website, at www.newportbeaca.gov/adu, to assist homeowners in constructing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on their properties. The user-friendly interface is designed to guide homeowners through multiple phases of the ADU process, from getting started through construction to renting out the ADU.
The site is a comprehensive resource that includes planning exercises, testimonials, the benefits of ADU construction, City incentives, financing options, and more. A guidebook that includes most of the content from the website is also available to download and print.
The site can be accessed at http://newportbeachca.gov/adu.
Apply Now! Community, Special Event Grant Applications Due April 25
The application deadline for community program and special event grants is Tuesday, April 25 at 5 p.m. Grants are available in two main categories:
- Support for organizations that provide community programs available to Newport Beach residents
- Qualified event organizers seeking financial support for Newport Beach-based events.
Community Programs Grant: The City will provide a total of $60,000 in grants to qualifying organizations to enhance services or programs offered for Newport Beach residents. Visit https://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/city-manager/community-programs-grants.
Special Events Grant: These grants support two types of events: Community and Charitable Events and Signature Events. Community and Charitable Events must serve or benefit local organizations and causes, and/or provide recreational, cultural, and social benefits to Newport Beach residents. Signature Events are large-scale events based in Newport Beach between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024 that promote the City regionally, attract visitors, and provide measurable economic benefits. Visit https://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/recreation-senior-services/special-event-grants.
Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee a grant award, as this is a competitive process. Applications will be evaluated based on eligibility guidelines, qualifications and requirements as outlined for the various grants.
Sunset Ridge Park Restroom to be Repainted
The Sunset Ridge Park public restroom will be repainted over the next few weeks, beginning April 24.
It is one of eight City facilities that will be repainted this spring. The work at Sunset Ridge Park is expected to be completed by mid-May.
Apply Now! Scholarship Applications Due May 1
The City is accepting scholarship applications from college-bound seniors and transfer students by Monday, May 1, at 5 p.m. to earn up to $700 for educational expenses.
The City of Newport Beach Ackerman Scholarship Program was established to assist qualified students in obtaining a higher education. Funds for the program are provided through an endowment from the Ackerman Trust. Scholarships may be used for tuition, books, laboratory and/or academic fees.
This year there will be seven, $700 scholarships awarded.
You must meet both criteria (A) and (B) to apply:
- Be a child residing in Newport Beach OR be a child of a regular, full-time City of Newport Beach employee.
- Graduate from a high school in 2023 and accepted to attend an accredited two-year community college or four-year college or university OR transferring from a two-year community college to an accredited four-year college or university in Fall 2023; AND have maintained a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or better.
The criteria used for selection includes financial need, scholastic standing, school or community leadership, school and/or extracurricular activities, and career and life plans.
The deadline to submit your application is Monday, May 1, 2023, by 5 p.m. Apply here: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/human-resources/2023-scholarship-program.
Save the Date: May 13 is Public Safety Day
Serve Your Community: Apply Now for Vacant Seats on Boards, Commissions
The City of Newport Beach is currently accepting applications to fill the following unscheduled vacancy and upcoming scheduled vacancies (all terms are for four years, expiring June 30, 2027, except for one unscheduled City Arts Commission seat expiring June 30, 2025):
- Board of Library Trustees (two seats)
- Building and Fire Board of Appeals (one seat)
- City Arts Commission (two seats – one term is for four years, expiring June 30, 2027; and one unscheduled term expiring June 30, 2025)
- Civil Service Board (one seat)
- Harbor Commission (one seat)
- Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission (two seats)
- Planning Commission (two seats)
All scheduled vacancies will become vacant when the existing terms expire on June 30, 2023, or until the seat is filled.
All applicants must be qualified electors of the City, none of whom shall hold any paid office or employment in City government (Section 702 of the City Charter).
The deadline for filing applications is noon on Wednesday, May 10, or until the vacancies are filled. The application and additional information about the Boards and Commissions can be found at http://www.newportbeachca.gov/vacancy or by calling (949) 644-3005.
The application and information about the Boards and Commissions can also be accessed through the City’s website at http://www.newportbeachca.gov/bcc.
Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update
The Be Well mobile crisis response team operates in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and EMTs, and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.
This week the Be Well team:
- Collaborated with the County’s Crisis Assessment Team to help a person with suicidal ideations receive treatment.
- Collaborated with the Newport Beach Fire Department paramedics to treat a person with an injury.
- Transported two people to Share Our Selves for services and food.
- Provided mental health and wellness resources to businesses during community outreach.
- Transported a person to a crisis stabilization unit for treatment.
Filed a report with Adult Protective Services for an older adult to access assisted living.
The mobile crisis team is dispatched through the Newport Beach Police Department. To request service, dial 911 or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (949) 644-3717.
This week the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:
- Transported a client to appointments to obtain a new photo ID, birth certificate, and CalFresh benefit card.
- Completed a housing plan with a new client.
- Collaborated with an assisted living facility treating an older adult client to ensure the client was safe and stable. The client is matched to an Emergency Housing Voucher.
- Continued to shelter people. Twenty people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
Click here to view the latest homeless dashboard, which includes key monthly and yearly data on the City’s homeless response: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/monthly-homeless-count.