Newport Beach City Manager Update: Housing Element Update, Public Works in Summer Mode

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Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

After nearly two years of effort that included numerous community workshops and public input opportunities, the City’s Housing Element update is nearing completion and certification by the state.

The Housing Element update, part of the City’s General Plan, is a critical document to comply with a state mandate compelling Newport Beach to plan for the addition of at least 4,845 housing units over the next decade.

At a study session last week, the City Council heard an update from the City’s Community Development staff on the status of the document and response from the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the agency tasked with certifying compliance among cities.

After the Council adopted the Housing Element update in February, staff submitted the document to HCD for a mandatory 60-day review. The City’s response to HCD comments was discussed at the study session, and the Council provided direction to staff on the inclusion of potential development sites. Our plan is to incorporate Council direction and HCD comments into the latest revision in the next few months.

It is important to note that at this stage of the process, the City is not considering the merits of specific development projects in relation to the Housing Element update. The update identifies potential sites where housing could be developed. There are still multiple steps left in the certification process before any development identified in the Housing Element update could begin.

As is the case for all development projects, any proposed projects would be noticed and subject to public review and approval by the Planning Commission and City Council.

I would like to thank the residents who participated in the development of this document, along with members of the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee (HEUAC), and Planning Commissioners who devoted considerable time and effort to this project so far.

I will keep the community updated on the progress of the Housing Element update and future opportunities for public review and comment.

2022 Tree-mendous Arbor Day Celebration

On April 22, Lincoln Elementary School hosted the City’s Arbor Day Celebration event. Present at the event were Councilmember Joy Brenner, PB&R Commission Chair Diane Daruty, CalFire Representative Abigail Srader, Lincoln Elementary Principal Kristin DeMicco, school staff and 3rd grade students, and Public Works Department staff.

Arbor Day

The City is proud to be recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA for the 32nd consecutive year. In addition, because of our tremendous planting efforts last year, we are proud to have received the Growth Award, which we have been awarded 19 times.

Following the presentations and reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation, attendants took part in planting five trees on school grounds. These trees will provide the 3rd graders the opportunity to watch the trees grow over the years to come.

Public Works Springs Into Summer Beach Mode

Spring Break signaled the busy summer beach season is fast approaching. In preparation for summer crowds, Public Works staff and City contractors are working full speed on necessary and desired maintenance and construction activities in popular park and beach areas. Work is planned and coordinated to be completed before the influx of summer crowds arrive, when more of the construction and maintenance activities are shifted to inland areas of the City.

Several of our facilities are included in this preparation work. For example, the Balboa Pier Restroom building had its rooftop pressure washed clean and the Port Carney restroom facility received minor repairs and a fresh coat of paint.

City equipment maintenance crews are also preparing City fleet and equipment for the summer season ahead. Beach cleaning equipment and beach tractors are scheduled for their routine service, which includes replacement of worn and malfunctioning parts. The elements at the beach cause accelerated deterioration, which requires frequent maintenance. This also includes the City’s three Lifeguard Rescue Boats, which will be removed from the water for dry dock service. This dry dock service will include application of a coat of paint below the water line, rebuilding of the engine and running gear, and new muffler installation.

Public Works Awarded ASCE Outstanding Parks & Recreation Project of the Year

The Public Works Department was recently honored to receive the award for Outstanding Parks and Recreation Project of the year from the Orange County Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The awards ceremony recognized Grant Howald Park for its positive community impact, overcoming construction obstacles,  and environmentally friendly features.

You’re Invited to ‘Touch a Truck’ at May 14 Event

Please join us for a “Touch a Truck” event on Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Balboa Pier parking lot in celebration of National Public Works Week.

It will be a hands-on opportunity to get up close to heavy trucks and equipment — and learn how they are used to keep Newport Beach maintained.

Earth Day Celebration Draws Big Crowds

On Saturday April 23, OC Parks and the Newport Bay Conservancy celebrated Earth Day at the Peter and Mary Muth’s Interpretive Center. The event welcomed 1,000 attendees with 40 exhibitors, including a booth hosted by the Natural Resources division from the Recreation and Senior Services department.

The energy of the event was reflective of the weather: sunny, warm, and buzzing. Exhibitors and partnering agencies were all smiles, greeting each other with hugs after the event has been on hiatus the last two years from the pandemic.

Families participated in a scavenger hunt by collecting information and free giveaways. The Natural Resources booth featured a tidepool model and information about rules to follow when visiting the Marine Protected Areas like Little Corona del Mar, as well as information about Camp Newport this summer.

Children balanced on colorful steppingstones to peer into the model (crafted from a plastic kiddy pool) to excitedly tell Marine Naturalist staff about the animals they have seen on their own explorations in the tidepools.

When asked “what is the one thing you can do to help protect our tidepools” most children quickly responded, “to throw away trash and not litter.”

After 52 years of celebrating Earth Day, the event continues bring the community together to inspire change and make the world a better place locally and globally.

Movie Night at Marina Park: “Luca,” May 13

Bring your family and friends out to Marina Park to enjoy a screening of “Luca” on Friday, May 13. The event will begin at 6:45 p.m. with showtime at 7:45 p.m. Fun activities, free popcorn and food will be available for purchase. Bring a chair and blanket to enjoy the evening at Marina Park.

Reduce Water Use Through These Simple Tips

In response to continued drought conditions, we are continuing to ask residents and businesses to reduce water wherever possible.

Future mandated drought water restrictions are very likely and we are awaiting further information from the State.

In the meantime, the City suggests that you review your outdoor water use for landscaping.

A couple of questions we suggest you ask yourself:

  • Do you see water running down the gutter after your sprinklers go on?
  • Are your sprinklers over-spraying onto your driveway and sidewalk?
  • Do you hear a “squish” sound when you walk on your grass after watering?
  • Have you talked to your gardener about reducing your water use?
  • Did you know if you reduce your outdoor watering time by 1 minute on a 5 minute watering cycle, you’ll use 20 percent less water?

For water saving programs and rebates visit www.ocwatersmart.com.

If you would like a free inspection or review from our Utilities Department staff regarding your water use, please feel free to contact us at (949) 644-3011.

Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update

The Be Well mobile crisis response team is now operating 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:

  • Transported two people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
  • Transported two people to crisis stabilization facilities for care.
  • Reunited an elderly man with his family after addressing a mental health crisis.
  • Provided First Aid to two people experiencing homelessness.
  • Conducted 31 outreach interactions with residents and people experiencing homelessness.

Homelessness Update

The City of Newport Beach provides a comprehensive response to address homelessness through a coordinated effort by City staff, contractors, partner agencies and nonprofit groups.

This week the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:

  • Secured permanent housing for a man who experienced homelessness in Newport Beach for 11 years.
  • Referred two unsheltered people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for temporary housing and services. As of this week, 16 people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the facility.
  • Visited three newly housed clients to provide supportive services.

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

Apply Now for Vacant Seats on Boards, Commissions

The City of Newport Beach is currently accepting applications to fill the following upcoming vacancies (all terms are for four-years, expiring June 30, 2026):

  • Board of Library Trustees (one seat)
  • Building and Fire Board of Appeals (two seats)
  • City Arts Commission (one seat)
  • Civil Service Board (one seat)
  • Harbor Commission (three seats)
  • Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission (two seats)
  • Planning Commission (one seat)

All seats will become vacant when the existing terms expire on June 30, 2022.

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 11, 2022. 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.

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