Newport Beach City Manager Update: Permit Center Improvements, Gifts for Military Families

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Grace Leung

By Grace Leung., Newport Beach City Manager

This week I would like to congratulate the City’s Community Development Department, which continues to maintain and improve customer service levels at the Permit Center even as demand has substantially increased.

According to November 2023 customer satisfaction surveys, Permit Center staff improved in both quality of service and wait times from the same month in 2022 (95% of respondents rated service “excellent” versus 86% in November 2022, and wait times went from 71% excellent in 2022 to 81% in 2023). The staff maintained its high marks for courtesy (92% excellent in 2023 and 93% in 2022) and completeness (89% for both years).

The high marks were achieved despite a tremendous growth in the volume of business at the Permit Center. The total value of permits jumped 190% from November 2022 to November 2023 ($10.1 million to $29.3 million).

Community Development staff has made customer service improvements a priority this year, introducing several new practices and technologies.

Customers can now monitor the Permit Center queue remotely from their smartphones through a smartphone app available at www.nbca.gov/queue.

Plan checks for new solar panel installations and some residential projects can be submitted electronically through the new City Virtual Connect portal (CiViC) at https://css.newportbeachca.gov/EnerGov_Prod/SelfService#/home.

Residents can monitor building permit activity through the City’s online dashboard portal at https://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/city-manager/information-technology/dashboards.

A step-by-step guide to building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) along with free standard plans for download, is now available online at https://www.newportbeachadu.org/.

Gift Donations for Military Families Now Being Accepted at City Facilities

The City is teaming up with Operation Christmas once again this holiday season to collect gift donations for the families of military service members.

If you would like to donate, please bring unwrapped toys, sporting equipment, gift cards or DVDs to City of Newport Beach facilities during regular business hours through Wednesday, December 20 at 5:30 p.m.

Drop boxes are available at the Civic Center, Police Department, OASIS Senior Center, community centers, fire stations and all library branches.

The City has partnered with Operation Christmas to support the families of local service members since 2005. Last year more than 2,000 gifts were donated by the members of the public at Newport Beach drop boxes. Operation Christmas, organized by Yellow Ribbon America, supports more than 300,000 service members and their families.

New Tide Gates Provide Enhanced Flood Protection

City staff recently installed new valves, also known as tide gates, at several strategic locations to help reduce flooding during high tides. The upgrades were installed at Lido Park Drive and Lafayette Avenue; E Street and Balboa Boulevard; and K Street and Bay Avenue.

During high tides, staff from the City’s Utility Department closes valves on the drainage system to keep bay water from backing up through storm drains and inundating streets and properties.

The new tide gates were successfully tested during the Thanksgiving weekend, when they held back a 6.8-foot-high king tide and kept the area streets dry.

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 works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.

This week, the Be Well team:

  • Transported a person to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
  • Transported a person to the Be Well campus for treatment.
  • Transported a person to social services for assistance.
  • Transported two people to the sobering station at the Be Well campus for treatment.
  • Transported a person to a crisis stabilization unit for treatment.
  • Collaborated with the Newport Beach Fire Department for a hospital transport.
  • Collaborated with the County’s Psychiatric Emergency and Response Team for transport to a psychiatric facility.

To reach Be Well: 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.

Homelessness Update

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

  • Completed a referral to the Yale Navigation Center.
  • Enrolled two new clients into City Net’s social services.
  • Referred a client to a recuperative care facility.
  • Continued to shelter people. Twenty-one people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
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