Newport Beach City Manager Week in Review for Dec. 4

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City Manager Grace Leung

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

On Thursday, Gov. Newsom announced a stay-at-home order that is tied to regional intensive care unit (ICU) capacities. The order places Orange County in a larger Southern California region that is experiencing increases in hospitalizations and ICU admittance.

The order is not yet in effect for Southern California. The state predicts that the restrictions will go into effect in “early December” as Southern California hospitals reach 15 percent ICU capacity or below. The order takes effect on December 5 and once the capacity number is reached, the restrictions go into effect in 24 hours and remain in effect for at least 3 weeks.

The restrictions will include:

  • No gatherings with those outside your household
  • No nonessential travel
  • Closure of restaurants for indoor or outdoor dining – only takeout will be allowed
  • Closure of bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries
  • Closure of nail, hair salons, barbers, other personal care services
  • Closure of indoor and outdoor playgrounds
  • Closure of indoor recreation facilities
  • Closure of museums, zoos, aquariums
  • Closure of family entertainment centers
  • Closure of cardrooms

The following industries can stay open with 100% masking and physical distancing:

  • Non-urgent healthcare, including dentists and optometry
  • Schools already open
  • Childcare
  • Stores and shopping centers at 20 percent capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking
  • Hotels for essential travel and lodging only
  • Outdoor services only at houses of worship
  • Critical infrastructure and services (water, power, government)
  • Parks, trails, beaches, other outdoor recreation

The health of our community is our top priority. We ask everyone to stay vigilant, continue to wear face coverings and wash hands frequently, and limit contact with those outside your household during these next critical few weeks.

COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach

As of December 3, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 1,522 and the total cases in Orange County was 81,653. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of November 19 was 61,068. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.

City and Civic Partners Launch “S.H.I.P. Shape” Shop Local Safely Campaign

This week a coalition of civic, hospitality, business and merchant organizations in Newport Beach launched the Safe Health Initiative Pledge (S.H.I.P Shape), a commitment by local businesses to continue safe practices through the winter season.

The pledge aims to instill customer confidence while encouraging the community to shop and dine local throughout the holidays and beyond. The pledge outlines five guidelines for businesses to follow. Each business that takes the pledge will receive a free toolkit with digital, printable and window displays to indicate their commitment to safety.

Shopping local is critical this season for the survival of many of our Newport Beach small businesses.

For more information please visit: If you are a local business owner, please consider taking the pledge and joining the campaign.

Upcoming Changes to Residential Design Standards

On November 24, 2020, the City Council introduced Ordinance No. 2020-28 amending development standards applicable to one and two-unit residential developments. If adopted at the December 8, 2020 City Council meeting, the revisions would then go into effect on January 7, 2021. The revisions would reduce bulk and mass associated with future residential development by clarifying the definition of gross floor area, regulating covered third floor decks, and expanding the application of third floor and open volume standards to all single-unit and two-unit residential developments.

The City understands that projects currently under review and projects already designed and planned to be submitted for review in the near term could be impacted by the revisions. Therefore, the ordinance exempts the following types of projects from the amended regulations:

  • Discretionary Applications: An application for a coastal development permit, variance, modification permit, or site development permit for a residential project deemed complete prior to January 7, 2021.
  • Plan Checks: An application for any building permit or zoning clearance for a residential project submitted prior to February 1, 2021.
  • Previously Approved Projects: An application for a building permit or zoning clearance for a residential project that has been granted a coastal development permit, variance, modification permit, or site development permit for a residential project that has not expired.

Detailed project information is available at:

Homelessness Update

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.

Success Stories:

  • The Homeless Liaison Officer helped a man experiencing homelessness reunite with his family in Philadelphia. The man is a mentally ill veteran who stopped taking his medication a few weeks ago. He spontaneously bought a one-way plane ticket to California and has been homeless in Newport Beach for two weeks. The Homeless Liaison Officer contacted the man’s brother in Philadelphia to make travel arrangements. His brother was worried about him and had been trying to get him home. The Homeless Liaison Officer transported the man to John Wayne Airport, assisted him with TSA, and escorted him to the gate. The man’s family gratefully reported that the man arrived home safely.
  • A man who experienced homelessness near Newport Boulevard for a year after losing his restaurant job to COVID-19 moved home to New York. Police officers and the Homeless Coordinator contacted the man in August to place him into City Net’s services. The man called the officers this week to state that he saved enough money to return home. The thanked the officers for motivating him to improve his living conditions.
  • A woman who spends her days in Corona del Mar was enrolled into City Net services. City Net staff completed the Vulnerability Index Intake Assessment. The assessment is 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 assisted a person in the Balboa Pier area to access the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) service. The EBT system is used in California for the delivery, redemption, and reconciliation of issued public assistance benefits, such as CalFresh, CalWORKs, and other food and cash aid benefits. Established in 2004, EBT provides up to $125 a person a month to purchase food.
  • City Net completed three 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.

Treasury Report

The October 2020 Treasury Report is available on the City’s website at:

As of October, the City’s portfolio totaled just over $275 million. Approximately $61 million of the portfolio was invested in very liquid investments available for day-to-day operations and major construction expenditures.

The short-term portfolio ($210 million) had a weighted average effective maturity of 1.79 years. The trailing twelve months’ total return was 3.40 percent. Our benchmark for the same period, the ICE BofA 1-3 Year Treasury index, returned 3.19 percent. The income return on the portfolio, a better measure of income earned from the portfolio, was 2.16 percent.

Lower Newport Bay Confined Aquatic Disposal Construction Project

On December 4, 2020, a Notice of Availability was filed with the state to notify the public that the City has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed dredging project, and to solicit comments on the environmental issues and alternatives addressed in the DEIR.

The project includes managing unsuitable dredged material by constructing a confined aquatic disposal facility in the central portion of the Lower Harbor between Bay Island, Lido Isle and Harbor Island where this material can be contained.

The DEIR and technical appendices are available for public review beginning December 4, 2020 and ending on January 20, 2021. The DEIR is available on the City’s website at, the Newport Beach Public Libraries and the Public Works Department counter at the Civic Center.

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