By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
Orange County continues to vaccinate about 3,000 residents a day at the Disneyland “SuperPOD” site, and County officials expect to increase that number with the opening of a second distribution site on Saturday, January 23 at Soka University in Aliso Viejo.
The County’s ability to increase vaccinations depends on both the infrastructure (vaccination sites) and the availability of vaccine doses from the state. County officials are urging patience as they establish more distribution sites and obtain more vaccines from the state.
Here is some key information and resources as of January 22:
- The Othena registration system has been simplified. If you are 65 and older and register with the system, you will get an e- mail inviting you to make an appointment. This means that you no longer have to revisit the Othena site multiple times in hopes of making an appointment. The delay between registering and getting an e-mail will depend on vaccine availability.
- Appointments can only be made through the OTHENA vaccine scheduling website and smartphone application. To make a vaccine appointment, go to www.othena.com or download the app. Anyone 65 and older can make an appointment and receive the vaccine. If you are under 65, please do not make an appointment or download the app.
- The County has added additional staff to assist with a high volume of calls and emails related to the Othena registration service. Othena platform specialists are responding to callers to assist with questions related to the app, and vaccine appointments. This should be used for questions and technical assistance, not scheduling appointments. To reach the helpline, call (714) 834-2000, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email Othena at [email protected]
- You must make an appointment to be vaccinated. Vaccinations will only be administered to those who have an appointment. This means that no walk-ups are being allowed at the vaccine distribution site.
- Anyone who received their first vaccine dose through the Othena system will automatically receive their second dose appointment confirmation through Othena. Everyone who received their first dose through their health system, employer, or other group will receive the second dose from the same source Individuals receiving vaccines will receive a card listing the vaccine type of the first dose received (e.g. Moderna) and the lot number. You will need to bring that vaccine card to the site when receiving the second dose.
- At this time, there are no community vaccine distribution centers in Newport Beach. Newport Beach may receive authorization from the County to host community clinics once the larger, County distribution sites have been established.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of January 21, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 3,092 and the total cases in Orange County was 217,849. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of January 21 was 149,396. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.
City’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) Appeal Denied
On January 19, 2021, the Appeals Board of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) heard the City’s appeal of the Draft Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) Allocation of 4,834 units for Newport Beach. This allocation represents the number of housing units that the City will have to plan for in the upcoming 6th Cycle Housing Element Update (2021-2029 Planning Period).
Although some Appeals Board members shared the City’s frustration with the RHNA process, conceded that the City’s RHNA allocation was unrealistic and that the allocation methodology didn’t adequately take into account the City’s jurisdictional and regulatory constraints, the Appeals Board ultimately voted 5 to 1 to deny the appeal request based on the rationale that the methodology is final and cannot be appealed.
On January 15, 2021, the Appeals Board also heard the appeal of the City of Santa Ana’s RHNA filed by the Cities of Newport Beach, Irvine, Garden Grove, and Yorba Linda. While the appeals differ somewhat, they provide similar evidence and arguments that Santa Ana’s allocation was calculated based on out-of-date information that results in a lower RHNA allocation and does not represent actual approved housing developments in the pipeline that will ultimately count towards their 6th Cycle RHNA. Although this error was recognized, Santa Ana did not voluntarily request a correction to the data that would have increased their RHNA Allocation; therefore, the Appeals Board did not believe they had the authority to correct the data and voted to deny the appeals.
Community Invited to Upcoming Circulation Workshop on January 27
On Wednesday, January 27, at 6 p.m., the City will host a workshop related to the Circulation Element.
Over the past few months, community members have shared individual visions, expressed concerns, identified challenges, and helped the City understand what is important about transporting people and goods in Newport Beach.
At this upcoming workshop, we know we need the community’s help to incorporate this important feedback into an updated General Plan Circulation Element. Please join us, as we work to capture the vision of the community in the current update effort!
Participants can register at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJckfu2tqDguHde7wek4KAEu-Xu3-QDlON1a for the virtual workshop, hosted on Zoom.
The entire community is invited and encouraged to attend. If you are unable to make it, the workshops will be recorded and made available on www.newporttogether.com. Check it out and sign up to stay informed!
Notice of Rescheduled Public Hearing- Short-Term Lodging on Newport Island LCP Amendment
The City Council was originally scheduled to consider an amendment to the Local Coastal Program Implementation Plan related to short-term lodging on Newport Island on the January 26 City Council agenda; however, the item has since been rescheduled to the February 9 City Council agenda.
Specifically, the amendment would update coastal zoning regulations prohibiting the issuance of new short-term lodging permits on any property located on Newport Island. Any existing short-term lodging unit located on Newport Island will be permitted to remain provided it is located on an owner-occupied parcel and managed by the owner of the owner-occupied unit within one-year of the effective date of the ordinance adopting the amendment. Revised public hearing notices announcing the new February 9 meeting date will be mailed out shortly.
City Council Special Meeting Planning Session, Jan. 30
The City Council will hold a planning session in a special meeting on January 30 from 9 a.m. to noon. The Council will hear a budget update from the City Manager and Finance Director discussing the City’s fiscal outlook, including challenges in the current fiscal year and considerations in developing the next fiscal year budget.
Staff will also discuss developments in the Fiscal Year 2021-22 recommended budget and financial impacts related to homeless strategies, refuse/recycling mandates and code enforcement issues.
The City’s Public Works Director will provide an update on capital improvement projects that were deferred due to COVID-19, significant projects scheduled for the coming year, and proposed projects for future Council consideration.
The public is invited to view the meeting live at www.newportbeachca.gov/nbtv or on NBTV cable broadcasts, and comment by phone or email to [email protected]. In addition, the Community Room adjacent to the Council Chambers will be open for public viewing and comments.
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.
- A woman who has been homeless in Newport Beach for more than 10 years has obtained a housing voucher and is close to securing an apartment in Irvine, with assistance from the City Net team and American Family Housing. The women has applied for an apartment and is awaiting the next steps from the Orange County Housing Authority. American Family Housing, founded in Santa Ana in 1985, provides housing assistance and an array of services for those in need.
- Thanks to generous donations from the Newport Beach community, a newly housed woman was able to pay January rent and stay in her home. The woman’s hours were reduced at work due to COVID-19 and she could not pay her full rent. She became homeless and lived in her car for two years after a divorce. She continues to work in Newport Beach and is interviewing for a second job to supplement her income.
- A woman who was living by the Balboa Pier after fleeing domestic violence relocated to the City of Corona. She now lives with friends who are helping her find a new place to live. Newport Beach’s Homeless Liaison Officer and City Net collaborated with the woman to find this housing opportunity.
- City Net enrolled one person into their services. The case managers continue to work with the client to find appropriate housing.
- City Net staff continues to provide food gift cards, support, and case management to several people sheltering in motels while they await placement into permanent, supportive housing.