Newport Beach City Manager Week in Review for July 11, 2021

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City Manager Grace Leung

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

I hope you all had a wonderful July 4th weekend. It was great to see the resumption of our cherished Independence Day events and activities – from the bike parade to the Dunes fireworks – after such a challenging year.

While no holiday weekend will be without incidents, the Newport Beach Police Department, with assistance from outside agencies, did an excellent job of managing crowds and responding quickly to calls for service.

I’d also like to recognize our dedicated Recreation and Senior Services team, who coordinated many of the public events, and our Public Works Department for assisting with traffic management and efficient clean up throughout the weekend.

Harbor Invasive Plant Removal Underway

A coordinated effort to remove and eradicate an invasive algae species from Newport Harbor began on Wednesday, July 7. The invasive algae, scientifically known as Caulerpa Prolifera, was discovered in the China Cove beach area of Newport Harbor in March. Since then, the City has been working with multiple federal, state and local agencies to identify the extent of the algae growth and to develop a removal plan. The removal is expected to conclude on Saturday.

Using a careful and deliberate method, divers have been extracting the invasive plant from the seafloor using vacuum pumps. The material is then pumped onshore into containers where the algae and other solids are separated from the harbor water. The discharged water is handled with great caution to prevent reintroduction of the algae to the bay environment.

Caulerpa Prolifera is not dangerous to humans or wildlife, but is highly invasive and can spread easily, choking out native plants and critical marine habitats. If not eliminated, the algae could spread within Newport Harbor and to critical marine habitats outside the harbor. After the removal effort in Newport Harbor is complete, divers will conduct surveys to help ensure the species is completely eradicated and does not repopulate the area.

COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach

As of July 7, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 3,981 and the total cases in Orange County was 256,775. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of July 7 was 250,203. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.

Updated Draft General Plan Housing Element Now Available

City staff and its consultant team have been working with the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee (HEUAC), Planning Commission, City Council, and the community over the past 18 months to prepare a draft of the updated General Plan Housing Element. As a reminder, this effort is required by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in response to the 6th Cycle Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation of 4,845 new housing units for Newport Beach.

An updated draft of the Housing Element has been made available online.

Please visit https://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/community-development/planning-division/general-plan-codes-and-regulations/general-plan-update/housing-element-screencheck-draft-march-10-2020 to download and view it.

The City Council will be discussing this draft at its July 13, 2021, study session. Afterward, the City intends to transmit a progress draft to HCD for a preliminary 60-day review.

This is an early draft of the document. There will be additional opportunities to help shape it before it is adopted. The entire community is encouraged to participate and review it.

If you have any questions or to submit comments, please reach out to City staff by emailing [email protected]

The City greatly appreciates the community’s continued participation and engagement in this challenging and unprecedented update process.

Homelessness Update

A couple housed in November 2020 with City staff assistance now has full-time employment in Newport Beach. They both receive full employment benefits and consistent hours to maintain their housing.

A person experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach was enrolled into services provided under contract by City Net. He entered the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter after receiving a negative COVID- 19 test result.

City Net transported a couple to Orange County’s vital records department to complete housing voucher paperwork.

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.

For a comprehensive look at the City’s ongoing efforts to address homelessness, please visit our web site at https://www.newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness.

To donate, please visit our Good Giving Program web page at https://newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/how-you-can-help.

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