Council to consider mooring rental rates, overriding airport commission finding, study session on housing element, Greenlight


The Newport Beach City Council will hear a variety of items at their meeting tonight.

At tonight’s meeting (July 9), councilmembers will consider: Recommendations for rental rates for moorings; intent to override the airport commission’s designation of inconsistency for a residential project in the Airport Area and several contracts on the consent calendar. A study session about the implementation of the housing element and charter section 423 (the Greenlight initiative) is also scheduled.

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Photo by Sara Hall

Council will consider recommendations related to rental rates for moorings in Newport Harbor

During current business, councilmembers will hear the Harbor Commission and alternative recommendations for rental rates for moorings.

Council is being asked to either: Adopt a resolution setting fair market value of rent for moorings located on tidelands in Newport Harbor, or adopt a similar resolution while also introducing an ordinance amending city code related to mooring permits and licenses.

According to the staff report, earlier this year, after multiple meetings and extensive public input and discussion, the Harbor Commission recommended that the City Council increase the mooring permit rental rates to current fair market value. Numerous mooring permit holders contacted the city and/or spoke during non-agenda public comment at previous council meetings, alleging conflicts of interest and discrimination in rental rates between different users of the tidelands. Due to the number of concerns regarding the increase in rates, city staff reviewed the recommendations and provided alternative options for council consideration.

At the April 10 meeting, the commission recommended:

–Establish the fair market rental rates for onshore and offshore moorings as equal to 24% of the city adopted Newport Harbor Marina Index.

–After the January 2025 adjustment, all future mooring rental rate adjustments will coincide with annual city slip rate adjustments effective at the start of each new city fiscal year beginning July 1, 2025.

–The total mooring rate adjustments will be phased in, beginning Jan. 1, 2025, through a final adjustment on July 1, 2029, as per the schedule set forth in the presentation material provided during the April 10 meeting.

–The 24% phased-in rate adjustment amounts per linear foot per mooring size, will be adjusted each year based on future annual adjustments per the city-adopted Newport Harbor Marina Index. These subsequent adjustments will be applied to the initial recommended rate adjustment and equally distributed and phased in over the same period of time.

–At the end of the phase-in period (July 1, 2029), the mooring rental rates for onshore and offshore moorings in Newport Harbor will be equal to 24% of the then average slip rates as determined by the city-adopted Newport Harbor Marina Index.

Following the concerns raised from mooring permit holders, staff worked on alternative recommendations and considered: Grandfather existing mooring permittees at current rates, with no changes to rates except for CPI adjustments; phase out all private transfers of moorings, and ensure future moorings are owned, managed and maintained through the city license program, referenced as the short-term mooring license regulations of city code.

With these considerations in mind, staff provided some substitute suggestions:

–Grandfather existing permit rates. Existing mooring permittees will continue to be subject to the mooring rates established in the previously adopted resolution. This allows the current permit holders to continue to pay the same rates, with CPI adjustments or 2% maximum, until the permit is transferred (subject to the transfer conditions suggested) or the permit is relinquished.

–Existing mooring permittees may privately transfer their permit to a new permit holder one time within four years, but no later than Aug. 21, 2028. After that date or after the one-time private transfer (whichever occurs first), no further transfers are allowed.

–If a death of a permittee occurs, the executor or administrator may hold the mooring permit for only one year. During that one-year period, the executor or administrator must secure a city-licensed mooring or find a new location for the vessel.

–Mooring permittees who obtained their permit through a private transfer during the initial four years after adoption of the recommended ordinance will continue to pay the existing rates for four additional years from the date of transfer. After four years, the mooring permits will be converted to a city license and will be subject to the short-term mooring license rates established by resolution. There is no city fee for converting the permit to a license.

–The mooring rates approved under the resolution adjusts annually on July 1 (the table showing the rates starts at $9 per foot for an 18-foot vessel and go up to $22 per foot for a 95-foot vessel).

–Existing mooring permittees or those who acquire permits through a private transfer during the four years after adoption of the resolution, and are subject to the existing mooring rates, are responsible for providing and maintaining the mooring and tackle.

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–The city shall be responsible for the cost of providing and maintaining the mooring equipment and tackle for mooring users under the city’s short-term mooring license program, and those whose permit has converted to a city license.

–New mooring users under the city license are subject to short-term mooring rates established by the resolution. The license for use of the mooring will be governed by the city’s short-term mooring licenses regulations in city code.

–The Balboa Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club and Lido Isle Community Association are subject to the onshore mooring rates established in the previously adopted resolution until Aug. 31, 2032. Thereafter, the mooring permit will convert to a mooring license and is subject to the short-term mooring rates established in the resolution.

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Renderings courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Conceptual plans for a possible future project at 1600 Dove Street, no specific project has been submitted

Earlier in the meeting, during the public hearings portion of the meeting, councilmembers will discuss and vote on a resolution with the intent to override the Orange County Airport Land Use Commission’s designation of inconsistency for the Residences at 1600 Dove Street.

The proposed plans allow future development of 282 for-rent apartment units. According to the staff report, the project would require a future site development review prior to building permit issuance as no specific design is included in the application. Although the applicant did provide conceptual exhibits showing the anticipated design types and possible site plan that may be presented as part of the future project.

According to the Airport Environs Land Use Plan for John Wayne Airport and state code, the city of Newport Beach is required to submit the project to ALUC to determine whether they are consistent with the JWA Airport Environs Land Use Plan. The commission conducted hearings on June 20 and found the project to be inconsistent with AELUP.

In the determination letter sent to the city, ALUC Executive Officer Julie Fitch notes that the commission found the project inconsistent with three sections of the AELUP.

Related to aircraft noise, Fitch notes that “aircraft noise emanating from airports may be incompatible with general welfare of the inhabitants within the vicinity of an airport.”

In the section on safety compatibility zones, Fitch writes that in which “the purpose of these zones is to support the continued use and operation of an airport by establishing compatibility and safety standards to promote air navigational safety and to reduce potential safety hazards for persons living, working, or recreating near JWA.”

They also found inconsistency with a portion of the general policy that stats “within the boundaries of the AELUP, any land use may be found to be inconsistent with the AELUP which: Places people so that they are affected adversely by aircraft noise, or concentrates people in areas susceptible to aircraft accidents.”

After council adopted the 2020-2029 Housing Element last September, the California Department of Housing and Community Development certified the document as substantially compliant with state housing laws on Oct. 5, 2022.

The housing element includes an inventory of potential candidate housing sites by income category to meet the city’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation. As identified in the Housing Element, the Airport Area includes 62 new housing opportunity sites that could accommodate up to 2,577 housing units.

Several of the sites identified in the housing element are proximate to John Wayne Airport. Staff previously argued that the potential sites are necessary so the city to meet the RHNA allocation.

It’s a two-step process to override ALUC’s determination. The first step in the process is to conduct a public hearing to adopt a resolution of intention to override. The resolution to overrule ALUC must be adopted by a two-thirds vote. The second step in the process is that not less than 45 days after notification has been sent to the ALUC and the state, the council may conduct a second public hearing to consider adoption of a resolution to override the ALUC. At this time, the council may also consider the project entitlements and take final action on the application.

As an alternative to overriding the ALUC findings, the council can direct the applicants to redesign the projects in a manner that the ALUC would find consistent with the AELUP. However, in this case, city staff believes “there may not be an alternative given that the ALUC simply has concerns with residential uses within close proximity to John Wayne Airport. Despite the proposed General Plan amendment, the project site is ideal for the development of a residential project as it is identified as a housing opportunity site” and designated by the city’s land use element to allow residential uses like the proposed project.

Council previously voted to override ALUC’s finding of inconsistency for the city’s housing element implementation program amendments, for noise-related amendments to the housing element implementation plan, and for two other residential projects in the Airport Area (the Residences at 1400 Bristol Street and the Residences of 1401 Quail Street).

Earlier in the meeting, during the study session, council will discuss the implementation of the housing element and charter section 423, also known as the Greenlight initiative. Greenlight states that adding 100 units or more in a statistical area requires a vote of the people.

At today’s study session, councilmembers will discuss requirements for a vote of the electorate pursuant to Greenlight, associated with the required adoption of a general plan land use element amendment needed to support the housing production in the focus areas identified in the adopted and certified 6th Cycle Housing Element.

On the consent calendar (items considered routine and usually voted in one motion without discussion unless a councilmember pulls the item), council will consider awarding a $318,370 contract for the Newport Beach Police Department station video surveillance system replacement.

Also on the consent calendar, council will consider two separate items for professional services agreements for with Chambers Group, Inc., for two projects: $345,418 to monitor and maintain the Balboa Peninsula restoration project; and $419,015 to monitor and maintain San Diego Creek Trash Interceptor project landscaping.

The council agenda is available online here. The study session starts at 4 p.m., followed by the closed session, and then the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting can be watched live on the local NBTV channel (Spectrum 3 or Cox 852) or on the city’s website here.

Members of the public may speak in person in council chambers (there is not a remote or online option to participate).

Questions and comments can be submitted in writing for City Council consideration by sending them to the city clerk at To give the council adequate time to review comments, written comments were submitted by 5 p.m. on July 8 (the day before the City Council meeting). Correspondence received by this deadline were uploaded to the agenda packet by July 8 at 5:30 p.m. and can be viewed here.

Material received after the deadline and prior to 2 p.m. today (the day of the meeting) will be provided to the council in hard copy and will be available to the public at the meeting.


Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


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