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Newport Beach

Volume 6, Issue 8  |  January 26, 2021


City Manager’s Updates

From the desk of Grace Leung

Grace Leung

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung

Community members, 

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution is underway. Locally, the effort is being managed by the County of Orange, with guidance from the State. 

The first recipients are healthcare workers and residents of long-term care. This is Phase 1A of the state plan. Orange County has additional details on the types of professions and individuals who are being vaccinated at this link

Fire department employees in Newport Beach and Orange County, as part of the 1A category, began receiving the vaccine on December 26. Only those in Phase 1A are being vaccinated now.

We don’t yet know when vaccines will be available to those outside the 1A group. Newport Beach is awaiting further notification from Orange County on when additional vaccines will be available to move beyond initial distribution. All vaccines are allocated by the county, from the state. 

Newport Beach is prepared to host community vaccination clinics as soon as the county approves us to move forward. The city will align with state and county guidance on vaccinating in accordance with the phased plan. 

The state and county guidance on distribution continues to evolve. Visit www.covid19.ca.gov/vaccines and https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/ for the latest state and county information on the phased approach. 

We encourage everyone in the community to get vaccinated as soon as they are able to do so. 

In the meantime, the increasing number of coronavirus cases continues to challenge the region’s hospitals. Hospitals are facing severe constraints on ICU capacity, and many have begun treating patients in temporary surge facilities and field hospitals. 

In response to the widespread community transmission, we have made the decision to temporarily close city facilities to the public and discontinue our in-person recreation classes for the time being. We will assess the environment at the end of January to determine if we can reopen. All services will continue to be available online, by phone, or through the web at www.newportbeachca.gov

As our partners at Hoag Hospital remind us, please stay vigilant. Continue to wear face coverings and wash hands frequently, and limit contact with those outside your household. 

Also, please continue to shop local to support our small businesses. The current stay-at-home order presents serious hardships for many of our local, small businesses, and your support will be critical to their survival during these next few months. 

COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach 

As of January 7, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 2,502 and the total cases in Orange County was 177,733. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of January 7 was 106,962. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health. 

Project Submittal During Closure 

The Permit Center is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

To help minimize the disruption to the development community, the Permit Center is offering modified services as of Monday, January 11. Expect delays as we ask for your patience and cooperation during these challenging times. 

Building Plan Check Applications 

Obtaining information relating to plan check submittals can be done by phone or email. Call 949.718.1888 or contact directly from this link

Plan check and planning submittals will be via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for small tenant improvements, small projects or revisions ($100,000 in value). 

For new construction or larger projects ($100,001 or greater), you can drop off the plans in a bin located outside the permit center at City Hall (Bay C). Drop off times are Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. All submittal plans shall include all necessary documentations such as plan submittal form, completed permit application, soil reports, structural calculations, energy calculations, water quality reports, etc. 

For plan check fees, contact the Permit Center at 949.718.1888 to obtain information regarding the required fees to be paid. Payments may be made over the phone with a credit card, or with a check.

Standard plans can be found here

Permit Issuance and Revisions 

Permits may be submitted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax 949.644.3250, provided it can be processed for payment authorization and signature by the contractor, or owner. Permits will be issued electronically. For new construction projects, appointments will be established to come to City Hall and pick up the approved set of plans. For minor permits such as reroof, window change out, EV charging stations and water heater replacement, we encourage applicants to utilize the iPERMIT system. 

For permit fees, contact the Permit Center at 949.718.1888 to obtain information regarding the required fees to be paid. Payments may be made over the phone with a credit card, or with a check. 

Planning Services 

Planning and Zoning information will be provided by telephone and email. Call 949.644.3204 or your planner (for a roster, please follow this link). 

If you wish to file a planning application, complete the application and mail it with all supporting design plans, reports, title report, mailing labels for notices and a check for the appropriate fee by mail. Alternatively, you can drop off your application in a bin that will be located outside the permit center at City Hall (Bay C). Drop off times are Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Alternatively, you can upload your materials electronically here.

Inspections 

Building inspections will continue, so continue requesting online inspections here or call for an inspection at 949.644.3255. Inspectors are physically entering commercial buildings and new construction. 

Inspectors are not entering existing residential homes. For existing residential homes, we are utilizing all mobile technology such as FaceTime, Skype and photos to conduct and complete the inspections remotely. 

Code Enforcement 

Code Enforcement will continue to provide inspection services. Contact Code Enforcement at 949.644.3215. 

Treasury Report 

The November 2020 Treasury Report is available on the city’s website at www.newportbeachca.gov/treasury

As of November, the city’s portfolio totaled just over $285 million. Approximately $70 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 1.84 years. The trailing 12 months’ total return was 3.48 percent. Our benchmark for the same period, the ICE BofA 1-3 Year Treasury index, returned 3.27 percent. The income returns on the portfolio, a better measure of income earned from the portfolio, was 2.15 percent. 

Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park - Phase VI 

The January 14, 2021 City Arts Commission meeting will include a curatorial selection panel meeting where the public can express their preferences for the pieces selected for Phase VI of the Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park. The meeting will be conducted on Zoom and the public will be provided with an opportunity to review the submitted works and offer input on the panel’s selections. 

In addition to the City Arts Commissioners, the panel will include guest curators Jennifer Frias, Director/Curator, Begovich Gallery, California State University, Fullerton; and Maria Mingalone, Director of the Oceanside Museum of Art. 

The curatorial panel assessment will include the following: 

All top-scoring artworks in the online public survey will be considered and discussed. Additional images of the highest scoring works will be reviewed. Additional information provided in the application such as a statement of interest and resume may be used to help narrow down submissions. 

Works will be considered in light of the following criteria: 

Artistic Merit: 

1. Artwork is of high quality and demonstrative of originality and artistic excellence. 

2. Artist has strong professional qualifications. 

Durability: 

1. The artwork is made of high-quality materials, which can withstand the natural outdoor elements of coastal Southern California. 

2. Artwork requires minimal to no maintenance. 

Practicality: 

1. Artwork is of appropriate subject matter for audiences of all ages. 

2. Artwork is safe and shall not exhibit unsafe conditions or factors that may bear on public liability. 

Site appropriateness: 

1. Artwork is suitable in scale to be seen in environment. 

2. Artwork is suitable for viewing from all angles. 

3. Ten artworks and three alternates of various sizes, mediums and subject matter will be recommended. 

4. Based on scale and impact of work, the committee will assign artworks to site locations. 

The City Arts Commission will approve the committee recommendations at the January 14, 2021 regular meeting. The City Arts Commission will make a final recommendation to City Council at the February 9 City Council regular meeting. 

A call for entry was opened in September 2020 and was posted to several artist networks and publicized through the Library and Cultural Arts mailing lists and websites, and through press releases to the local media. Fifty-nine sculptures were approved for City Arts Commission consideration and for inclusion in an online survey that invited the public to select individual works for inclusion in Phase V. The survey started on December 10, 2020 and concluded on January 10, 2021. Votes were placed at www.sparkoc.com/nb_sculpture_poll/

The result of the public vote will be taken into consideration by the judging panel, and the vote is advisory in nature and non-binding. 

“Good Giving” Can Help Reduce Homelessness in our Community 

Residents regularly contact the city asking how they can best help individuals experiencing homelessness. We strongly encourage you to consider “Good Giving” by providing financial assistance to the local organizations that provide assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness, in lieu of giving directly to those who are panhandling. 

Further, should you choose to donate directly to the City of Newport Beach, the money will be dedicated toward resources for individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness in our community and to provide immediate and short-term financial assistance to those working hard to maintain their new housing or jobs. We consider it an “emergency fund” to help keep individuals housed and help them maintain access to work or needed services. 

A current example of who these direct donations may benefit: Since November 2020, the city has worked with a community member who lost her Newport Beach housing as the result of a divorce. She then lived in her car, close to her job in Newport Beach. Several months ago, the city and City Net helped the woman find and secure an apartment in a nearby community. She continues to commute to work in Newport Beach. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her work hours have been reduced. She cannot pay her full rent for January and the City is helping her raise the $900 she needs to stay in her home. 

For more on this topic, click here

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 can 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 City’s Homeless Liaison Officer transported a man from the Newport Pier area to a medical detoxification program last week. The man was homeless for seven years in Newport Beach. He now resides in a sober living home in Riverside County and has reconnected with his children and grandchildren. 

–City Net staff coordinated with the County’s Telehealth system to shelter a woman in a motel. Telehealth provides all-hours telephone access to board-certified medical staff. Telehealth may be reached at 855.667.9722. 

–The City’s Homeless Liaison Officer helped a man experiencing homelessness enter a sober living program. The man has been sober for one month and is working on a housing plan with the treatment facility. 

–City Net completed three housing assessments for people enrolled in their services. 

–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. 

Insider’s Guide for the Newport Beach City Council Meeting on January 12, 2021 

Our next City Council meeting is Tuesday, January 12. Items that may be of interest are highlighted below. The entire agenda, and all reports, can be viewed here

There will be a Study Session at 4 p.m.: 

–The Council will review and discuss a traffic calming study for the Mariners and Dover Shores neighborhoods, along with proposed improvements. City staff will provide results of the study, which included traffic speeds, traffic volumes, accident history and cut-through traffic in the neighborhoods. The final report presents a plan for City Council consideration that would include installation of speed cushions and edge-line striping to address traffic concerns. The report can be viewed here

–The Council will receive an update on the Harbor Commission’s review of Harbor Code Title 17, Marine Activities Permit and recommended revisions to the code. Marine Activity Permits are required for businesses that operate some portion of their businesses on the water. 

The Regular Meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. The following are items of note: 

On the Consent Calendar: 

–Council members will consider a 25-year lease extension with the Orange County Water District for the use of a waterline linking Newport Beach to groundwater sources in Fountain Valley. The lease agreement was originally signed in 1991, and Newport Beach began using the connection in 1996, following upgrades. The waterline has become a critical part of the city’s water system, allowing for access to less expensive groundwater sources and reducing dependence on more expensive imported sources. Under the agreement, Newport Beach would pay $1 a year for the waterline rights. 

Public Hearings include: 

–Consideration of several entitlement applications that would allow for the future development of a 13-acre property with up to 312 dwelling units atop an 825-space parking structure as part of the Residences at 4400 Von Karman project. The development applications also include an approximately one-acre public park and a 284-space freestanding parking structure within the Koll Center Newport Professional and Business Office Site B, generally located between Von Karman Avenue and Birch Street in the vicinity of John Wayne Airport. The City Council will consider adoption of the environmental clearance and planning applications for the project, and introduction of two ordinances to amend the Planned Community Development Plan and approval of a Development Agreement. If approved, the item will return to City Council on January 26 for final adoption of the two ordinances.

Current Business includes: 

–A potential revision to the council policy on city trees that would provide more transparency and consistency for the retention, removal, maintenance, reforestation, trimming and planting of approved city-owned trees. The item was reviewed by the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission, which recommended the policy revisions for council adoption.

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