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Newport Beach

Volume 5, Issue 56  |  July 14, 2020


City Manager’s Updates

From the desk of Grace Leung

Grace Leung

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung

To Our Community: 

We anticipate that Newport Beach restaurants may soon be able to open for dine-in service, with modifications. (Last) week Governor Newsom announced more relaxed variance criteria for counties that are able to meet certain health benchmarks. The new criteria will enable cities to reopen businesses more quickly. 

The County of Orange submitted plans late Thursday demonstrating that the County has met the revised criteria. (The Governor’s office approved Orange County’s variance on Saturday.) 

On May 26, or sooner, the City Council will consider an emergency ordinance authorizing our Community Development department to grant emergency temporary use permits to local businesses that will allow the use of private property, parking lots, sidewalks and public property for expanded operations.

If the emergency ordinance is approved by the City Council, restaurant owners and managers will be able to submit applications and site plans for these temporary permits for review. It is our intention to review and approve these permits quickly for restaurants that meet the State public health requirements.

More information will be available soon on the City’s website at www.newportbeachca.gov/backtobusiness.

This week we took the first steps in a cautious, phased approach to reopening parks, recreational facilities and City Hall. Strict social distancing practices are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All members of the public visiting City Hall are required to wear a face covering, and the number of people entering the building is being limited and managed by City staff.

On May 18, the Permit Center opened to walk-in customers. On May 26, the Building and Safety Counter will reopen. And, on June 1, all City Hall services will be open to the public. 

City libraries, the OASIS Senior Center and community centers will remain closed until further notice. 

Meanwhile, City beaches remain open for “active recreational use.” This includes swimming, surfing, walking and running. Fishing off the jetties is allowed. You can find more information on permitted uses on the City website. 

Public restrooms are open, and the Peninsula Boardwalk and Balboa Pier are open as part of the “active recreational use” of the beaches. We have slowly been reopening parking lots to ease the parking pressure on neighborhoods. (By Memorial Day we had plans to reopen all beach-area parking lots.)

The City’s public safety officers will strive to educate the public on “active recreation” use and we are hopeful that citations will be unnecessary. 

COVID-19 News and Resources 

Please visit www.newportbeachca.gov/covid19 for the latest City news and useful web resources, including information about the federal, state and county resources available to help small businesses and workers that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis. We also have a page of free resources available through the Newport Beach Public Library and local organizations like SCORE, including online learning and business databases. Visit the Orange County Health Care Agency’s COVID-19 webpage for countywide information, including the number of local cases. You can also follow the City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and look for alerts from our City staff on Nextdoor

COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach 

The County of Orange posts reported COVID-19 cases by city at www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus. (The number as of May 24, 2020 is 139 cases in Newport Beach out of 5,469 cases total in Orange County.)

Fortunately, Newport Beach cases have flattened, with only slight day-to-day increases, over the past week. 

OC COVID-19 Screening and Testing Network 

The Orange County Heath Care Agency maintains a growing list of FDA-approved testing sites for County residents who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. If you are showing symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider for testing information first. If you do not have a healthcare provider, visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening for testing information. The SOS Health Center in Newport Beach is an approved community testing site. Call 949.270.2100 for an appointment.

Newport Beach works in partnership with the County of Orange and its testing, tracking and contact tracing program. This coordinated, centralized approach under County oversight is an effective way to monitor and control the spread of the coronavirus in our communities. 

Governor’s Executive Order Extends Appeal Periods on Coastal Development Permits 

In response to the COVID-19 virus, on April 16, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-52-20 extending a number of deadlines and timeframes, including tolling certain deadlines in the Coastal Act by 60 days. This impacts the effective date of City-issued Coastal Development Permits (CDPs) for development projects located in the Coastal Zone and subject to appeal by the California Coastal Commission (CCC). Typically, once a CDP is approved by the City and becomes effective, City staff mails a Notice of Final Action to the CCC beginning a 10-day appeal period. During this period, an appeal of the project can be filed with the CCC. However, as a result of the Executive Order, the appeal period of any CDP that began from April 2 to April 15 is interrupted and the clock resumes on June 15. For example, for an appeal period that began on April 15, one working day elapsed, and the rest of the period (nine working days) continues starting on June 15. For periods that began on April 16 or later, the final day to file an appeal will now be June 29, 10 working days after the end of the tolled period. For periods beginning on June 16, there will be no tolling, and the usual 10 working day period will resume. 

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. Recently, people in Newport Beach experiencing homelessness have been placed in motels through Project Roomkey, a state initiative to provide shelter during COVID-19. 

Success Stories: 

–Completed Vulnerability Index Intake Assessments with two people who stay near the Newport Pier. City Net utilizes the Vulnerability Index Intake Assessment 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. Case managers will follow up with the clients to provide housing assessments. 

–Enrolled four people experiencing homelessness near the Newport Pier into Project Roomkey. City Net case managers collaborated with staff from Illumination Foundation, the lead agency for the County to access the program. Illumination Foundation, founded in 2008, provides targeted services for the most vulnerable homeless clients. 

–The Homeless Liaison Officer and the Homeless Coordinator collaborated with Illumination Foundation to place two people experiencing homelessness at the Newport Transportation Center into Project Roomkey. The people were placed in a Huntington Beach motel. 

–Navigated the housing process for a veteran client who was previously staying near the Newport Transportation Center. He moved into the new apartment with assistance from his case managers. The case managers assisted with furniture as well. 

–Provided hygiene kits, food packs, clothes and supportive services for clients. 

–Newport Beach’s Rapid Response Team (comprised of staff from several City departments such as the Fire Department, OASIS Senior Center, the Police Department, and Public Works) conducted outreach with the City’s Homeless Liaison Officer. The team engages with homeless individuals in the field to help connect them to resources. During outreach, the OASIS Senior Center staff reviewed Medicare benefits with two seniors and connected them to a benefits administrator.

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. To enroll in Project Roomkey, call 714.834.3000. 

Homeless Liaison Officer Cynthia Carter 

The Police Department would like to introduce our new Homeless Liaison Officer, Cynthia Carter. Officer Carter grew up in Corona, California before receiving her BA in Criminal Justice and Political Science from West Texas A&M University. She began her law enforcement career in 2012 at the Santa Barbara Police Department. In 2015, she joined the Newport Beach Police Department as a Lateral Police Officer. 

Officer Carter brings years of experience working with members of the homeless community in both of her beach city agencies. She has a passion for helping people and using her role to have a positive impact on her community and country. Officer Carter’s goal as the HLO is to provide the community with support regarding quality-of-life issues while balancing the needs of our homeless/vulnerable population. 

Library eBranch 

NBPL now offers Udemy. Library patrons can choose from over 100,000 online video courses with new additions published every month. The top-rated courses offer upskilling in the areas of business, tech, and personal development across 75+ different categories. Eighty-five percent of the collection has been updated in the last two years, ensuring learners are developing skills in the most relevant areas. Users can select the instructor and content that best addresses their skills need and learning preferences and filter search results on course features, level, duration, topic, and ratings. Access Udemy through the Library’s eBranch: www.newportbeachlibrary.org/ebranch.

NBPL’s Virtual programming seems to be popular! 

As of Wednesday, May 20: 

Video Memoir Writing Workshop (funded by generous donations from the Friends of the Library.) 

Part 1 posted on 5/12 has 441 views 

Part 2 posted on 5/18 has 160 views 

Let’s Talk Books 

Combined total of 452 views (8 staff videos) 

Crafts Videos 

Combined total of 201 views (4 project videos) 

Check out NBPL’s virtual programming at www.newportbeachlibrary.org/ebranch/
virtualprogramming

Insider’s Guide for the Newport Beach City Council Joint Meeting with the Finance Committee and the City Council Regular Meeting and Closed Session on May 26, 2020 

During these unprecedented times, public participation is critical for good governance and accountability. To that end, the City has implemented an Information Technology solution to ensure your voice is heard. Using a program called Zoom, the City will livestream the meeting through its website (www.newportbeachca.gov/nbtvlive) and will broadcast the meeting on its cable television channel NBTV (Spectrum Channel 3 and Cox Channel 852). The Mayor and City Council members will be seen on screen as they participate in the meeting from their homes or other secure locations. In addition to providing written comments prior to the meeting, members of the public can call in to provide their comments for agenda items in real time. The telephone numbers are listed after agenda item titles on the Council agenda and will appear on viewers’ screens at the appropriate times. Consistent with in-person Council meetings, callers will have three minutes to provide comments on an agenda item. 

Our next City Council meeting is (today) Tuesday, May 26, 2020. The entire agenda, and all reports, can be viewed here. There is a Joint Special meeting of the City Council and the Finance Committee at 4 p.m. with the following items of note: 

–This year is an unprecedented year for the City’s finances. The City has already seen significant drops in some major revenue sources due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Staff has prepared the budget with a number of reductions to and deferral of capital projects and operating expenditures. The City Council will discuss the proposed budget with the Finance Committee prior to budget adoption by the City Council on June 9, 2020. 

The Regular Meeting begins at 5 p.m. with the following items of note: 

–We are recommending an award of a contract to improve water quality in the bay. The storm drain located just off Old Newport Boulevard has long been an area of concern and is the last location to improve water going into the bay. The City has also received a grant in the amount of just over $500,000 to make this much needed improvement. 

–Public Works will award a contract for Cameo Highlands Street Reconstruction. This project will upgrade and repair these 1960s streets. 

–The City Council will consider an Emergency Ordinance to Fast Track Back to Business by allowing temporary use permits for businesses to use public spaces and parking lots to provide adequate social distancing. If approved, the ordinance would go into effect immediately. 

Due to the Governor’s order to stay at home, and to practice social distancing, there will be no members of the public in the City Council Chambers. If you wish to comment, you may do so telephonically and the City strongly encourages you to send your comments via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday, May 25, at 5 p.m.

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