Guest Column

Jeff Herdman, Newport Beach city councilmember

City Council priorities for 2018/2019 fiscal year

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Councilmember Jeff Herdman

Having just completed the annual City Council Goal Setting Meeting, I thought you might find it interesting to know about two of the areas the Council considers to be priorities for the 2018/19 fiscal year. The two areas of focus are the Harbor, and an update of the General Plan. 

(This year) 2018 has been deemed “The Year of the Harbor” with Mayor (Duffy) Duffield placing the Harbor as his highest priority. The jewel of our City now that our Harbor Operations are separate from Harbor Patrol (Phase 1), Harbor Operations has a larger focus than ever before. A welcoming and friendly approach to customer service, more interaction with all harbor users, and Code enforcement on the water will be included in Phase 2. Code enforcement involves noise violations, nuisance abatement, regular supervision of activities, environmental improvements, trash removal, containment of spills, and checking of vessels.

Management and organization of the Harbor Operations are currently underway. The Harbor Commission is tackling a complete update of Title 17 (Harbor Code). A review of Charter Operations, and the purchase of a work boat will be coming before the Council this year. Possible fee adjustments in relation to short-term guest rentals and inspection fees for some vessels will also be considered.

Phase 3 will involve increased law enforcement presence by the NBPD on the water. Phase 4 is targeted to increase fire suppression ability on the water.

And what about dredging? The City is currently considering a plan to obtain Federal and other dollars to clean out as much materials as possible, including material not suitable for beach disposal. If this is accomplished we will apply for permits to have a regular, routine dredging that costs less than a one time every 10-year program, and that allows us to place dredged sand on beaches. Annual maintenance dredging (slips, beaches, shoals, etc.) is the Council’s immediate and long-term goal. 

And finally, taking a look at a Local Coastal Plan on the water through the Coastal Commission would allow us to have greater control over basic harbor capital efforts, both public and private.

As far as the General Plan Update, clear support from the Council and the community has resulted in the following plan:

Each Council Member will host a series of community input meetings within their district, at varied venues, times and days of the week. We want to provide plenty of opportunity for input on the General Plan from each District. These meetings are expected to take place over a 3- to 6-month period. 

At the conclusion of the information gathering process, the Council will be able to determine whether or not a complete update of the General Plan is necessary, or perhaps just specific sections.

Then the work begins with the appointment of a Steering Committee, a call for applications from community members to be a part of the process, and a consultant hired to guide and advise. 

This process could take multiple years to complete, and so be it for it is critical that the end result be a comprehensive and clear expression of what the citizens of this City want it to look like in the years ahead.

As always, I remain at your service, and welcome your contact at any time via a phone call or email.

Jeff Herdman
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