The Week in Review

A weekly newsletter from City Manager Grace L. Leung

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Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung

Community Members:

After many years of drought, our second year of healthy rainfall is a welcomed relief.

Orange County has recorded more than 15 inches of rainfall this season (since July 1, the beginning of the water year), compared to an average of about 13 inches.

The Orange County Water District reports that it successfully captured 25,500 acre-feet of water as of mid-February, equivalent to 8.3 billion gallons, which is enough water for 204,000 people for a year. This remarkable feat is accomplished through a network of percolation basins, pumps, inflatable dams and management of assets such as the Prado Dam.

Orange County’s groundwater system is a vital resource for Newport Beach and surrounding cities. The amount of water Newport Beach draws from the groundwater basin is increasing to 85% (the rest is imported from the Colorado River). As of January, Orange County’s groundwater basin is at 90% capacity, an increase of 22.7% from this time last year.

Even with an abundance of rainfall, Newport Beach remains committed to promoting water conservation as an ongoing practice. We encourage residents to continue mindful water habits during wet weather, such as turning off automatic sprinklers before and after rain. Residents can also invest in water barrels – with rebates from ocwatersmart.com – to capture and store rainwater for later use.

Through conservation, strategic water management and infrastructure investments, our region can become more resilient and help reduce the negative impacts of future dry spells.

City Manager, Grace K. Leung

New Data Dashboard Tracks Harbor Service Calls

The city’s Harbor Department launched an interactive digital map that tracks calls for service by location and type. The data is available to the public at this link.

Clicking the blue dots on the map reveals details on the calls for service. The map can also be filtered for specific types of service calls by selecting one or more of the categories.

Beginning in January, Harbor Department staff began capturing the latitude and longitude associated with received and initiated calls for service. The locations are mapped by a Geographic Information System (GIS). The initial data from January shows that service calls were concentrated heavily around Marina Park, public docks and pump-out stations at 15th, 19th, Fernando and Washington streets.

The Harbor Department will use this new tool to help refine patrol assignments and areas of focus for the benefit of the harbor community.

Other Newport Beach interactive GIS maps are available here.

Housing Element Draft EIR Available for Public Review

A draft report analyzing potential environmental impacts from the city’s General Plan Housing Element is available for public review and comment.

The draft environmental impact report (EIR) is required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The EIR analyzes potential environmental impacts that may result from implementation of the adopted 6th Cycle Housing Element (2021-2029) in areas such as air quality, aesthetics, public services and transportation.

The report is available digitally at this link, and hard copy versions are available at City Hall (Bay B, 1st Floor) and in all city library branches.

The city’s Housing Element update is an ongoing effort that began in 2019. Learn more about the Housing Element implementation here and view a City Council Study Session presentation from February here.

The draft EIR is available for public review and comment through March 28. Planning Commission and City Council public hearings on the EIR will be this spring.

For questions or to submit comments, contact Principal Planner Ben Zdeba at 949.644.3253 or bzdeba@newportbeachca.gov.

Balboa Island Bridge Closures Finish Early

The Balboa Island bridge nightly closures have finished ahead of schedule, thanks to faster-than-anticipated construction activity.

The bridge was expected to be closed on weekday nights through February 29. However, the construction activity finished late (last) week.

The closures were related to utility undergrounding work being performed on the Island (Underground Utilities Assessment District No. 124 Phase 0).

Crews dug trenches and installed conduits across Marine Avenue and up to the bridge from the North Bayfront alley.

Vote Today! Online Poll for Next Civic Center Sculptures Now Open

The City of Newport Beach Arts Commission invites residents to vote on the final selection of sculptures for Phase IX of the rotating exhibition in Civic Center Park.

A public poll facilitated by Arts Orange County will be available online through Monday, March 11. The top 10 selected sculptures, along with three to five alternates, will be recommended to the Newport Beach City Council for installation. Selected sculptures will be featured for two years.

The online poll can be accessed at www.sparkoc.com/nb_sculpture_poll/.

For more information, call 949.717.3802, or email arts@newportbeachca.gov.

Register Now for the April 19 Youth Track Meet

Registration is now open for the 2024 Youth Track Meet of Champions on Friday, April 19 at Newport Harbor High School, 600 Irvine Ave.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make memories with friends and a chance to compete for gold. Early bird registration ends on March 8.

For more information and to register, click here.

Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update

The Be Well Mobile Crisis Response team operates in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and works closely with the city’s police and fire departments.

(Last) week, the Be Well team:

–Transported three people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.

–Transported a person to a substance use facility for treatment.

–Transported a person to a mental health facility for treatment.

–Transported a person to a homeless services provider.

TO REACH BE WELL: The mobile crisis team is dispatched through the Newport Beach Police Department. To request service, dial 911 or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 949.644.3717.

Homelessness Update

(Last) week, the city’s homeless outreach and response teams:

–Enrolled two people into services.

–Completed an application and referral to a family shelter.

–Completed a referral to the Yale Navigation Center.

–Continued to shelter people. Twenty-five people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.

Click here to view the latest homeless dashboard, which includes key monthly and yearly data on the city’s homeless response.

Click here for information on the city’s Good Giving program.

On the Agenda: February 27 City Council Meeting

The next City Council meeting is tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 27). Items of interest are highlighted below. The entire agenda and reports can be viewed here.

A study session will begin at 4 p.m.:

–At the request of Mayor Will O’Neill, the City Council will review the city’s membership in the League of California Cities association and discuss concerns and benefits.

The regular meeting will begin at 5 p.m. Agenda items include:

–Establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on Lower Castaways Park and appointing Mayor Pro Tem Joe Stapleton, Councilmember Robyn Grant and Councilmember Noah Blom to serve on the committee. The committee would work with staff and make recommendations to the City Council regarding expanded use or potential redevelopment of the park.

–Distribution of cultural arts grants for Fiscal Year 2023-24. Every year, the city distributes funds for specific cultural or artistic programs as approved by the City Council. The City Arts Commission reviews all requests and makes recommendations for funding to the council. The commission is recommending a total of $25,000 in funding for six organizations.

–Fiscal Year 2023-24 second quarter financial report. The Finance Department prepares quarterly financial reports to review the status of revenues and expenditures for the city’s General Fund and to monitor budgetary trends in other city funds.

This Week’s Events

Tuesday, Feb. 27

City Council Meeting

City Council Chambers

100 Civic Center Drive – 4 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 29

Zoning Administrator Meeting

Via Zoom – 10 a.m.

See Full Schedule

Editor’s Note: City Manager’s Updates was received Friday, Feb. 23 and is subject to editing so the information is current.


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