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Important Upcoming Dates

(see SPON Calendar for additional listings)

June 23 @ 5:00 pm – SPON Board Meeting (Zoom)
Details available on request.

June 24 @ 10:00 am – Zoning Administrator hearing
(Public participation by Zoom only)

July 8 @ 6:30 pm – Planning Commission
Civic Center – Council Chambers (100 Civic Center Drive)

News

SPON News

    • The Annual Meeting was held on Saturday, May 29 at 10:00 a.m. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 concerns it had to be held electronically. Members who attended elected board members and participated in an extended discussion of the City Housing Element Update (see “City News,” below).
    • On May 14, SPON filed an appeal to the Planning Commission of a “Director’s Determination” regarding use of certain hotel properties for new residences. SPON does not yet have a opinion about the value of hotel to residential conversions in general or as part of the solution to the City’s RHNA requirement. SPON does object to the process, which allowed a staff person to effectively amend the City’s General Plan ahead of the larger update to meet RHNA that is in progress, and improperly avoid the Greenlight tracking required by our voter-enacted City Charter. In particular, the increase in General Plan housing capacity declared by the Community Development Department’s Director, if properly enacted by the City Council as a General Plan amendment, is well in excess of the amount that requires voter approval under Charter Section 423 (Greenlight).  The appeal is expected to be heard by the Planning Commission on July 8. Details to follow…

County News

    • A petition was circulated protesting the proposed sale by the County to an adjacent homeowner of 0.32 acres at the northern end of its Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. Enough signatures were collected to cause the Board of Supervisors to abandon a proposed May 11 vote to complete the sale. The SPON Board of Directors wrote in support of the petition and encouraged others to express their concerns as well.  More here.

Airport News

    • See press release:  SPON recently created a formal Aviation Committee, consisting of selected board members and interested parties, to sharpen its longstanding focus  on airport and aviation issues affecting the quality of life in Newport Beach.
    • The City has submitted a letter in response to the FAA solicitation of public comment on a recently-published paper reviewing its studies affecting aircraft noise policy. Look under “Letters” on the City’s JWA Documents and Resources page.

City Government News (General Plan Update)

    • The City has posted an initial draft of an updated General Plan Housing Element showing how 4,845 new dwelling units (and more) can be added to the City by 2029. It was made available for public examination on March 10 with written comments due by April 30. Staff originally planned to submit something based on those comments, and those received from the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee, Planning Commission and Council to the state for their (statutorily required) review  on May 14. However, at its April 27 study session, where a revised draft (<– may have to click twice for this to work; if it doesn’t, it is also available as a standalone PDF here) was presented. The City Council directed staff to delay the submittal by as much as 60 days during which additional revisions would be made. 
    • Staff reported progress at a Council Study Session on June 8 and has scheduled a (virtual) public workshop for 6:00 p.m. on June 21.
    • Once submitted, the state will have 60 days to respond, after which adoption by the Council of the new Housing Element is possible. To avoid penalties, staff had initially said a final version had to be adopted by the City Council by October 15. However, it appears there is no penalty if it is adopted by February 15Prior to adoption by the City Council, an Environmental Impact Report must be prepared and provided for public review. The timetable for that has not been announced.   Official details here (note, however, that this “Newport, Together” webpage does not appear to be current and links to the now-obsolete March 10 Housing Element draft).
    • The City has also posted an initial draft of an updated General Plan Circulation Element, showing a plan to accommodate the traffic from the new dwelling units that could be added by 2029, and more. It was reviewed by the Planning Commission on March 18 and will be the subject of a virtual workshop for the public on April 5. Public comments on it are also due by April 30. Unlike the Housing Element, it does not require state review and there does not seem to be a deadline for adoption, but it appears the plan is to adopt it at the same time as the Housing Element.  Details here.

State News

  • SPON is concerned about a number of bills wending their way through the legislative process in Sacramento that, if approved, would further erode local citizens ability to control land use decisions impacting  their quality of life. Among them:
    • AB 1322: Authorizes city councils to ignore existing voter-approved measures — such as Greenlight — if they make a finding that the measure conflicts with any state law pertaining to housing.
      • Under AB 1322, a city council could effectively and permanently void a voter-enacted measure by holding a single hearing on ten days notice. Citizens disagreeing with the council’s decision must file a court challenge within 30 days, and to succeed in that challenge, they must convince the judge, based solely on the evidence and arguments presented at the council hearing, that the council’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious.”
      • This bill passed in the Assembly on April 29 (Assembly member Petrie-Norris was one of 22 members who voted “no”) and is now being considered by the state Senate.
    • SB 9: This bill would allow, under certain conditions and without any hearings or environmental review, the development of four units on any property zoned for single family residential use by splitting the lot and building a duplex on each half.
      • This bill passed in the Senate on May 26 (State Senator Min voted “yes”) and is now being considered by the Assembly.
  • By contrast, SPON supports the following:
    • ACA 7: This is a measure that would have the legislature place on the 2022 ballot a state constitutional amendment giving local land use regulations precedence over state laws in all instances other than: (1) the Coastal Act, (2) power plant siting, and (3) water and transportation infrastructure projects of statewide concern.
      • Unfortunately, the bill is not moving through the process at the moment and its prospects seem dim.

Annual Meetings

SPON’s 2021 Annual Meeting of the general membership (the 46th) was held on Saturday, May 29 at 10:00 a.m.  Due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions, it was conducted online, via Zoom. Attendees participated in an extended discussion of the City’s Housing Element Update process and options.

SPON’s 2020 Annual Meeting (which would have been its 46th) had long been planned to be held in person at the Environmental Nature Center, as has been our custom for many years, with presentations and brunch. Unfortunately, that had to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

SPON’s 2019 Annual Meeting was a great success with nearly 100 participants joining us for our complimentary brunch and speakers program, which included Randall English (Newport Bay Conservancy), Newport Beach Council member Jeff Herdman and State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (AD 74).

2019 Meeting Photos here for you to enjoy!


Contributions Always Welcome

We have much work to do, and contributions are always most welcome and helpful.

Please consider making your tax-deductible contribution now.

By Credit Card: 
Click on the DONATE button below

By Check:
Print and mail this Remit Form along with your check to SPON


Food for Thought . . .

Watch this space for articles and commentary on topics or issues that we are following.

Former Council Member and SPON Co-Founder Jean Watt asks tough questions about Team Newport’s agenda . . .

and about the appropriateness of the proposed Koll Center Residences project…

Planning Commissioner Erik Weigand takes issue with developer’s “pay to play” statement


 Our Pledge

As environmental and residential quality-of-life advocates, we continuously monitor proposed development projects, and their resulting traffic impact, as they make their way to the Planning Commission, City Council and California Coastal Commission.  We keep you informed of projects that will jeopardize the residential and environmental qualities that we fought so hard to maintain, whether within our own city limits or projects initiated by neighboring cities that will impact Newport Beach.

We stay connected to our inclusive and growing network of supporters, neighbors and friends, using a variety of communication tools to do so.  Attend our member meetings, visit our website and subscribe to our E-Newsletters. Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter.  And visit our YouTube channel to view Planning Commission and other videos.


Get Involved

If you are already a SPON member or supporter, thank you!  If you are not familiar with SPON and its ongoing work spanning more than 40 years, we encourage you to learn more about us.  Take a look at our Achievements, what we are About, and what we Treasure by clicking on the tabs above. And then click on the Support page to find out how you can help us protect and preserve the residential and environmental qualities of Newport Beach.

And don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook, Follow Us on Twitter, and visit our YouTube channel.
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SPON is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public education organization working to protect and preserve the residential and environmental qualities of Newport Beach.

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