Airport News: The last of the three General Aviation Improvement Program leases was up for review at the October 20 JWA Airport Commission meeting, with approval by the Board of Supervisors on November 3. On the same schedule, the County approved commercial flight capacity allocations for 2021. With the Settlement Agreement’s Million Annual Passengers limit increasing from 10.8 to 11.8 on January 1 (a roughly 9% increase), JWA staff recommended increasing the number of approved seats by about 30%, apparently expecting the planes next year to be only about two-thirds full. The increase in approved seats/planes, if used, could lead to a large increase in overflights compared to what Newport Beach has experienced in prior “normal” years and a very large increase compared to the lower levels residents have experienced during the COVID-19 slowdown.
City Government News: In other news, at its July 14 meeting (held at the unusual time of 5:00 p.m.), the City Council voted unanimously (and with no discussion) to move the traditional 7:00 p.m. start time to 4:00 p.m. for all future City Council meetings. The meetings, including potentially the business portion, will start at that hour and run until they end, apparently with no scheduled break. In doing this, Newport Beach joins just two other cities out of the 34 in Orange County that conduct municipal business so early in the day. Those are Laguna Woods (Leisure World), whose City Council meets once a month at 2:00 p.m., and Irvine, that also starts at 4:00.
Also worth noting, after a brief re-opening, the the City Hall closed, again, starting on July 13, as the result of a COVID-19 outbreak among City staff. It re-opened to the public on October 5, but mostly closed, again, on December 3 (see announcement). Throughout this, the one exception has been the Community Room next to the City Council Chambers, which has been opened during public meetings held in the Chambers. This has provided the public a chance to observe and participate “live” in those meetings. However, many others are held entirely by Zoom.
Important Upcoming Dates
(see SPON Calendar for additional listings)
March 9 @ 4:00 p.m. – City Council Meeting (<– note new start time)
Civic Center – Council Chambers (100 Civic Center Drive)
- Agenda, when published, available here (usually by 4:00 pm on Thursday before meeting)
- Insider’s Guide : City Manager’s preview of agenda items
- 4:00 p.m. – Study Session
- Overview of City’s Code Enforcement program
- Early look at FY 2021-22 Capital Improvement Program
- 6:30 p.m. – Regular Meeting
- Adoption of ordinance allowing continuation of previously-legal non-conforming signs
- Adoption of a new City Council Policy K-4 (Reducing the Barriers to the Creation of Housing) and initiation of code amendments related to increasing housing opportunities
- Approval of Cultural Arts Grants and confirmation of Council Member Joy Brenner’s citizen appointment to the Finance Committee
- Public hearings on:
- Zoning Code amendment to allow the operation of Wine Tasting Rooms in the Industrial Zoning District
- Conceptual design, fundraising Memorandum of Understanding and Zoning Code exemption for Junior Lifeguard Building
- Fee Study Update
- Code amendment to remove fire false alarms section and to authorize the Police Chief to Investigate alarm systems for permitting
- COVID-19) Update
- 4:00 p.m. – Study Session
March 10 – Posting of initial draft of updated Housing Element
- Details here
- The City has announced that 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, will be posted on this day for public examination prior to a review by the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee on March 17 and a virtual workshop on March 22.
March 10 @ 9:00 a.m. – California Coastal Commission
(virtual meeting – see agenda for details)
- Agenda here
- Item 12a on the Wednesday agenda was to have involved review of a request from the County of Orange for changes to public access to the Harbor Patrol/Coast Guard property and beach off Bayside Drive. However, the hearing on this matter has been postponed to a future meeting. SPON has submitted a letter expressing concern about existing, unpermitted access violations at the site.
- Item 12b also involves Newport Beach, and is the Coastal Commission’s consideration of a new dock at 939 Via Lido Soud, approved, on appeal, by the City Council as their Item 18 on June 25, 2019. Commission staff does not agree with the Council’s approval of dock extensions into the harbor.
- Item 12d authorizes and requires City work to repair a harbor-facing public walkway along the Rhine Channel.
March 10 @ 4:00 p.m. – Quality of Life in Newport Beach
(Zoom webinar – details here)
- The Speak Up Newport organization is hosting a Zoom webinar entitled: “Quality of Life in Newport Beach – Trending Down?’
- A panel of four City employees from four departments will be answering the question “What is the City of Newport Beach Doing to Increase Quality of Life for both Residents and Visitors?”
- Registration (at the above link) is required to view
SPON’s 2020 Annual Meeting (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. Instead, the business portion, only, was held by Zoom.
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).
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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
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.
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.
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