A July 2011 decision by the Newport Beach City Council to terminate a zoning agreement between the City of Newport Beach and Morningside Recovery, LLC has been upheld by Judge Sheila Fell in the Orange County Superior Court.
The City of Newport Beach (City) terminated the agreement after finding that Morningside Recovery (Morningside) had not complied in good faith with the terms and operational conditions of the 2010 zoning agreement.
Judge Fell found there was substantial evidence in the record to support the City’s Council’s action and thereby rejected Morningside’s arguments to the contrary.
On September 28, 2010, the City Council adopted Ordinance 2010-18, approving a zoning agreement that provided Morningside an entitlement for the operation of residential care facilities in Newport Beach. The agreement included operational conditions intended to minimize impacts and protect the public health, safety and welfare of the residential neighborhoods in which the residential care facilities were located. The City and Morningside were required to conduct a periodic compliance review of the agreement at least once every 12 months.
During the June 2011 compliance review, City staff identified a high number of alleged violations of the operational conditions of the zoning agreement at each of the Morningside residential care facilities, as well as separate alleged violations of the Newport Beach Municipal Code.
The alleged violations included exceeding the maximum number of permitted client beds, failing to utilize garages for parking, failing to submit quarterly compliance reports, and failing to report the number of parolee/probationer clients at each facility. The City’s police department also responded to 15 calls for service at Morningside facilities between late September 2010 and late May 2011. The calls were for such matters as disturbance of the peace, illegal parking, and the playing of loud music.
Based upon these findings, the City Council issued a notice, giving Morningside 30 days to resolve the issues and come into compliance with the agreement.
On July 26, 2011, after a lengthy public hearing to determine whether Morningside had made a good faith effort to come into compliance with the terms of the zoning agreement, the City Council adopted Ordinance 2011-20, revoking the zoning agreement. Morningside then filed a lawsuit seeking to have the Court set aside the City Council’s decision. In response to Morningside’s lawsuit, the City filed a cross-complaint against Morningside alleging that Morningside was violating the provisions of the Newport Beach Municipal Code at its facilities in Newport Beach.
Judge Fell’s June 19 ruling upholds the City Council’s decision and clears the way for Newport Beach to move forward with its cross-complaint against Morningside.