Insider's Guide

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City Council Agenda items and other items of interest to the City Manager

January 18, 2019

Happy Friday! It’s nice to get a break from a week of rain, though it was much needed.  With this week’s storms, we are slightly above average for the season in total rainfall - good news for our groundwater basin.  I also appreciate the hard work of our utilities and public works staff managing our storm drains and tide valves efficiently and addressing issues promptly through the multiple storms. 

I hope everyone’s 2019 is off to a good start.  Our next City Council meeting is Tuesday, January 22.  The following are items that may be of interest.  As always, this is not a summary of the entire agenda, which can be viewed here.

We will have a Study Session beginning at 4:30 p.m. to discuss several items.  The Orange County Business Council will recognize our multiple entries for the Turning Red Tape into Red Carpet Award Program, highlighting several programs and efforts by the Community Development Department.  There will be an update on the City’s short-term lodging program and discussion on potential improvements to the program.  The Coastal Commission has issued guidance on addressing the impact of sea level rise and staff will be discussing the impacts for the height of residential and commercial development.  There will also be discussion on impact of waves on the coast as projected by FEMA.  Finally, economist Dr. Chris Thornberg will provide a high-level economic outlook and local revenue forecast for the City.  The forecast will inform our revenue projections for the FY 2019/20 Budget, now under development. 

The Regular Session begins at 7:00 p.m. and the following are items of note:   

  • Two labor contracts are on the consent calendar: the Adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Newport Beach Employees League Association and review of the Tentative Agreement with Newport Beach Police Management Association.  Both agreements follow extensive negotiations and are for three-year terms.

  • Also on the consent calendar is the creation of a Steering Committee for the General Plan Update.  The General Plan Update process and timeline was discussed extensively at the last City Council meeting during a Study Session.  As discussed at the Study Session, the Steering Committee will be composed of 5 residents and the Mayor as an ex officio member.  The application submittal period will be 1 week after notice in a newspaper and an ad-hoc committee formed by the Mayor will review applications.  The Mayor makes the final determination of appointees, to be confirmed by the City Council at a future City Council meeting. 

  • Two items on the last City Council meeting were continued to this meeting due to a newspaper distribution issue that impacted noticing requirements.  Under Public Hearing, the City Council will consider Harbor Fees updates related to management of Harbor operations.  Recommended updates were reviewed by the Harbor Commission and Finance Committee and are now before City Council for approval.  With the establishment of a new program to regulate and permit sidewalk vending, a sidewalk vending permit application fee needs to be set to recover the cost of City staff time to process the application.  Because this is a new program, the fee is based on estimated time and will be adjusted in the future following actual experience.  The Sidewalk Vending Program became effective January 1, 2019.

  • Phase 2a of the Big Canyon Coastal Habitat Restoration and Adaption Project is ready to begin.  This phase includes restoration of historic riparian habitat over the 11.3-acre site by removing non-native vegetation and replanting native species, creating a mosaic of native and sustainable habitats as well as stabilizing the creek and floodplain with erosion control measures.  Action requested at this meeting is to adopt a mitigated negative declaration and mitigation monitoring and reporting program in accordance with CEQA and approve the Phase 2a design.  If approved, grant funding will be pursued for construction and implementation.

  • A proposed vendor has been selected for the Advanced Meter Infrastructure Project, which would install new “smart water meters” in the City.  The new technology provides automation and improved customer service and response.  Due to the magnitude of this project, staff is recommending an initial “proof of performance” phase of the project.  This allows us to fully test the products, connectivity, customer interface, and obtain feedback from staff and customers.  250 of the new meters would be installed in this phase.  After the results of this phase, staff will bring back the full implementation for City Council consideration including costs, timing, benefits and funding.   

As a reminder, public comment is welcome at the City Council meeting.  The public can comment on any item on the agenda.  If you cannot attend the meeting and/or want to communicate with the City Council directly on an item, the following e-mail address gets to all of them: City Council

The Week in Review was provided last weekIn case you missed it, we do post them on the City’s website; the latest edition can be found here

Thank you for reading.  Feedback is appreciated so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment.

Grace K. Leung
City Manager


City Council Meeting Information

The Newport Beach City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of most months (the exceptions are August and December). Typically, there is a Study Session that starts at 4 p.m. Study sessions are times for the Council to take a deeper look at a specific issue, or hear a presentation, that might eventually lead to a specific and more formal action. A closed session often follows the Study Session. Closed sessions are typically to address legal, personnel, and other matters where additional confidentiality is important. The Regular (evening) Session typically starts at 7 p.m., and often has a specific listing of different items ready for formal votes. Items on the “Consent Calendar” are heard all at once, unless a Council member has removed (aka “pulled”) an item from the Consent Calendar for specific discussion and separate vote. If an item on the agenda is recommended to be “continued”, it means that the item won’t be heard nor voted on that evening, but will be pushed forward to another noticed meeting.    

Public Comment is welcomed at both the Study Session and the Regular Session. The public can comment on any item on the agenda. If you want to comment on a Consent Calendar item that was not pulled from the Consent Calendar by a Council Member, you will want to do so at the time listed on the agenda – right before the Council votes on the entire Consent Calendar (it’s Roman Numeral XIII on the posted agenda). If an item is pulled, the Mayor will offer that members of the public can comment as that specific item is heard separately. Additionally, there is a specific section of Public Comment for items not on the agenda, but on a subject of some relationship to the city government. If you cannot attend a meeting and/or want to communicate with the City Council directly, this e-mail gets to all of them: The City Manager also get's a copy of the email, because in almost all cases it’s something that the City Manager follows-up on.  

The Council meets in the Council Chambers at 100 Civic Center Drive, off of Avocado between San Miguel and East Coast Highway. There is plenty of parking in the parking structure. You are always welcome to attend in person, but you can also watch on TV, Spectrum channel 30 and Cox channel 852 or stream it on your computer.

This Insider’s Guide is not an attempt to summarize every item on the Agenda – just the ones that seem of specific interest to the City Manager. You are encouraged to read the full agenda if you wish.

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