Insider's Guide

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

September 21, 2018 

Happy Friday!

Three weeks with the City in a blink of an eye! I am learning so much, but then I feel there’s just so much more to learn. Luckily the staff is great in getting me up to speed on many issues and community members too – the number of intelligent, engaged and civic minded people here is impressive. I suspect you will keep me on my toes!

Our next [City Council] meeting is on Tuesday, September 25, and 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.

No Study Session items this week, so a little more time for dinner before the Regular Session at 7 p.m.    

Regular Session items of note:

  • Although the second reading of the updated ordinance on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) is on the consent calendar, we are requesting the City Council continue this item to a future meeting to provide an additional opportunity for City Council discussion on this ordinance. Changes were proposed to conform with new state requirements; however, following discussion on this item at the public hearing on September 11  we’d like to explore additional potential options to restrict ADUs while still conforming with state law. 
  • The next step in the Water Wheel project is on the agenda, to approve the Mitigated Negative Declaration in accordance with CEQA. This project will build a facility that captures floating trash that passes through San Diego Creek into the bay.  Along with another trash capture facility and storm drain system trash collection efforts, this will reduce trash loads by 50%-80%, for a noticeable impact. Construction is estimated to begin in spring 2020 and take six months.
  • As part of our continuing efforts to address traffic, two traffic signal synchronization projects are on the agenda. One project is to synchronize traffic signals along MacArthur Boulevard, coordinated with the City of Irvine to cover 22 signalized intersections (nine within Newport Beach). The agenda item is to approve the application for grant funds for this project. The second project is along the Culver Drive-Bonita Canyon Drive corridor, also a joint project with Irvine. Grant funds have been award for this project and the agenda item is to approve the cooperative agreement with Irvine.  
  • The Finance Committee recently considered the appropriateness of the General Fund Contingency Reserve level. A study by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) was commissioned to assess risks. Based on the findings identified in the report and other factors, staff and the Committee recommend maintaining the current Reserve funding level at 25% of operating expenditures. The Committee also recommends a change in how the annual contributions to the Reserve is calculated. In the past two years, the City Manager has recommended, and the City Council has approved, the exclusion of additional discretionary pension payments to CalPERS from the annual reserve calculation. Otherwise, the City is required to reserve a higher amount than intended, as the Contingency Reserve is meant to ensure services are provided during extraordinary circumstances, which would leave less available for program funding. The agenda item codifies this exclusion in F-2.
  • There are two items related to the additional crossing guards in the Newport Heights neighborhood. Two crossing guards were recommended in the Newport Heights Neighborhood Schools Traffic Study and were approved by the City Council on August 14. Agenda item 13 allocates the funding for those two new crossing guards, which were already added in time for the first day of the school year. Agenda item 14 amends the contract to allocate funding for a third new crossing guard recommended by the City Traffic Engineer based on pedestrian counts and field observation. The locations of the three new crossing guards are: one at Coral Place and Irvine Avenue adjacent to Ensign Intermediate and two at 15th Street and Santa Ana Avenue adjacent to Newport Heights Elementary (one for east/west pedestrians and one for north/south pedestrians).   
  • For public hearing is the call for review of the Planning Commission’s approval of a variance and coastal development permit to demolish an existing single-family residence and allow the construction of a new single-family residence at 3200 Ocean Boulevard.  Pursuant to our municipal code, the call for review is conducted as a new hearing. This means the City Council is not bound by the Planning Commission’s prior decisions or limited to the issues raised at the lower hearing. 

Thank you to everyone who reached out after my first “Insider’s Guide.” I appreciate the kind words of support! It was also clear that there is considerable interest in maintaining this communication. As I mentioned last time, while I am looking for way to improve our outreach, I will continue this guide.  

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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