Insider's Guide

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

July 6, 2018 

A good Friday morning to you. I hope you all had a good and safe Independence Day. The Guide’s day was spent in part at the West Newport community parade, where the show was stolen by the family with five (or six, I couldn’t tell) small poodles all dressed in their patriotic finery. The little girl in the motorized cart was a kick, too, as she (probably no more than three-years old) drove on down the road. Parents were carefully following behind, but she seemed to know where she was going. Which was both scary and cool.   

Anyway, here is the Insider’s Guide for the City Council meeting of Tuesday, July 10, 2018. This Insider’s Guide is not an attempt to summarize every item on the agenda – just the ones that seem of specific interest to me. I encourage you to read the full agenda if you wish. So then, here's a summary of what’s on the agenda of the next City Council meeting:

We will have a 4 p.m. Study Session with some interesting topics:  

  • A nice update from our pals at the Friends of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter, who are making progress on providing more and more resources for the Shelter.
  • We’ll talk about our recent interactions with FEMA regarding flood maps, and you’ll learn if we’ve made any progress there to reduce the number of properties that might be subject to higher insurance costs. Folks on Balboa Island and the Peninsula will want to stay engaged on this.
  • One of the Council’s absolute favorite things to do (not!) is to hear about possible adjustments to fees – this time to our Fire, Lifeguard and EMS fee structure.   

During the 7 p.m. Regular Session, it looks to be not too late of an evening. Here are two items that popped out at me:

  • One item involves the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a proposed hotel/family inn at the Newport Dunes resort. This would be on the western side of the Dunes Lagoon. Many may forget (here I go again) that the development entitlement for this 275-room inn was and is outlined in a 1983-era Settlement Agreement associated with the Dunes’ overall development. The Dunes sits on tidelands assigned to the County of Orange, and the County leases that back to the Dunes operator. Some discretionary approvals would have to occur before the Inn could be constructed, but the development entitlement is there and no General Plan amendment is required.
  • Here’s an interesting one: We seem to have a donation problem. Not too little, but maybe too many. Staff has asked the Council to consider suspending our donation policy – temporarily – so that we can get a handle on some issues associated with donated benches and trees (and similar) in public spaces. In some cases, we’re not meeting donors’ expectations. In others, the donations don’t cover the cost of some rather rigorous maintenance. Anyway, this will not affect already-donated benches or trees, but it will allow us to have a public dialogue on donations from here forward. I fully expect a good donation program to stay here in our community, but it may have some adjustments to make sure that it’s sustainable. If you are interested in this issue, please stay involved and follow it with the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission.       

As noted previously, for my last handful of Insider’s Guides, I wanted to try to memorialize a few things in our community’s collective knowledge so that they are not forgotten as I head off to other ventures. Last time (Part 1) was about Sunset Ridge Park. I have two more today.  

So Please Don’t Forget This – Part 2
John Wayne Airport (JWA) is probably the thing that worries me the most when I think about impacts to our quality of life. Yes, that’s probably too dramatic. Someday, planes will be a lot quieter and/or they’ll take off nearly straight up. But until that time comes please don’t be complacent about JWA. Our forefathers and mothers in the early 1980s sued to attempt to stop JWA’s expansion. That lawsuit resulted in the landmark 1985 JWA Settlement Agreement, which still stands today – and is unique across the country. Among other things, the Agreement sets in place the all-important curfew, a cap on the number of passengers that can fly out per year, and a cap on the “loudest” flights that can go out on an average day. All of these important things are subject to that Agreement’s survival.  

I don’t worry too much about the Agreement surviving. I do worry about unexpected attacks on it, about when its next negotiations phase arrives (2027-ish?) and what happens after that. Our community has only succeeded in limiting the impacts of JWA when we have worked together. Not neighborhood-by-neighborhood, but as the entire city. Even then, the community hasn’t won every battle. For the battles ahead, our success rate will improve when we stick together. That means having some sympathy for those right under the flight paths, including realizing how those paths have changed over time. And if you’re not under the flight path, it means making sure that you still stay engaged with the larger city to make sure that JWA remains, overall, an airport that doesn’t overwhelm us. I am heartened now with the efforts of AWG, SPON/AirFair and CAANP to indeed stick together as we work on our latest JWA challenge (that being post NextGen implementation). To help us all not forget, we’ll soon send out a snail-mail community newsletter on the latest happenings regarding JWA. Each time we do this, we step back and work to re-educate the community about the Settlement Agreement and All Things JWA. So it’s a lot to read. But please read the newsletter when you get it, and please refer it to friends. By doing so, you help make sure no one gets complacent.   

Lastly, a very important but short “So Please Don’t Forget This – Part 3” is about Newport Beach Lifeguard Ben Carlson. He passed away four years ago today (July 6, 2014), working to save a life in the tough waters south of the Newport Pier. No one expects to come to work and not make it home that night. Many, many will never forget Ben, and that’s as it should be.    

Thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment.  

Dave Kiff
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 20-40 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: Please know that I get a copy of that e-mail, too, because in almost all cases it’s something that the City Manager follows-up on. It’s my head-start.   

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 behind City Hall. You are always welcome to attend in person, but you can also watch on TV Time Warner/Spectrum 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 Dave. I encourage you to read the full agenda if you wish.

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