Newport Beach City Manager Update: Newport Harbor Dredging, Coastal Road Construction

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Grace Leung, City Manager of Newport Beach

By Grace Leung, City Manager of Newport Beach

We had some very good news this week from Washington, DC: an $8.3 million funding allocation in the federal infrastructure bill to dredge the lower Newport Harbor. This is the final part of the funding needed to restore the lower harbor to its original depths, which will maintain safe navigation and improve the harbor’s water quality and the environmental health of the bay.

The city has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and federal lawmakers for many years to advocate for harbor dredging funds. We are grateful to our federal partners and Member of Parliament Michelle Steel for her efforts to secure these funds through the infrastructure bill.

We expect dredging of the lower harbor to begin in the coming months. The work will be carried out by the Army Corps in coordination with the City. The dredging of the lower harbour, along with the dredging of the entrance channel completed last fall, will help maintain Newport Harbor as a premier recreational and commercial marina, global tourist destination and regional economic engine.

Deployment of organic waste recycling to begin February 1

Beginning the first week of February, Newport Beach residents will begin receiving green-roof carts for state-mandated organic waste recycling, which includes yard waste and food scraps.

The new program will use three separate carts: one for solid waste, one for mixed recyclables and a third for recycling organic waste, which includes food waste and landscaping waste.

Between Feb. 1 and March 31, residents will begin receiving new green-top recycling containers for organic waste, an optional two-gallon bucket for kitchen scraps, and educational materials on how to properly recycle.

Recycling organic waste is now mandatory under state law, to reduce the impact on landfills and reduce greenhouse gases produced by the breakdown of organic waste. For more information on the new program, visit www.newportbeachca.gov/recycle.

East Coast Freeway Construction Project, Marguerite Avenue

A construction project will begin Monday, January 24 to rehabilitate concrete sidewalks, curbs, and ramps on the East Coast Freeway and Marguerite Avenue in the Corona del Mar area.

Construction will require temporary and intermittent lane closures at work sites. “No Parking” signs will be posted at various locations throughout the project.

Areas affected by construction will be the East Coast Highway between MacArthur Boulevard and Newport Coast Drive, and Marguerite Avenue between Bayside Drive and 5th Avenue. The physical improvements are expected to be completed by the end of March and will be followed in April by repaving the streets, which will be completed by the end of May.

To minimize inconvenience to the public, repaving of the East Coast Highway will be carried out at night. The repaving of avenue Marguerite will be done during the day.

The work is being carried out by the City’s contractor, All American Asphalt. If you have any questions, please contact Ben Davis at (949) 644-3317 or [email protected] or Andy Tran at (949) 644-3315 or [email protected] of the City’s Public Works Department.

Tsunami advisory activates communication and emergency response

Fortunately, the southern California coast escaped damage from tsunami waves caused by a volcano near the Tonga Islands on Saturday (January 15). Another positive outcome is that the tsunami advisory gave Orange County and coastal cities in Orange County a chance to activate and test our emergency response systems and flood preparedness.

Our lifeguard and harbor staff were on high alert throughout the day, checking for signs of turbulence and rising water. At the same time, our emergency response teams were in close coordination with the county and other coastal cities, ready to respond if needed.

If you are not registered with AlertOC, the county’s mass notification system, I encourage you to register. AlertOC sends urgent voice messages regarding specific emergencies to the entire county or Newport Beach to your cell, home or office phone, email or TTY devices. Text messages can be sent to cell phones.

Another helpful resource is the county’s Ready OC page with information on how to prepare your home and family for an earthquake, fire, flood, or other emergency. To sign up for Newport Beach news and alerts, visit www.newportbeachca.gov/subscribe.

Cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach

As of January 20, the cumulative total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 8,474, an increase of 606 cases since January 13. The total number of cases in Orange County as of January 20 was 466,107, an increase of 43,689 cases since January 13. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of January 20 was 323,606. These numbers are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.

Testing and Vaccination Resources

Home and self-collected COVID-19 test kits are available free of charge to people who work or live in Orange County and can be ordered online at www.ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.

In addition, free tests are now offered by the federal government through www.COVIDtests.gov or by calling (800) 232-0233. You can order up to four rapid tests to send to your home, which will be mailed free of charge through the US Postal Service within 7-12 days.

Vaccines continue to be widely available throughout Orange County for walk-in, same-day, and future appointments. People who are not yet vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19, or who are eligible for a third dose (due to immunosuppressed conditions) are encouraged to visit a local pharmacy or healthcare provider, or connect online to www.Vaccines.gov, www.MyTurn.ca.gov Where www.Othena.com, to schedule a vaccination appointment. For more information on COVID-19 information and resources, including case counts, vaccination, and testing in Orange County, visit ochealthinfo.com/covid.

City Receives Additional Comments from State on Draft Housing Element Update

City staff and its team of consultants have worked with the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee (HEUAC), the Planning Commission, City Council and the community over the past two years to prepare a draft housing element of the updated master plan. This effort is required by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in response to the Round 6 Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) award of 4,845 new housing units for Newport Beach.

In November, the City sent a revised draft of the update to HCD for a second round of preliminary review. On January 14, HCD sent a letter with comments and conclusions. Based on this letter, further revisions will be required. Click here to see the letter: https://newportbeachca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/71132/637782004887620823.

City Council will discuss portions of this letter at its January 25 study session.

If you have questions or to submit comments, please contact City staff by email. [email protected]. The City greatly appreciates the community’s continued participation and engagement in this challenging and unprecedented update process.

Homelessness Update

Our homeless coordinator, police liaison, and contractor, City Net, work diligently to find shelter for homeless people and match them with appropriate local, county, and state resources. In the coming weeks, we will launch our partnership with Be Well OC, a mobile mental health service, which will help reduce homelessness by providing treatment and providing links to long-term care.

  • A woman moved into a new apartment in Anaheim last week after losing her home and being homeless in Newport Beach for several months. The woman entered the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter in May 2021 and secured emergency housing Trellis International, a Costa Mesa-based nonprofit and partner of the City of Newport Beach, donated and delivered a new refrigerator and moved her things from the warehouse to her new apartment.
  • City Net, Newport Beach’s contracted social service agency, processed an application and security deposit for a seniors’ apartment for a woman who received an emergency housing voucher. Emergency Housing Vouchers are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and allow people to pay affordable rent based on their fixed income. Nine homeless people in Newport Beach received vouchers. The voucher program is administered by the Orange County Housing Authority. City Net helps Newport Beach customers complete necessary paperwork, obtain bank statements, view potential rental apartments, and more.
  • 17 people who were homeless in Newport Beach are now housed in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
  • City Net registered a person in its services and conducted a vulnerability index assessment. City Net uses the Vulnerability Index assessment to screen clients on a number of factors to determine appropriate placement in the county’s continuum of care system. Some factors include age, health issues, and how long they are not immune.
  • City Net helped a family find shelters and rental housing listings, and conducted a housing assessment.
  • City Net completed applications with two clients matched to permanent supportive housing in Costa Mesa.
  • City Net helped a customer enroll in the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program and get a low-cost cell phone. The EBT system is used in California for the delivery, redemption, and reconciliation of issued public assistance benefits, such as CalFresh, CalWORKs, and other food and cash assistance benefits. Established in 2004, EBT provides up to $125 per person per month to purchase food.

To donate to those living homeless in Newport Beach, please visit our Good Giving Program webpage at https://newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/how-you-can-help.

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