Newport Beach City Manager Update: Emerald Brushfire Achievement, Council Planning Session

Grace Leung

By Grace Leung, City Manager of Newport Beach

I would like to acknowledge the great work done by our local fire departments in bringing under control the bush fire that broke out in Laguna Beach near Emerald Bay on Thursday February 10th. The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) was the lead agency responding to the fire, aided by the Newport Beach Fire Department, which dispatched five engines, along with other teams from nearby cities and agencies fighting the 150-acre blaze fought.

Luckily there were no fatalities or property damage from the Emerald Fire, but it was a reminder of the fire hazards in our area after another relatively dry winter. While unseasonably hot weather and winds in Santa Ana were factors in the rapid spread of the fire, underlying dry bush conditions remain. As OCFA chief Brian Fennessy told the news media on Thursday, “We’re not in fire season anymore, we’re in fire year.”

I encourage all of our residents, and particularly those in fire-prone areas of the city, to read the Ready Newport Beach Emergency Preparedness Guide published by the Newport Beach Fire Department at The guide provides information on how to prepare for a variety of natural and man-made disasters, including the three main steps to preparing for a wildfire: creating a family evacuation plan, putting together an emergency preparedness kit, and completing a family communications plan. The guide also offers tips for creating a fireproof buffer around your home using less combustible building materials and fireproof landscaping techniques.

To receive emergency notifications in the event of a fire or other disaster, please sign up for Newport Beach’s Nixle Notifications at, where you can customize the type of notifications you wish to receive , including voicemail , SMS or email.

The rollout of the expanded recycling program continues

Distribution of the new green-top carts for recycling organic materials (garden waste, food waste and other biodegradable items) will continue until the end of March. Bio-recycling collection begins the week after the delivery of the bio-trolleys, the same day that litter and standard recycling are collected.

For information on the federally mandated organics recycling program, please use the following resources:

  • Visit to find out when the organic recycling carts are arriving in your neighborhood (use the search function at the top of the page).
  • The collection days have changed for around 14,000 households. To find out your trash and recycling collection day:
  • The street sweeping days were also adjusted in the districts with changed collection days. These neighborhoods include portions of Balboa Peninsula (21st Street through G Street) and Corona del Mar (north of Coast Highway), Irvine Terrance, Port Streets, and the northern tip of Newport Heights. These changes will avoid conflicts, address parking conditions, and maintain street cleaning effectiveness. For maps and information, visit or call the city office at (949) 644-3011.

Council planning session outlines goals and priorities

On January 29, the City Council held its annual planning meeting to outline the city’s goals and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. This is a key workshop held in January each year that begins preparing the fiscal year’s budget and prioritizing spending on new programs and facilities, neighborhood improvements, and more. The planning session included the budget for the current fiscal year, projections for fiscal 2022-2023, spending, infrastructure and capital improvements such as the proposed library lecture hall and Jr. Lifeguard Headquarters.

Fortunately, there are several positive financial trends in Newport Beach, including higher-than-expected property tax, sales tax, and hotel tax receipts that have generated a surplus that we will use to pay down debt, expand our homelessness efforts, and fund additional infrastructure maintenance and improvement projects. I had the pleasure of presenting a recap of the planning session to Speak Up Newport on February 9th and you can view a video of that presentation at this link:

Residents are encouraged to apply for aviation, master plan committees

  • Aviation Board. The city is seeking community representatives from Council District 1 to fill an unscheduled vacancy on the Aviation Committee. If you are a District 1 resident and would like to apply, please visit for more information. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
  • Steering Committee for Updating the General Plan. The city is seeking community representatives for three vacancies on the reinstated General Plan Update Steering Committee. If you are interested in applying, please visit for more information. The application deadline is Wednesday, February 16, 12 noon.

COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach

As of February 10, the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 8,706, an increase of 105 cases since February 3. The total number of cases in Orange County as of February 10 was 530,036, up from 8,605 cases since February 3. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients nationwide as of February 10 was 461,222. These numbers are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Health.

Testing and Vaccination Resources

Self-draw at home COVID-19 testing kits are available free of charge to individuals working or living in Orange County and can be ordered online at In addition, free tests are now available from the federal government through or by calling (800) 232-0233. You can order up to four rapid tests to your home address for free delivery in 7 to 12 days via the US Postal Service.

Vaccines continue to be widely available throughout Orange County for walk-in, same-day, and future appointments. Individuals who have not previously been vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19, or are eligible for a third dose (due to an immune deficiency), are advised to visit a local pharmacy or healthcare provider or online at, www.MyTurn Go to or to schedule an appointment

vaccination date. For more information on COVID-19 information and resources, including case counts, immunizations and testing in Orange County, visit

Maintenance of the city bridge

A city contractor will perform routine maintenance on Newport Beach’s bridges beginning this week. Bridges at Jamboree Road, 38th Street, Lido Island, Balboa Island, Bonita Canyon and Bison Avenue and the Goldenrod Footbridge will be repaired over the next two months. The work mainly consists of sealing and repairing concrete. Most of the work will take place under the bridges and in the walkway areas, but there may be brief traffic disruptions.

Beginning February 14, the contractor will work under the Balboa Island Bridge to seal and repair concrete. No disruption to vehicular traffic will be required for this portion of the work, but boaters are urged to exercise extra caution when navigating under the bridge.

Renovation of sports fields

The city’s Public Works Department conducts field renovations twice a year, summer and winter, to keep the fields looking new and performing well ahead of the busy youth sports recreation season. This work includes scarifying, aerating, leveling, organic fertilization, seeding and topdressing, and sod work for selected fields. Two major athletic field renovations were recently completed at Irvine Terrace Park and Bonita Creek Park. The renovation work included cutting and removing the damaged turf, sorting and laying turf, and seeding and top-fertilizing the remaining fields. The crews installed 40,000 square feet of sod at Irvine Terrace and 10,000 square feet of sod at Bonita Creek. On average, the city renovates 26 bays (1.8 million square feet) every two years. The city values ​​our residents’ patience in creating and maintaining world-class athletic venues.

homelessness update

  • City Net, Newport Beach’s social services agency, assisted a couple relocate to permanent housing in Costa Mesa. The couple lived in their vehicle in Newport Beach for a year before signing up for City Net’s services. City Net provided a new mattress and other household items for their new home. The couple now have access to supportive local elder care services.
  • City Net toured a retirement home with a woman who had received an emergency housing voucher. Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Emergency Housing Vouchers allow people to pay affordable rent based on their fixed income. Nine homeless people in Newport Beach have received vouchers. The coupon program is administered by the Orange County Housing Authority. City Net assists Newport Beach clients with completing required paperwork, obtaining bank statements, viewing potential rental homes and more.
  • 17 people who were made homeless in Newport Beach are now housed in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
  • City Net enrolled one person for their services and conducted a Vulnerability Index Assessment and a Housing Assessment. City Net uses the Vulnerability Index Assessment to screen clients for a number of factors to determine proper placement in the county’s Continuum of Care system. Rating factors include age, health problems, and length of vulnerability.
  • City Net transported a customer to the DMV to obtain a new photo ID.

To donate to the homeless in Newport Beach, please visit our Good Giving Program website at

Volunteers for the homeless need time counting

Sign up to help shape Orange County’s homeless services for the next few years as part of the February 22-24 Point in Time Count. Point-in-Time is a biannual census of people experiencing homelessness on a given night. The census provides important information that will help the county better understand homelessness in the community and guide the way the county and its partners are responding to homelessness in Orange County.

Volunteer opportunities are available leading up to the event and during the Point in Time Count event. Sign up at


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