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First 2023 council meeting agenda includes correction to Bay Island development limit, Balboa library and fire station design contract


During the first Newport Beach City Council meeting of 2023, the new lineup of councilmembers has a short, but varied agenda.

At the Tuesday (Jan. 10) meeting, council will consider: A general plan amendment to increase the development limit for Bay Island; a professional services agreement for public outreach, concept development, and design work on the Balboa branch library and fire station project; and a resolution affirming that the City Council stands in solidarity with its Iranian-American community. 

During the earlier study session, council will hear a presentation on the Newport Beach Local Housing Trust.

The only item during regular business is a public hearing on a general plan amendment to increase the development limit for Bay Island.

Council will consider amendments to the general plan, zoning map and coastal zoning map for Bay Island. According to the staff report, the amendments will increase the maximum development limits from 23 dwelling units to 25 dwelling units. The action will also correct the land use maps. The amendments were initiated by Bay Island Club, Inc., which seeks to return development rights, the staff report notes. 

More than a century ago, Bay Island was established as a recreational club and developed as a residential island over the years. The only access is a pedestrian bridge and no vehicles are allowed on the island. Accordingly, Bay Island has a long history of off-site parking that is provided in a parking garage located at 501 W. Bay Avenue.

In 1997, the city council approved a permit that implemented a planned residential development overlay district, which modified the multi-family residential zoning and development regulations for the Island. 

At the time, it created a development plan that included a maximum of 25 residential units (24 single-family building sites plus one residential caretaker site) and authorized off-site parking. The purpose of the permit was to ensure that future development maintains the single-family detached character of Bay Island.

In 2006, council adopted a comprehensive general plan update, which “inadvertently decreased to a maximum of 23 residential dwelling units based on the existing number of dwellings that existed on Bay Island at the time; however, the caretaker’s unit was not taken into account, nor the fact that one dwelling unit is currently constructed over two authorized building sites. Additionally, the land use map inadvertently mapped one building site with an open space designation and conversely mapped areas intended for open space as appropriate for residential use. These errors were subsequently carried over into the Zoning Code and Local Coastal Program.” 

The requested amendments that council will consider next week are meant to correct the errors.

First 2023 council meeting agenda includes Balboa fire station

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Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

The Balboa Peninsula fire station #1

On the consent calendar (items are considered routine and usually voted in one motion without discussion unless a councilmember pulls the item), council will consider approving a professional services agreement for $697,248 with San Diego-based COAR Design Group for work on the Balboa branch library and fire station no. 1 replacement project, located at 100 and 110 East Balboa Blvd., on the Balboa Peninsula.

If approved, COAR will conduct public outreach, concept development, design the facilities and prepare the necessary construction documents.

As part of the city’s Facilities Financial Plan, the existing Balboa library and fire station are scheduled for replacement in 2025. 

The original 566 square-foot Balboa branch library was constructed in 1929 at the northeast corner of Balboa Boulevard and Island Avenue. The building was eventually expanded by 5,000 square feet in 1952. A decade later, a 3,423-square-foot fire station was added to the building.

According to the staff report, the proposed design scope includes conceptualizing and designing an approximately 7,000-square-foot combination library and fire station with a public works equipment storage garage, and a small park playground; assessing related site work and parking impacts; addressing the required permits for construction and designing site landscaping; maintaining connectivity to existing buildings and setting and designing other necessary infrastructure. The existing lot size is 25,000 square feet.

After issuing a request for proposals, city staff received seven responses. After a four-person panel evaluated each option, COAR received the highest rating.

COAR has also completed similar projects for other local agencies and is currently working on the NB Junior Lifeguard building.

The proposed scope of work will start with the preliminary design phase as the team thoroughly reviews all record drawings, studies and code-related concerns that may impact the design of the project. 

They will then move on to the program development phase, which will involve “multiple discussions with stakeholders to obtain a mutual understanding of the project’s scope and objectives,” the staff report explains. In this phase, COAR will finalize the work plan, schedule, deliverables, assign roles/responsibilities and benchmarks.

From there, the project will proceed to the conceptual/schematic design phase where COAR will develop specific building layouts and building system descriptions. Input will be obtained from stakeholders and incorporated into the design. Within this phase, COAR will develop cost estimates for major elements of construction work.

After council approves a conceptual design, the project moves into the development phase and details like materials and systems will be added. COAR will produce the first set of detailed plan sheets, develop outlined specifications and compliance reports and initiate the preliminary code/standards review. The team will also perform surveys, geotechnical investigation and utilities verifications.

The design will be refined in the construction documents phase and produce a final bid package that will be used for permitting and advertising for public bids. During the public bidding phase, COAR will respond to requests for information, review substitution requests, as well as contractor bids and qualifications. Once the project is awarded to the lowest responsive bidder, COAR can provide construction administration, a service that may be added to its scope via a contract amendment.

First 2023 council meeting agenda includes council chambers

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Photo by Sara Hall

Councilmembers will consider a resolution affirming that the city council stands in solidarity with its Iranian-American community

Also on the consent calendar, councilmembers will consider a resolution affirming that the City Council stands in solidarity with its Iranian-American community members as their relatives and associates are suffering through current human rights Injustices in Iran.

On October 25, in response to a request by former Councilmember Diane Dixon, a majority of the council supported having staff draft a resolution regarding the condemnation of the government of Iran for the physical beating and death of Mahsa Amini. Her death sparked an Iranian, female-led revolution involving thousands of Iranian civilians and allies taking to the streets around the world to protest the brutality and repression of the Iranian regime against its citizens.

At the November 15 meeting, city staff presented a resolution condemning the Iranian morality police and the government of Iran. Councilmembers ultimately decided to not adopt the resolution because it focused on international issues.

At the December 13 meeting, outgoing Councilmember Joy Brenner requested that the council consider adopting a revised resolution, which is now being presented next week. The request came after an outpouring of speakers commented on the issue during the November 29 council meeting during public comments on non-agenda items. At the December meeting, council unanimously agreed, via a straw poll, to direct staff to return with a revised resolution for consideration. 

Earlier on Tuesday, council will hold a study session, which will include a presentation on the Newport Beach Local Housing Trust.

The Newport Beach Local Housing Trust Formation Group will provide information on the status of the establishment of a local housing trust for affordable housing and the steps moving forward.

During matters which councilmembers have asked to be placed on a future agenda, newly elected Councilmember Joe Stapleton is requesting that the council consider adopting a resolution affirming the city’s support of efforts to eliminate the threat of fentanyl by devoting resources to the interdiction of narcotics, holding accountable drug traffickers and raising public awareness about the dangers of drug use.

Other consent calendar items include various contracts on previously approved work, updating documents and policies to conform with 2023 state regulations and recent data, and confirming the mayor and mayor pro tem appointments. 

The council agenda is available online here. The study session will begin at 4 p.m., closed session will follow, and the regular meeting will start at 5 p.m.

The meeting can be watched live on the local NBTV channel (Spectrum 3 or Cox 852) or on the city’s website here.

Members of the public may speak in person in council chambers (there is not a remote or online option to participate).

Questions and comments can be submitted in writing for City Council consideration by sending them to the city clerk at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To give the council adequate time to review comments, submit any written comments by 5 p.m. on January 9 (the day before the City Council meeting). Correspondence received by this deadline will be uploaded to the agenda packet by January 9 at 5:30 p.m. and can be viewed here

Material received after the deadline and prior to 2 p.m. on January 10 (the day of the meeting) will be provided to the council in hard copy and will be available to the public at the meeting.


Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.

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