Protest brews against proposed Newport Beach homeless shelter


Opponents of a proposed homeless shelter on Newport Beach’s west side are planning a protest rally before next week’s City Council meeting.

The protest, scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, continues the appeals that several residents presented to the council at its Sept. 24 meeting when it agreed to continue planning to convert part of the city’s public works yard at 592 Superior Ave. into a 40-bed shelter.

Neighbors say the shelter would unfairly concentrate homeless people in that area, which straddles Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, and bring down property values, safety and quality of life. Share Our Selves, a homeless and social services center, is a block from the yard, and Costa Mesa’s temporary homeless shelter at Lighthouse Church of the Nazarene is a mile away.

592 Superior Ave. in Newport Beach is a city-owned maintenance yard and home to some public works divisions.
(Daily Pilot)

Messages on fliers and signs shared by organizers include “Protect our residences,” “Newport Beach — the new skid row,” “Children come first, city budget second” and “This is not a crisis for Newport Beach.”

The latter message alludes to the “shelter crisis” the council formally declared in September, allowing the city to waive zoning and development standards that would normally apply to a shelter project to fast-track its development.

Newport Beach is simultaneously exploring the option to partner with Costa Mesa on its upcoming long-term shelter near John Wayne Airport. Newport also is still in lease negotiations with representatives of a privately owned rental car lot on Campus Drive, also near the airport, to build a shelter there.

The city has made no commitments yet but did budget $300,000 for facility design to make storage structures at the Superior Avenue yard inhabitable. Staff and council members also have said the Superior site is cost-effective and could be running in as little as three months.

The council does not plan to discuss the possible Superior Avenue shelter Tuesday but is scheduled to hold more closed-door discussions regarding negotiations about the rental car lot and a potential joint operation at Costa Mesa’s airport-area site at 3175 Airway Ave. The closed session also will discuss negotiations regarding 1885 Anaheim Ave., the address of Costa Mesa’s current shelter at Lighthouse Church.

Tuesday’s regular council meeting will start at 7 p.m., preceded at 4 p.m. by a study session, at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.

Davis writes for Times Community News.