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Newport next to consider issuing resolution rebuking housing assessment

Newport Beach Civic Center
The city of Newport Beach plans to formally appeal its mandate to plan for 4,832 new housing units over the next decade.
(File Photo)

Newport Beach is set to join other cities in issuing a resolution against the methods used to calculate its share of the latest state housing mandate.

A draft of the three-and-a-half-page resolution opposing the methods of the Southern California Assn. of Governments — which determined in November that Newport needs to plan for 4,832 new housing units over the next decade — criticizes the number as abrupt, unvetted, lacking local input and undermining the integrity of what should be a collaborative process.

It is “detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of Newport Beach residents and its millions of visitors, while also undermining community character and any future vision that is not wholly housing-centric,” the draft resolution continues.

The City Council will consider the resolution Tuesday. Neighboring Laguna Beach and Costa Mesa took similar actions earlier this month, though the state Department of Housing and Community Development officially accepted SCAG’s methodology shortly thereafter.

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Newport also plans to formally appeal its mandate, form a housing-focused advisory committee and pause the ongoing overall update to its general plan — a comprehensive long-term development strategy and guide — to focus on the housing and related land-use and circulation elements, using the mantra “firmly challenge and plan to comply.”

SCAG — which represents Orange, Los Angeles and four other counties — voted in November to shift more of the 1.3 million new homes the state says Southern California needs during the next 10 years toward the coast. Doing so increased the number of homes Newport Beach would need to make room for to 4,832 from the previous target of roughly 2,700 that was set in October.

Though the state doesn’t directly require cities to build the homes, they must at least accommodate the need on paper through zoning for residential development. The deadline for certification of compliant city housing plans is October 2021.

Newport’s draft resolution also states “this increased target, that does not take into account the city and other government agencies’ laws and regulations, is untenable for a mid-sized suburban coastal community with tremendous environmental and topographical constraints such as Newport Beach.”

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Tuesday’s City Council meeting starts at 4 p.m. with a study session. The regular session begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.

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