Newport Beach City Council Meeting Preview

Compiled by June Casagrande

ROOTING OUT FICUS PROBLEM

With a focus on ficus, council members today will consider what to do

about trees citywide. In their study session before tonight's meeting,

members will scrutinize a staff report on the city's 3,200 ficus trees

and the damage these trees cause: $50,000 to $100,000 a year in damage to

sidewalks, sewers and other facilities. That's not counting the claims

the city paid for damage to private property. From 1998 to 2001, the city

paid $285,543.38 in such claims.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

Council members will decide tonight whether to turn their study

session lessons into an ordinance to be introduced at a future council

meeting. Ultimately, members could consider removing the trees and

replacing them with another species of tree. They could also consider

whether to increase tree-trimming throughout the city.

COUNCIL DISTRICTS SCRUTINIZED

A subcommittee charged with the task of reconsidering the city's seven

council districts will present its findings tonight. They are

recommending leaving Districts 1 through 6 untouched and adding Newport

Coast to John Heffernan's District 2. But they have also come up with

some alternatives, including redrawing districts to balance the number of

constituents in each.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

With issues such as the Santa Ana Heights annexation and the proposed

Banning Ranch development on the horizon, subcommittee members say now is

not the time to disrupt residents by redrawing districts that would have

to be changed again in the next year or two. Council members could follow

suit.

DUCK FEEDING ORDINANCE

Tonight's meeting could end a months-long controversy over an age-old

nuisance. Council members will vote on an ordinance to prohibit all but

incidental feeding of ducks. Though the idea is to protect residents from

the unpleasantness that occurs when large groups of ducks set up camp in

one spot -- and to protect the water from their high-bacteria droppings

-- the ordinance focuses instead on their migration patterns. Kids

throwing bread to ducks doesn't affect their migration; such minimal

feeding will thus remain legal.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

At a first reading of the ordinance, council members were unanimous in

their support for the proposed ordinance, so it's likely that it could be

law tonight.

GUIDING COASTAL ACCESS ISSUE

The council will consider creating a steering committee to help staff

during the Local Coastal Program Certification Process.

WHAT TO EXPECT

The committee, if created, will consist of three council members and

three planning commissioners whose terms on the committee will end by

July 1, 2003.

FYI

* WHAT: Newport Beach City Council meeting

* WHEN: 7 p.m. today, study session will begin at 3:30 p.m.

* WHERE: Newport Beach City Hall, 3300 Newport Blvd.

* INFORMATION: (949) 644-3309

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