Officials discuss moving police headquarters

Newport Beach officials said Friday that they are considering moving the Police Department across town.

City Manager Dave Kiff said that moving the Police Department from Santa Barbara Drive in Newport Center to a city-owned property at Industrial Way and Newport Boulevard in West Newport could save money.

The Police Department needs more room, and the current site, built in the 1970s, needs seismic renovations, he said.

Kiff presented that and other ideas for rethinking city facilities at a City Council study session Feb. 22. Re-using Newport's soon-to-be vacant City Hall site prompted the in-depth look.

"There's always a challenge rebuilding facilities in the same place, because you have to move them out and back in," Kiff said. "Sometimes it works better to find a new place and build there and just move them once."

Kiff also said the department would consider contracting some police services to Costa Mesa — which earlier this week proposed outsourcing up to half of all city jobs — if asked.

"Nothing is off the table," Kiff said. "I think especially in local government, everyone's looking at different ways of doing things that are more efficient."

At the study session, Kiff said that selling the Santa Barbara Drive property could bring in $10 million for the city. On Friday, he said it was more likely that the city would lease the building, but it could potentially recoup the same amount of money.

The new police site would also be closer to Costa Mesa.

Calls seeking comment from Costa Mesa Chief Executive Tom Hatch were not immediately returned.

Kiff also discussed other facility changes, like moving Newport Beach's lifeguard headquarters and selling off a chunk of the General Services Department land. Kiff's proposals totaled $24.5 million in potential revenue for the city, an estimate he called mid-range.

"This is purposely ambiguous," Kiff said, asking for feedback and concerns from the council.

"I like the plan," Newport Councilman Keith Curry said. "I think this represents good creative thinking about how we want to be looking at coordinating all of our facilities."

Kiff said that the changes would take three or more years, but he wanted to start discussing them with the City Council.

"We have a lot more homework to do," he said. "I just wanted to make sure they didn't see any fatal flaws."

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