Council to review city's laws

In an effort to streamline its processes and make government more efficient, the Newport Beach City Council will kick off a year-long review of the city's laws at its meeting this week.

At his state of the city address earlier this month, Mayor Keith Curry vowed to purge outdated or redundant rules in the municipal code as a kind of extension of last year's city charter review, which culminated in the passage of Measure EE.

The ballot item made a series of edits to the charter — many of which proponents said were necessary to bring the 54-year-old document into the new century. Opponents of the changes argued that some of the provisions decreased transparency.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the council may vote to repeal 10 rules that city staffers have deemed outdated or have identified as being "burdensome" to business. One rule will be amended.

Among the first on the chopping block is an ordinance Curry called out specifically in his address that requires businesses to get a permit to hold Going Out of Business sales.

Other code sections up for repeal include a rule requiring that businesses with "one or more pool tables or amusement devices" get a city permit, and a number that absolve the city of its regulatory role in areas where the state has laws to similar effect.

For example, one city code chapter gives the city the power to regulate tattoo parlors. But according to a staff report, a state law passed last year handed that power to county health agencies.

Another change would eliminate the city's regulation of uniforms worn by private security guards, because, the staff report says, it creates another regulatory hurdle for local businesses, and for the most part, security guards haven't been confused with police around town.

If it ever comes up, the report says, laws against impersonating a peace officer would go into effect.


Newport Boulevard, Big Canyon

The council will consider approving an agreement with the California Department of Transportation that would give the city maintenance responsibilities and control over a stretch of Newport Boulevard (which is technically State Route 55) between Finley Avenue and the Newport Channel Bridge.

The council may also approve a nearly $5.7-million contract to replace the floating cover over Big Canyon Reservoir. The $6-million cover installed in 2004, which was expected to last about 20 years, is already deteriorating and has been a source of controversy.

Back on the agenda is a public hearing that could end with a vote moving forward plans for the Uptown Newport development, a mixed-use community that would be located near Jamboree Road and MacArthur Boulevard.

The council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in its new chambers on Avocado Avenue.

At a study session before the meeting, also in the new council chambers, the council will discuss upcoming Orange County Sanitation District infrastructure projects.

Also up for discussion will be the possibility of outsourcing the city's residential trash pick-up. At Tuesday's study session, members of the community will be able to weigh in on what they'd like to see in a request for proposals from outside contractors.

Twitter: @jillcowan

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