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Silver lining in Dover Drive project

For residents near Dover Drive, the ongoing construction on their street has a silver lining.

Though they have suffered through delays in the sewer replacement project, new medians and landscaping are being planned for the street when the replacement is finished, according to a presentation to the Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday.


An Orange County Sanitation District project for sewer rehabilitation, the Dover Drive Trunk project began last summer and is expected to be complete in October or November, instead of July.

In the second of three phases, the project entailed roadway closures, parking restrictions and night work.


“I do see a light at the end of the tunnel on this job for those who live near it,” said Michael Sinacori, an assistant city engineer.

The sewer pipeline, which was constructed in 1952, runs along Dover Drive, from Irvine Avenue to Coast Highway. It is being replaced with a sewer line that is larger in diameter. Part of a Newport Beach city waterline is also being replaced.

Meanwhile, consultants spoke optimistically about their plans for the installation of new medians, as well as to remove concrete and widen some of the existing ones.

The consultants from two separate firms, Civil Works Engineers and NUVIS Landscape Architecture and Planning, expect to work around existing trees but replace the lower shrubs to allow for more seasonal color and different texture, said David Grantham, representing the engineering firm.


Trees they hope to use include the California sycamore and strawberry tree, while plants may include autumn sage, little gem and ghost aloe, he said.

The conceptual plan also included pavement rehabilitation, added bike lanes and traffic signal updates.


Meeting recordings


As part of a larger look at the city’s practice of records maintenance, which ranges from staff reports to city budgets, council members also briefly debated during their study session how long audio records should be kept.

Current state and city law allows audio records of a legislative body of the city to be destroyed after 30 days, according to city staff. Not all committee meetings are recorded. Video recordings of council meetings are permanent.

Though Councilman Keith Curry said he does not refer to such recordings and City Manager Dave Kiff explained they can be imprecise due to possible mechanical error, Councilman Mike Henn said he believed retaining them for up to a year could be helpful for committees.

“The taking of the minutes is a variable practice,” Henn said, explaining that some are lengthy and others are more oriented to action that takes place. “I feel good about keeping it.”

Councilwoman Nancy Gardner agreed that she appreciates the opportunity to check what was said if the recorded minutes do not seem to align with her memory.

The council will vote at its May 13 meeting on a resolution to adopt the records retention schedule with a change for audio records to remain for one year.


Riverside post office continued

Council members, with Leslie Daigle absent, voted unanimously to continue the discussion surrounding general plan and zoning changes for a Newport Beach post office on Riverside Avenue.

Although Councilman Tony Petros at the previous meeting asked staff to return with documentation to help deny the application, he rescinded that request Tuesday.

A representative for the zoning-change applicant had approached with an olive branch, promising to provide a more-meaningful application, Petros said.

Petros said he hoped the new application would provide some information of where the post office will operate, be it in its current or nearby location.

As of the last council meeting, the landlord had not renewed the lease for the post office, and the applicant stated only that it wished to change the permitted use of the space, without acknowledging any further plans.

Petros also asked city staff to look closely at the possible effects the change of use could have on roads in the area, as well as the surrounding environment.

The item is scheduled to return to the agenda May 27.