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Council OKs Bike Safety Fund, Buys Office Building, Accepts Library Donation

A roundup of news discussed at the Newport Beach City Council meeting.

The Newport Beach City Council met Tuesday night. Here are some of the highlights from the meeting.

  • Mayor Nancy Gardner announced sharrows, or shared lane markers for bikes and cars, will be installed in Corona del Mar the last week of the month. Signage will also go up along East Coast Highway to remind everyone to share the road. “This elucidates what is always the law,” Gardner said. “ I hope this makes the roads a little bit safer.”
  • In response to two bicyclist fatalities that occurred last month,
    several fundraisers have been launched by the community for bicycle safety improvement projects.  The city has scheduled a memorial bike ride on Sunday, Oct. 28 to pay tribute to Sarah Leaf and Catherine "Kit" Campion-Ritz  who were killed while cycling in Newport Beach. Councilmembers voted to sponsor the event and said for every dollar raised by the community, the city will match three additional dollars in bike safety expenditures up to $450,000. April Morris, who is working as an organizer on the memorial ride, said the ride has already collected more than $18,000.
  • Cameron Philips with Team Simple Green/ Bike Religion, offered his support for the fund and the memorial ride, while Councilwoman Leslie Daigle thanked the mayor for her work on bicycle safety. "We have done quite a few improvements and there are a bunch lined up," Daigle said. "We are making progress and we are going to continue moving forward." Resident Lauren Curren says she appreciates the momentum around the bike safety issues and said she hopes more work continues to be done. “We need more comprehensive planning and think of separated bike lanes, synchronized lights and signals and markings that make it impossible to miss markings on the street," Curren said.
  • Gardner accepted a $187,000 donation check from Cynthia Cowell, director of library services for the Newport Beach Public
    Library, and Wendy Frankel, a board member with the Friends of the Library. The money will be used for books, programs and balancing the
    library’s collection with electronic books for adults and children, Cowell said. The funds will also be used for the summer reading program, Sunday musical programs and other programs. “We want to give this gift to the city of Newport Beach and we are proud to do that,” Frankel said. “We look forward to giving even more next time.”
  • Gardner made a proclamation recognizing Dean O’Malley and JetLev Southwest for setting a new world record by flying from Newport Beach to Avalon on Catalina Island using the JetLev/Jetpack on Sunday, Sept. 29. O’Malley, president of JetLev Southwest, flew the 26.2 miles across the open ocean on the same day Glen Martin flew his sea plan from Newport Beach to Catalina Island 100 years ago. “We hope this puts Newport Beach back on the map and back in the media for setting records,” O’Malley said.
  • Councilmembers voted to purchase an office building at 1499 Monrovia Avenue for $4.3 million. The building is owned by Kenneth Kaplan who sued the city in 2011 alleging the city condemned his 17,000-square-foot property when it was rezoned from industrial to residential use. According to a staff report, Councilman Steve Rosansky and City Manager Dave Kiff have been negotiating with Kaplan to purchase the property, which could potentially serve as a location for a new community center in West Newport. Any past, pending or future legal claims by Kaplan against the city have been dropped. Newport Beach resident Bill Mosher voiced his disapproval of the purchase during public comment and the "casual way the city tosses around money."  "I would have thought before beginning these negotiations they would have been made public,” Mosher said. “We already have a community center on 15th street."
  • The council approved a formal response to an Orange County Grand
    Jury report on public employee pension transparency. The city has agreed to upgrade its executive compensation page, with an emphasis on pension costs; upgrade its employee compensation cost pages, with emphasis on pension costs, overtime pay, on-call pay and expanded descriptions; post its employer pension annual contribution rates and include pay and on-call pay in compensation cost reporting on the employees’ compensation pages. 
  • The council approved the third annual periodic review of the zoning implementation and public benefit agreement between the city and Sober Living By The Sea. A periodic review is conducted every 12 months for good faith compliance.
  • The council continued discussion on a proposed template lease and marina index for commercial marinas to a special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.
  • The City Council approved $500,000 in funding for the purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment for the Newport Beach Civic Center Project’s Library Expansion. The Newport Beach Civic Center project includes a 17,000-square-foot expansion of the Newport Beach Central Library, which will feature more room for reading and studying, an expanded children’s room and a multi-media computer lab. A café will be located between the new Newport Beach Civic Center and the library.

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