Newport on the right path, Kiff says

City manager outlines good news about the city in wide-ranging discussion before Chamber of Commerce members.

March 07, 2013|By Jill Cowan

Keep Newport Beach looking good, City Manager Dave Kiff said Thursday morning, and the high quality of life residents have come to expect will follow.

Maintaining "that feeling you get when you drive into town," he said, keeps "property values up and crime low."

Kiff, who addressed a couple dozen slightly bleary-eyed Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce members gathered in the Central Library's Friends Room at about 7:45 a.m., said that to do that, the city must continue to carefully evaluate its priorities to invest in community amenities — and cut other costs accordingly.

The breakfast was the first of the chamber's revamped Government Affairs Committee meetings, interim chamber President and Chief Executive Steve Rosansky wrote in an e-mail newsletter. The monthly meetings have always been open to all members, but they haven't been well-attended.


By holding the meetings in the Friends Room and more actively promoting speakers, he wrote, the chamber hopes to draw more business owners.

Kiff discussed a range of issues, from the city's impending move to its new headquarters next to the library to new parks to the hotly debated dock fee increases, along with the harbor infrastructure improvements he said those increases will help fund.

"It wasn't a pleasant process. It wasn't the best process. I think we could all have done things differently," he said.

However, it's become clear that the federal government hasn't been — and won't be any time soon — in a position to pay for harbor maintenance projects, he added.

An ongoing issue that may see some resolution soon, Kiff said, is the John Wayne Airport settlement. The terms of the original 1982 settlement, which sets limits on the airport's operations, will expire in 2015.

Before that time, a new settlement must be agreed upon by several parties, including two local residents' groups, the city and the county.

A major project last year, Kiff said, was working on the new agreement, the terms of which were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"We're hoping to get news in a matter of days," Kiff said.

Although many Newport residents enjoy the protection the airport's noise restrictions and curfew have afforded, Kiff cautioned that the settlement will "have to allow a little growth, otherwise things could blow up."

He also spoke about several efforts aimed at saving the city money without sacrificing the quality of services.

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