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Newport looks to the future

January 25, 2014|By Emily Foxhall

Newport Beach staff plan to meet with the State Parks Department to discuss overall operations at Corona del Mar State Beach, where the city recently began considering outsourcing its lifeguard services.

The Parks Department expressed interest in revisiting the agreement that puts the 1.2-mile stretch of sand under the city's watch, City Manager Dave Kiff told council members Saturday during a planning session for the new year.

Such a conversation could occur concurrently with the review of proposals from possible lifeguarding vendors, which might not necessarily turn up good options, he said.

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The city council will continue to analyze city services on a case-by-case basis for possible outsourcing throughout the year, rather than develop an overarching action plan, council members further decided.

"In my opinion, the outsourcing decisions are unique," said Mayor Rush Hill. "I think we take them one at a time as the opportunity comes forward."

The city should review its service providers on a regular basis to be sure the expected high quality is maintained, Councilwoman Nancy Gardner suggested.

Also on the list of future goals for the council is installing artificial turf on playing fields, clearing the way for interim use of the Lower Castaways space, identifying spots for additional dog parks and revitalizing older parks.

Staff also projected a continuing focus on bike safety in the city, addressing the idea of a flashing crosswalk on Balboa Boulevard and completing a plan for how to handle the city's art, among other ideas brainstormed during the meeting, which was largely attended by city staff and potential council candidates, as resident and regular meeting attendee Jim Mosher pointed out.

In particular, Mayor Hill hopes to introduce new concepts for offshore moorings and to find a new use for the Coyote Canyon Landfill.

"So much has been done, but so much is in place and rolling along," Kiff said.

Up for debate as early as February will be whether a police station or community center needs to be built first in West Newport Beach, whether Newport Beach TV should be passed along to Newport Beach and Company and possibly a discussion on the Corona del Mar lifeguard outsourcing.

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COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY

Fire rings will again receive attention from the city council during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Council members will consider an ordinance to limit what can be burned in fire rings to materials like firewood, low-emission logs and natural gas.

The discussion comes in advance of the March deadline for the city to become compliant with the South Coast Air Quality Management District's Rule 444, which addresses health concerns related to open fire pits on beaches, according to the staff report.

Council members will also discuss whether to renew the Newport Beach tourism business improvement district, as well as whether to extend an agreement with Visit Newport Beach, which seeks to attract group bookings to the city and receives 18% of all transient occupancy tax revenue.

During a study session preceding the regular meeting, council members will take steps toward determining the fate of the vacant restaurant at the end of Newport Pier.

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