By Jill Cowan
4:51 PM PST, January 23, 2013
The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday instructed staff to develop a comprehensive parking plan for Balboa Village, authorized a voluntary buyout program for certain employees and gave City Attorney Aaron Harp a raise.
Balboa Parking Plan
The proposed parking plan, which drew mixed reviews from neighborhood residents who came to speak on the matter, was recommended by the Balboa Village Advisory Committee.
While the council ultimately voted unanimously to fund a more comprehensive study to fine tune a proposal, Councilwoman Nancy Gardner questioned aspects of the committee's recommendations about a residential parking permit program.
That program would require residents to buy parking permits for overnight street parking, and beachgoers or other visitors would either have to move their cars, or get a guest pass.
"Two areas in my district have been asking for residential parking permits, and every time we do this, we say no, no, well —" Gardner said. "And that was from 11 p.m. This says [permit required parking] would start at 4 p.m. That seems really stringent."
Councilman Tony Petros took issue with the proposed price for those permits. A staff report listed a tiered scale: $20 per year for a first permit and another $20 for the second permit, while a third permit would cost $60 per year. A fourth and final permit would cost $100 per year.
Councilman Mike Henn, who helped work on the proposal, said he saw, "unique characteristics," in the Balboa Village area where more visitors create a parking problem.
Nevertheless, Henn said any parking plan will require significant alteration before it's ready for further action.
Late in the meeting, the council gave city administrators the go-ahead to offer certain employees older than 50 a buyout package.
Eligible employees would have the chance to take a one-time, lump sum payment to retire by the start of the new fiscal year.
The Voluntary Separation Incentive Program, City Manager Dave Kiff said, was intended to "further shrink the size of government."
"We do need to get smaller — I've been fairly candid about that," he said, "but hopefully without layoffs."
Council members also praised city staffers involved in negotiating a deal that will increase many non-sworn employees' contributions to their pensions before officially approving that agreement.
Harp's 3% raise was moved on the evening's consent calendar without mention. His base annual salary will jump from $210,000 to $216,300. It was his first raise as city attorney.