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A responsive, knowledgeable team of professionals guiding community development in the public interest.
The function of the Planning Division is to promote and enhance the well-being of residents, visitors, property owners, and businesses of the City of Newport Beach. The division accomplishes its mission through programs that encourage high quality development as well as maintenance and revitalization of existing neighborhoods.
The Planning Division is charged with the responsibility of preparing, maintaining, and implementing a General Plan for the City of Newport Beach. The General Plan contains ten elements, which provides overall policy guidance for the future of the City. Those Elements are the Land Use Element, Harbor and Bay Element, Housing Element, Historical Resources Element, Circulation Element, Recreation Element, Arts and Cultural Element, Natural Resources Element, Safety Element and the Noise Element.
While the General Plan's function is to guide the overall form of the City, specific development standards are contained in the Zoning Code. The Zoning Code regulates size and height of buildings, as well as specific types of uses and establishes the procedures for development approvals such as Use Permits, Modifications, and Variances. Modifications are minor deviations from Zoning Code standards such as setback encroachments and fences exceeding the height limit.
Depending on the nature of a proposal, development approval may be issued by the Planning Director, the Zoning Administrator, the Planning Commission, or the City Council. Typically the more simple proposals may be approved by the Director or the Zoning Administrator, while more complex projects require approval by the Planning Commission or City Council.
The Zoning Administrator is a Planning Division designee. The Planning Commission is a committee of seven residents appointed by the City Council to review matters such as Use Permits, Variances, and higher-level Planning and Zoning decisions. Larger or more complex development projects involving General Plan or zoning amendments, Specific Area Plans, and special issues such as affordable housing are reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council.
Planning for a city, as diverse as the City of Newport Beach, is divided into two core missions: Current Planning and Advanced Planning.
The Current Planning Team is responsible for the review of permit applications for consistency with zoning regulations and other land use requirements. Environmental review is conducted and public hearings are facilitated for all projects that require discretionary review. The team is responsible for the review and issuance of building permits, and they provide zoning information at the public counter.
The Advanced Planning Team is responsible for regional and long range planning programs for the community including housing-related issues. The team ensures that the General Plan's goals and objectives are implemented as the City grows and develops. The team also evaluates current and future regulations with an eye to implementing the General Plan in cost effective ways.
The City of Newport Beach recognizes that promotion of economic activity in the City makes it possible for the City's residents and property owners to enjoy a healthy mix of products and services, and high quality municipal services. The Economic Development function promotes fiscal and economic vitality in Newport Beach by implementing programs design to enhance the business climate in the community. Staff is available to assist anyone operating a business in Newport Beach or interested in establishing a business in Newport Beach.
Division staff has access to one of the best multiple listing services available in order to assist business with finding the perfect Newport Beach location and provide referrals to those handling the sale or lease of the available properties. The Economic Development section of the City's website also offers a portal to Tools for Business Success, a useful referral service. Staff also provides processing assistance in dealing with City permits and procedures on an as needed basis.
Staff works closely with the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce, the Newport Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau, and business associations and Business Improvement Districts throughout Newport Beach in designing and implementing programs to enhance the economic vitality of the community, including the administration of the City's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.