Newport Beach residents ready to sue over possible homeless shelter

As Newport Beach officials continue exploring their homeless shelter options, residents are warning that litigation could follow.

Emails and letters have been sent by the dozens to the City Council and top staff members in the past several weeks of shelter discussions. Some broadly float the possibility of liability resulting from feared losses in neighboring homeowners’ property values. Others raise the specter of assaults and other dangers that could victimize the shelter’s neighbors or the homeless people staying in it.

Two letters from lawyers representing nearby property owners are direct resolutions to sue.

Much of the mobilization against the shelter planning has centered on keeping one out of the city public works yard at 592 Superior Ave.

The site is at the border of Costa Mesa and Newport’s west sides, and the surrounding area was recently redeveloped with condominiums in both cities. Residents in the area have picketed Newport City Hall and are now crowdfunding to help pay legal costs after serving the city with a formal notice of intent to sue.

Newport officials have repeatedly said the city has not committed to or abandoned any of the three shelter options it has most actively pursued in the past two months, including the city yard.

Part of that is contracting with a designer to draw up plans to convert a partially enclosed equipment garage at the yard and an adjacent warehouse into inhabitable structures. The city also wrapped up a bidding period for potential shelter operators Friday.

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