Swiftly and with no opposition from the teen-agers who came forward a month ago to lobby for a later hour, the Newport Beach City Council voted to enact a 10 p.m. curfew, intended to clear the streets of loitering juveniles.
The 4-2 vote on Monday marked the fourth time the council met to consider a curfew, which residents and business owners on the Balboa Peninsula say is needed to stem a rising tide of juvenile rowdiness there.
On June 24, the council tentatively approved a 10 p.m. curfew but voted two weeks later to enact an immediate emergency 11 p.m. curfew and to approve a first reading of a permanent 11 p.m. curfew. On July 22, a divided council again switched gears and voted 4 to 3 to dump the permanent 11 p.m. curfew in favor of the 10 p.m. version.
Because Newport Beach's city charter requires that proposed ordinances remain unaltered for two readings, the 10 p.m. curfew needed the final vote Monday before it could become law. The 10 p.m. curfew will become effective Sept. 12 and the emergency 11 p.m. curfew will expire at that time.
Council members Bill Agee and Donald Strauss, who both favored the 11 p.m. curfew, voted against the new ordinance on Monday. Agee, who noted that the 11 p.m. curfew had been well-received by the youths it was intended to deal with, said he could not support the earlier curfew.
Although the city had a 10 p.m. curfew for decades, police stopped enforcing the ordinance in the late 1970s because of concerns over its constitutionality. The updated ordinance attempts to alleviate those concerns by creating broad exceptions to the law.
Minors whose jobs require them to be out past 10 p.m. as well as those who are out at their parents' direction would be exempt from the curfew. Youths engaged in school-related activities, sporting events, theatergoing or religious activities also are exempt.
However, in the month that the 11 p.m. curfew has been in place, police have arrested only two juveniles for curfew violation, said Newport Beach Police Department spokesman Tom Little.