Future of Huntington Harbour fuel dock coming down to the wire

HUNTINGTON BEACH — The future of Huntington Harbour’s only fuel dock remains in limbo, though city officials believe the problem could be solved within the next few weeks.

Mariner’s Point, the sole fuel dock at Huntington Harbour, is expected to be shut down by Oct. 1. Center City Properties and Nahas Enterprises, the two ownership stakes in Mariner’s Point, announced no plans to relocate or open a new fuel dock at Orange County’s northernmost harbor.

City officials reportedly met with the ownership group of Mariner’s Point in hopes of finding an amicable solution while falling short of positioning the city of Huntington Beach as a prospective buyer. At least one news report indicated Mariner’s Point would be willing to list the fuel dock on the market.

The city did setup a dedicated webpage to provide updates of any progress made to keep the fuel dock open. A public meeting, which was noticed on the page, was held at a private Huntington Harbour residence on Aug. 19. City leaders and officials discussed the potential closure of the fuel dock and reportedly informed attendees the fuel dock’s ownership group was open to selling the venue to another party.

“While this is a private facility, the city understands the great importance the fuel dock, Huntington Harbour’s only fuel dock, has for the boating community,” city staff stated in the public meeting notice. “While not a party to any negotiations, it is the city’s desire to ensure that a public fuel dock remains open and accessible for the Huntington Harbour boating community and visitors. Based on discussion with Mariner’s Point, they are willing to consider written offers for transfer of the fuel docks. The city is working with interested parties to help facilitate this effort.”

Michael Liefer, an attorney from the Irvine firm of Palmieri Tyler Wiener Wilhelm and Waldron, was listed on the city’s fuel dock website as a contact for parties interested in submitting purchase proposals. Liefer was unable to provide The Log with any updates due to confidentiality.

Whether any pending offers made (or already in place) will help keep the fuel dock open is unclear.

The Log’s attempted to reach Huntington Beach’s City Manger for updates; he did not respond before press time.

A fuel dock closure, of course, would force Huntington Harbour boaters to fill up their respective vessels in Long Beach or Newport Beach. At least one fuel dock operator in Newport Beach said he would be able to handle the additional traffic should Huntington Harbour boaters visit him at Island Marine Fuel.

Some local residents worried the loss of Huntington Harbour’s lone fuel dock would directly impact property values for homeowners in and around the area, it was previously reported.

County officials, meanwhile, are preparing for routine dredging of Sunset/Huntington Harbour.

Orange County’s Board of Supervisors agreed on Aug. 24 to solicit bids for the planned dredging project, which has a budget of $6.4 million. Huntington Beach is expected to kick in another $925,000 to install a 14-inch-diameter waterline under the Huntington Harbour channel.

The California Coastal Commission approved Huntington Harbour’s dredging plan in April. About 16,000 square feet of eelgrass was projected to be permanently lost in the dredging project, but county officials offered a plan to plant 120 percent of the protected plant somewhere else in the harbor.

About 248,000 cubic yards of sediment would reportedly be dredged from Huntington Harbour’s navigation channels and disposed in the Surfside/Sunset Beach surf zone or 6 miles off the coast of San Pedro.

Public access to Surfside and Sunset beaches, as well as recreational boating activity at Huntington Harbour and Sunset Harbor, would be temporarily and minimally impacted. The entrance channel east of the Pacific Coast Highway Bridge, Main Channel West, Peters Landing, Sunset Marina, Bolsa Channel, Bolsa Sediment Trap and Main Channel East could also be impacted by the dredging project, which is expected to be completed in March 2016.

Sunset Marina and Huntington Harbour was last dredged in 2001, when about 96,000 cubic yards of sediment was removed.

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