Long Beach seeks another public dock at Rainbow Harbor

CHULA VISTA —The California Coastal Commission approved a new proposal for a floating dock in Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor during a March 13 meeting. The request comes almost two years after the city was forced to remove a temporary 300-foot floating dock that was deemed illegal and a life hazard.

In April 2012, the Coastal Commission granted the city a permit to build the 300-foot dock—which the city hoped would promote recreational boating and draw more seafarers to the urban marina. But more than a year later, Long Beach was forced to remove the temporary dock.

Fast forward to March 13, the Coastal Commission granted Long Beach a permit to build a 180-foot floating dock at the Pier Avenue Pier, essentially in the same location where the city was permitted to build the 300-foot structure in 2012.

“This is a different/new public dock that is proposed at the Pine Avenue Pier,” Elvira Hallinan, Long Beach’s marine bureau manager, said.“The budget is currently estimated at $1.2 million; however, the funding has not been allocated at this time. The Long Beach City Council … will determine the priority of the Pine Avenue Pier Dock project, as well as other CIP Projects in the Tidelands vicinity at a meeting to be announced within the next couple months.”

She added the 300-foot floating dock proposal ultimately took the form of Dock 10, which opened in Rainbow Harbor last month.

With respect to the 180-foot public dock project proposal, commissioners approved the administrative permit without deliberation or discussion. Coastal Commission staff announced the agenda item and asked whether anyone had objections to the project as proposed. No objections were raised; moments later, the permit was unanimously approved.
“The proposed project, which will encourage public recreational boating use, involves the creation of 180 linear feet of public transient docking area on the eastern side of Pine Avenue Pier in Rainbow Harbor, Downtown Long Beach,” according to a commission staff report. “The proposed recreational boat dock development and its associated structures are an allowable and encouraged marine related use.

“New signs will be posted to designate the new dock for transient public use,” the staff report continued. “The dock will also be used for temporary events (boat shows, races, etc.). The proposed project will not interfere with public access on the existing pier. The project will not adversely affect public views.”

The floating dock would be made of concrete, measure 15 feet wide and be supported by six 24-inch octagonal concrete piles. An 80-foot-by-6-foot aluminum gangway attached to an existing seawall by Pine Avenue Pier would provide access to the dock.

Other features would include strip LED lighting and hose bibs to supply fresh water to recreational boaters. Sewage pump-outs, however, are not included in any plans. Boaters could access a pump-out station at Dock 10, about 500 feet away.

Environmentally, Coastal Commission staff stated the six concrete piles supporting the dock would not adversely impact eelgrass since they would be built directly adjacent to the existing pier. Dredging was not proposed.

“The applicant has proposed a vigorous set of construction and post construction best management practices during construction in order to avoid any significant adverse effects on marine resources,” Coastal Commission staff stated. “Construction will take place from a portion of the east side of the existing Pine Avenue Pier and from a barge which will transport the dock in portions.”

Although Long Beach has not adopted any copper-reducing policies, the Coastal Commission did require a few boat cleaning and maintenance conditions. Specifically, boaters visiting the public dock would be required to “minimize the discharge of soaps, paints, and debris” when performing in-water top-side and bottom-side cleaning.

Scraping or any other form of paint-removing while a boat is in-water is prohibited.

“Only detergents and cleaning components that are designated by the manufacturer as phosphate-free and biodegradable shall be used, and the amounts used minimized,” Coastal Commission staff stated about scraping and paint-removing alternatives.

The Coastal Commission also advised the city to “minimize the use of detergents and boat cleaning and maintenance products containing ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, chlorinated solvents, petroleum distillates or lye” at the new floating dock.

According to news reports, two Long Beach marinas were slated for new docks in 2012: a 300-foot floating dock at Rainbow Harbor and a 713-foot boat dock at Shoreline Marina. Permits for both docks were approved by the Coastal Commission in April 2012.

A temporary 300-foot dock was installed at Rainbow Harbor’s Pine Avenue Pier but, according to news reports, was determined to be non-compliant with the Coastal Commission permit and devoid of a building permit and fire certification.

At least one news report pointed out a local restaurant funded a 300-foot dock, which would operate temporarily until the city of Long Beach replaced it with a permanent structure. That dock, however, was reportedly built before the Coastal Commission granted Long Beach a permit for its 300-foot floating dock proposal.

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