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Boatel, food hall, water taxi among initial concepts for Channel Islands Harbor visioning

Sargent Town Planning, which was hired to manage a visioning process for the redevelopment of Channel Islands Harbor, presented initial concepts for revitalizing the waterfront at a virtual workshop on Jan. 28.

OXNARD— A new set of conceptual ideas for the redevelopment of Channel Islands Harbor have been put to paper. The future waterfront might include: A boat hotel, public hall food market, water taxi system, multi-use trail system interconnecting the entire harbor, super yacht dock, and a marine education center.

David Sargent, senior principal at Sargent Town Planning, presented these initial concepts at a virtual public workshop on Jan. 28. He emphasized they were a flexible range of potential development types and investment opportunities, but in no way concrete plans.

Ventura County hired Sargent Town Planning, a professional urban planning and economic development team, in August 2020 to put the first strokes to paper of what the future Channel Islands Harbor could look like after a controversial redevelopment project for Fisherman’s Wharf was derailed. A subcommittee made up of various harbor stakeholders was also created to help lead this visioning process for future harbor development.

The county hopes to come up with a plan that will attract private developers to revitalize aging infrastructure at county managed properties such as Fisherman’s Wharf and several other parcels that do not currently have ground leases.

The Jan. 28 workshop provided attendees an opportunity to give their input on which concepts they supported through live polling. Those who were unable to attend the workshop will be able to view the presentation and participate in the concept polling in the coming weeks on the Channel Islands Visioning website, https://www.channelislandsharbor.org/visioning/.

Ventura County Harbor Director Mark Sandoval said the feedback from the meeting will be used to further vet out concepts and create a development vision plan for the next few decades. Once the visioning process is complete, the Harbor Department will initiate a Request for Proposals process to identify developers to implement the vision for the developable parcels, as the department does not have the funds to do so itself.

There were some concerns expressed at the workshop about how the concepts would affect the way the boating community already uses the harbor.

“None of this would be displacing or reducing or in any way eating into the boating activities and boating related services, the idea would be to provide a lot more amenities.” said Sargent at the workshop.

Sargent Town Planning visioning for Channel Islands Harbor

Fisherman’s Wharf

A controversial redevelopment project for this site was derailed by the California Coastal Commission in August 2020. While the county supported rezoning the area to allow for an apartment complex with nearly 400 units, the city of Oxnard, some local residents, and ultimately the California Coastal Commission did not. The decision to scrap the project was further solidified when the development company behind the proposal, Channel Islands Harbor Partners, did not pay the required fees to retain its exclusive Lease Option Agreement for the area.

One of the ideas shared by Sargent at the Jan. 28 workshop for this area was a public market food hall and outdoor promenade.

“We’re thinking there’s a possibility it could be a venue where the best of the bounties coming from the sea, the fresh seafood coming out of the ocean, and the best of Ventura County’s agriculture, for which our county is so famous, could be showcased along with local arts and crafts.” said Sargent.

Other ideas proposed which could work in conjunction or independently, included; Visitor-serving commercial, including restaurants, shops, a pub and small grocer; A mixed-use development with ground floor retail and second floor boutique office space or boutique hotel or residential housing; Water recreation such as kayak rentals; A bike and pedestrian path; And a marine education center.

Sargent Town Planning visioning for Channel Islands Harbor

N-1 Parcel

The N-1 Parcel currently includes Anacapa Boatyard and a small marina nearing the end of its lease. Primary concepts for this area included replacing the boatyard with a lodging facility featuring a boat hotel and vintage airstream trailer hotel, similar to the Waypoint Trailer hotel in Ventura. Additional ideas included a bar or cafe on the dock, guest docking, and a small amount of guest-serving commercial businesses.

 

QRS

The QRS parcel, located north of the Coast Guard, is being used for boat storage and Cisco’s Sportfishing. A couple of the presented concepts would allow Cisco’s to continue to use the space with the possibility of an expansion. One of the other ideas was to use the boat storage facility to hold a new harbor patrol headquarters. There were other concepts including expanding operations for Island Packers, an outdoor entertainment venue with a floating stage and docking space for small cruise ships.

 

Peninsula Point and Remnant Parcel

A new Hyatt House Hotel has already been in the works for the peninsula, with a planned opening in 2022 or 2023. A small, vacant remnant parcel across from the hotel is also available for development. Concepts presented included a pocket park, bike rentals, food stands, and townhouse/condos.

 

X-3

This parcel, located south of harbor landing, includes land, and a water parcel that is not currently developed. Initial concepts presented included development of small docks or a large dock to host visiting super yachts.

“Start to put this little harbor on the map for the larger boating community going up and down the coast.” said Sargent at the workshop of the large dock idea.

Ideas for the landside parcel included a mixed-use similar to Fisherman’s Wharf or a Culinary Center, which would serve as a school by day and restaurant by night.

 

K-1

The K-1 parcel is the site of the now-closed Whales Tale Restaurant. Ideas presented here included visitor docks, a marine education center, an aquarium, and a bed and breakfast.

 

Public realm improvements for access, connectivity and place-making 

Another major concept presented by the Sargent team was a pedestrian and bicycle path to interconnect all the pieces of the harbor, which would include a multi-use trail on Channel Islands Boulevard. Concepts also included promenades along the water with outdoor seating and decks built over the water’s edge with kiosk restaurants and cafes. Another concept was a water taxi system that would stop at the various attractions throughout the harbor.

“Could really change the allure of the harbor as a place for really good quality developers to invest some serious money in fine, new buildings and uses and so we think that could help jumpstart the reinvestment the harbor needs so much.” said Sargent.

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2 thoughts on “Boatel, food hall, water taxi among initial concepts for Channel Islands Harbor visioning

  • Dotty Pringle

    There are no Theme Destination Project Directors involved in this notable harbor on the West Coast. This county plays games with consultant fees going to friends that have no experience in Harbors. It is set up for failure as is and run on Dark Money. The Poll was not opened to state, the true stakeholders of this harbor, it is Public Land
    and until they get experienced employees, nothing will happen except these clowns get wealthy off of our areas bad leadership.
    Then you have the people on Nextdoor website who undermine facts about this project and how dirty it really is. Too bad the facts won’t be shared with reporters because this would be a whole lot more informative than the continuous failures being reported.

    Reply
  • Dotty Pringle

    There are no Theme Destination Project Directors involved in this notable harbor on the West Coast. This county plays games with consultant fees going to friends that have no experience in Harbors. It is set up for failure as is and run on Dark Money. The Poll was not opened to state, the true stakeholders of this harbor, it’s Public Land
    Then you have the people/leads on Nextdoor website who undermine facts about this project and how dirty it is. Btw, this is the fifth largest harbor on West Coast, so maybe do some research and the Boatel at former HarborTown in Ventura was a bust! Maybe hire a Project Theme Director and ditch anyone who has no harbor theme experience. This has been stalled for 25+ years. Now do you get it? It’s the new way to do favors for your friends or family with Consulting Contracts.

    Reply

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