A Harbor Commission subcommittee has been working on revisions to the section of Title 17 related to liveaboards in commercial marinas after the original revisions were not approved by City Council.
NEWPORT BEACH—A Newport Beach Harbor Commission subcommittee held a public meeting Aug. 26 to get community input on two new possible options for the section of Title 17 related to liveaboards in commercial marinas; one would limit liveaboards in commercials marinas to 15 percent while the other would remove any restrictions.
The Harbor Commission’s proposed revisions and updates to Title 17 as a whole went before the City Council on Jan. 28. Council members approved the updated Title 17 except all references dealing with liveaboards in commercial marinas.
The initial proposed revision would have added language limiting the number of liveaboards in commercial marinas to 7 percent of slips. Some City Council members said they didn’t want to limit options for affordable housing and didn’t think it necessary to include restrictions if there were no standing problems with liveaboards in commercial marinas. Some commercial marina operators also raised issues with the limitation.
The original Title 17 did not include any restrictions for liveaboards in commercial marinas but stated “The number of live-aboard permits in effect at any given time shall not exceed seven percent of the number of offshore mooring permits.”
A Harbor Commission subcommittee, made up of Commission Chair Bill Kenney and Commissioner Don Yahn, has been working on revising the section. At the Aug. 26 meeting, the subcommittee presented two different redline drafts.
The first one proposed changing the language to limit the number of liveaboards vessels berthed at a commercial marina at any given time to 15 percent of the total number of slips. It also added a requirement for liveaboards in commercial marinas to get a liveaboard permit from the Harbormaster.
It kept language limiting offshore mooring permits to 7 percent of the number of offshore mooring permits issued by the city.
“We want to make sure we have a connection with the liveaboard community no matter where they are,” Harbormaster Kurt Borsting said at the meeting.
Kenney read two submitted letters, which both expressed opinions of opposition to allowing more liveaboards in general.
“We believe this would change the entire culture of Newport Harbor,” one letter stated.
Jim Parker from Port Calypso Marina also spoke at the meeting. Kenney said Parker has been one of the most active community members in the discussions. Parker questioned why any type of numerical limit needed to be added to the Harbor Code, saying there has not been an issue with liveaboards in commercial marinas or a history of environmental problems related to liveaboards in commercial marinas.
“There’s no record to back up or justify these restrictions,” Parker said at the meeting.
The subcommittee then presented a second redline draft. This draft removed all language placing a limit on liveaboards in commercial marinas. It still included limitations of liveaboard permits to permittees holding valid offshore mooring permits to not exceed 7 percent of the number of offshore mooring permits.
It also included a requirement for commercial marina liveaboards to get a permit from the Harbormaster.
“I think it’s the right way to go, because as I say, currently with no restrictions and there haven’t been any restrictions in the course of history, and there’s probably, as I can ascertain, it’s not official, but there’s probably only six liveaboards, approved liveaboards, in commercial marinas in Newport Harbor,” Parker said in response to the second redline draft.
There were also some public comments raising questions about if liveaboards who use the harbor for a limited time out of a year would be eligible for a permit based on current code regarding the time requirements to obtain a liveaboard permit.
Kenney said they would take the feedback from the meeting and give some further thought to proposed alternatives. The sub-committee will then take the recommendations before the full Harbor Commission. Kenney was hopeful that they would be able to do that at their Sept. 9 meeting.
For more information on the city’s Title 17 and revision visit https://bit.ly/2G0IElf.