Newport Beach Harbor Commission continues to work on changes to harbor code

Proposed changes to Title 17 deal with liveaboards, sanitation, development permits, dredging permits, harbor permits and leases, appeals and enforcement.

NEWPORT BEACH—It will be a few more months before recommended changes to Newport Beach’s Title 17 – Harbor Code, go before the City Council for approval.

At the Aug. 14 Newport Beach Harbor Commission meeting, Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs delivered a staff report on those proposed changes. The written report recommended the commission authorize staff to push recommended changes to Title 17 on to the City Council, but Jacobs revised that at the meeting. She requested the commission and public give input and the draft be sent back to the committee.

“There is more work to do,” Jacobs said. “I’m going to recommend we slow this process down a little bit so that we get it exactly right.”

Highlights of the drafted changes include clearly defining liveaboards in commercial marinas, limiting the number of live-aboard permits at commercial marinas to seven percent of slips, requiring operable marine sanitation devices and dye tablet testing and requiring each live aboard permittee to contract with an authorized commercial pumpout service at a minimum of twice a month. It also clears up the process for getting harbor development permits.

Three community members spoke on the topic at the Aug. 14 meeting. All questioned the requirement that liveaboards be required to contract with an authorized commercial pumpout service at a minimum of twice a month. Many expressed the sentiment that they routinely and responsibly use pumpout stations.

“The other consideration with the required twice a month contracted pumpout service is that each situation is different,” Herman Coomans said in a July 24 email to the commission. “There are single people with large holding tanks, families with small holding tanks and people off their boats for days, even weeks at a time.”

The proposed change is part of an effort to keep the bay clean.

A revised timeline for changes to Title 17 given at the Aug. 14 meeting estimates the commission will review the changed code at their Oct. 9 meeting with it moving onto a study session at the City Council on Oct. 22. The timeline estimates the changes would take effect in January 2020 if approved by the council.

“This will come back to ad hoc,” Commissioner Bill Kenney said. “Once we are ready to sign off, it will come back to the full commission.”

According to the staff report, an ad hoc committee comprised of Commissioners Paul Blank, Bill Kenney and Don Yahn has been working for months to review Title 17. The City Council requested the Harbor Commission review the code in February 2018. Jacobs said the committee has now met 24 times and has held several public meetings to gather community input.

A copy of the current drafted changes can be found in the Aug. 14 Harbor Commission agenda at newportbeachca.gov. Questions regarding Title 17 can be directed to the Harbor Department at 949-270-8159 or title17review@newportbeachca.gov.

Also at the Aug. 14 meeting, the commissioner unanimously passed a motion supporting the city’s recommendation to approve a project from applicants at 1708 and 1710 South Bay Front to reconfigure their shared residential dock in a similar U-shape configuration.

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