Newport Beach Harbor Commission to Review Harbor Permit Policy Again

The commission formed a subcommittee to provide recommendations to the City Council on how and when exceptions can be made to a city policy restricting piers and floats from extending beyond the pierhead line.

NEWPORT BEACH—The Newport Beach Harbor Commission has again been asked by the City Council to review the Harbor Permit Policy.

City Council Policy H-1, Harbor Permit Policy, prohibits piers and floats from extending beyond the pierhead line and is intended to layout the process for exceptions to this rule. It most often applies when the city considers residential dock reconfiguration applications.

The City Council recently requested that the Harbor Commission review the policy to provide recommendations on how and when exceptions may be made.

At its Feb. 10 meeting, the commission formed a subcommittee, chaired by Commissioner Gary Williams, to look at this policy and put recommendations together for the City Council. Commissioner Don Yahn and Chair Bill Kenney were also appointed to the subcommittee.

The Harbor Commission also reviewed Council Policy H-1 back in June 2019 and the commission’s proposed changes were approved by the Council in November 2019.

In a separate agenda item at the meeting, the Harbor Commission discussed establishing formal rules of procedures to ensure that the commission’s duties are performed in accordance with its new designation in the City Charter. A ballot measure, approved by Newport Beach voters in the Nov. 3, 2020 election, made the advisory council a “charter designated” board. With the new designation, the Harbor Commission is officially recognized as a commission in the Newport Beach City Charter.

“As such, the role of the Harbor Commission is to advise the City Council on matters relating to the harbor and to serve as a reviewing body of decisions made by the harbormaster,” said Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs at the commission meeting.

After becoming a charter designated board, the commission requested more formal rules of procedures to clearly identify how meetings will be conducted.

City staff adapted the formalized rules of procedures used by the Planning Commission for the Harbor Commission. Those rules of procedures were presented to the commissioners for their consideration at the Feb. 10 meeting. The procedures, in part, formalize in writing many practices already in place.

Jacobs said the most significant change in operating would be the inclusion of a resolution for certain items before the Harbor Commission, such as items related to property rights and appealable items, which would require the commission to identify the reasons for the approval or denial.

“It makes it a much more formal process because it’s there in black and white,” Jacobs said at the meeting. “If it were to get appealed, the Council can really clearly see and understand what your reasoning was as a commission to make that decision.”

The commission decided to push any decision on the rules of procedures to next month’s meeting.

One thought on “Newport Beach Harbor Commission to Review Harbor Permit Policy Again

  • February 27, 2021 at 7:48 am
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    The H1 policies were put in place without proper notification of waterfront homeowners. If you desire or have a need to refurbish, improve or make changes to your existing dock the process is restrictive, expensive, overwhelming and down right impossible between Harbor Commission and Coastal Commission it is punitive in every sense of the word. The job of the Harbor Commission and City Council should be to protect all Newport Beach homeowners, their property rights and allow them to easily improve their homes.

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