Newport Beach Harbor violation appeal hearing turns into broader discussion about floats

A public hearing for a request to appeal a Notice of Violation was held at the Dec. 9 Newport Beach Harbor Commission, which turned into a larger discussion about float permit violations within the harbor.

NEWPORT BEACH—A Dec. 9 public hearing at the Newport Beach Harbor Commission about a permit violation appeal turned into a broader discussion about illegal float extensions in the harbor.

On Aug. 18, the Harbor Department issued a Notice of Violation to the permittees of 1322 E. Balboa Boulevard and 1324 E. Balboa Boulevard for their dock structure, which exceeded the permissible length stated in the permit, and for an oversized vessel berthed at the dock.

According to a staff report, aerial records show that the dock had been modified and was approximately 55 feet in length at the time of the violation, in excess of the permitted 38-foot maximum length and that the float sections of the dock were constructed or installed without a permit. The structure in question was a detachable float extension attached with hinge clips.

On Oct. 7, the permittees filed an appeal of the violation. The permittees, O’Malley Miller and Tom LeBeau, who share the dock and are joint permittees, addressed the commission at the public hearing at the Dec. 9 Harbor Commission meeting. LeBeau told the commission they submitted a public documents request, which he said revealed they received one of three violations issued in the past 10 years without the city receiving a public complaint.

He said he documented about 360 similar infractions in from other permittees in the harbor and shared a slideshow featuring photographs of similar floats.

“All of these pictures that I’m showing you, none of these devices have received a permit from the city,” LeBeau said. “This picture is a picture of a dock extension, much like mine, you can see what he’s using it for, this is a beachward dock extension and he’s got his dingy on there and that’s precisely what we use ours for.”

Many of the harbor commissioners seemed to agree coming up with a policy regarding these types of floats was something they needed to do.

“I believe this issue of floats is going to have to be addressed and we’re going to have to put something together otherwise it will just continue to expand, we need to have some rules,” Harbor Commission Vice Chair Scott Cunningham said.

The commission ultimately voted 4-3 to rescind the violation.

“The basis would be that we don’t have a specific policy on these temporary floats,” said Cunningham, who made the motion to rescind the violation.

Commission Chair Bill Kenney agreed they needed to come up with a policy but voted against repealing the violation.

“I have a real concern with bayward encroachments and I didn’t see any bayward encroachment in all of those photographs,” Kenney said.

One thought on “Newport Beach Harbor violation appeal hearing turns into broader discussion about floats

  • January 16, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    I thought this meeting got canceled



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