Pilot program would give Harbor Patrol more flexibility with emergencies, enforcement.
NEWPORT BEACH ― A novel idea for mooring management and a newer master plan for the harbor have been recently discussed in Newport Beach. These plans are being implemented currently or in the near future. Could such ideas spread to other harbors?
A new way of managing moorings in Newport Beach is planned for this summer. Starting July 1, Harbor Patrol will no longer have administrative responsibility when it comes to moorings in Newport Bay.
The city of Newport Beach has signed a contract with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Under this new contract, the city will be taking over mooring administration including mooring rentals and transfers.
The idea is to rely more on technology and city staff, specifically at Marina Park, to offer a more efficient and pleasant process when it comes to mooring procedures.
Newport Beach’s pilot program would free up Harbor Patrol to focus on law enforcement and emergency medical services.
City Manager Dave Kiff and his staff put this plan together, and Kiff presented the plan to the Newport Beach Harbor Commission on May 10.
While the Harbor Commission and City Council want to see this new process succeed and think it’s a good idea, there are still questions and concerns.
“I am however VERY concerned about the process and pathway we’re taking and the speed (double meaning here) we’re traveling to get where we are going and it is full of risks,” Harbor Commission Paul Blank wrote in response to the new mooring management plan.
Additional reporting about Newport Beach’s mooring management will be featured in the next issue of The Log.
Harbor and Beaches Capital Plan
Newport Beach Public Works Director David Webb presented highlights from the Harbor and Beaches Capital Plan at the May 9 City Council meeting. The Capital Plan was developed by the former Tidelands Committee following former Mayor Diane Dixon’s suggestion. After it was reviewed by the Harbor Commission and Finance Committee, the Finance Committee made the recommendation to add ocean beaches to the plan.
With numerous items on the plan, Webb focused on the two biggest budget items which are seawalls and dredging. The money for these projects comes from a general fund and a tidelands fund. Other possible sources of finance being considered are through oceanfront encroachment funds and grant funding.
A seawall study done back in 2011 determined the age of the existing seawall in Newport Harbor to be 78 to 88 years. Being that the lifespan of these walls is projected to be 10 to 25 years, as reported by Webb, the condition of the seawalls in Newport Harbor is “holding fairly well” with “some superficial cracks.”
The height and strength of the seawalls are the main areas of focus. The tidelands committee decided on rebuilding, retrofitting and extending the cap of the seawalls at the cost of $17 million, according to Webb.
Two miles of seawall circles Balboa Island and sand has already been added to reinforce the Grand Canal’s seawall last year.
Dredging is the other major budget project. Dredging is an ongoing need in Newport Beach’s upper bay, lower bay, the main channels, residential slips and commercial marinas.
“When the harbor was formed by the federal government, they had a ‘design depth.’ About 650,000 yards need to be removed to get down to that depth which is estimated to cost around $16 million,” Webb stated.
There is consideration to go even deeper than that in the main channels to allow for better navigation.
Newport Beach’s second anchorage will be operational again as of May 26 and remain in place through Sept. 17.
Harbor Commission Vacancies
Just as the Newport Beach Harbor Commission was once again complete, an announcement was made about Commissioner Doug West’s resignation. West is moving to the East Coast, meaning his seat will soon be vacant.
“By resigning as he has, it means there are two Harbor Commission seats to be considered for appointment at June 30,” Blank stated. “David Girling is at the end of his first term and Doug West will vacate his seat.”
Girling is eligible and plans to apply for reappointment, according to Blank.
Nina K. Jussila photos