Ventura Port District offers rental abatement and deferment program to harbor tenants

The Port District approved a program which will abate or defer all rental payments for a period of up to three months for harbor tenants who have been directly impacted by the Coronavirus.

VENTURA—Ventura Harbor beaches, beach parking lots and boat launch ramp facility have all been closed as part of the effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and get life back to normal sooner. While many harbor restaurants remain open for takeout and delivery, COVID-19 is still wreaking economic havoc. The Ventura Port District has stepped in to provide a relief option for local harbor businesses.

On April 1, the Ventura Port District Board of Port Commissioners held a public video meeting in which they unanimously approved Resolution No. 3387, COVID-19 Ventura Harbor Rental Abatement and Deferment Program. The program will abate or defer all rental payments for a period up to three months – April, May and June – for harbor businesses directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harbor master tenants, Harbor Village tenants and village marina recreational charter businesses which have been closed by government order or lost 50 percent or more of their typical monthly pre-COVID revenue can take advantage of the program. The repayment of deferred payments would not be due until Dec. 31, 2020.

Conditions of the program require all master tenants who qualify to provide the same monthly deferments to their subtenants.

It is estimated that the direct fiscal impact to the Port District due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the fiscal year 2019-2020 is $600,400 in lost revenue, according a staff report. The staff report said fiscal impacts caused by COVID-19 will require further evaluation of Port District operational, capital and tenant improvement expenses for the FY20-21 Budget.

“Twenty seven percent of our monthly rent will be lost and never recoverable,” said Ventura Business Operations Manager Todd Mitchell at the April 1 meeting.

Mitchell said the port district anticipates continuing to receive about 44 percent of its monthly income through the pandemic and recovering 29 percent at the end of the year through the deferment payments.

“I just applaud the fact that the staff has been able to come together with a plan relatively quickly and we’re offering some relief to our tenants” said Commissioner Mike Blumenberg.

Ventura Port District General Manager Brian Pendleton also gave an update on operations due to COVID-19 at the April 1 meeting. He announced Ventura Harbor beaches and beach parking lots are closed, in support of the “Stay Well at Home” order and the notice by the city of Ventura on April 1, that all parks and beaches in the city be closed until further notice.

“We’re really looking at two major things right now, softening the curve and getting to the finish line sooner rather than later,” said Ventura Harbormaster John Higgins said at the April 1 meeting.

In a later update, the Ventura Port District shared news the public launch ramp facility and restrooms will be closed as of April 4. According to the district, the parking lot will only be available to commercial vessels and one-way trips by permit from the Harbor Patrol. Temporary no-cost permits can be obtained by contacting the Ventura Harbor Patrol at 805-642-8618. Any persons returning from a trip that departed from the harbor before the closure will be allowed to haul out and leave the area.

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