By Len Bose
July 11, 2013 | 4:50 p.m.
I attended this month's Harbor Commission meeting last Wednesday night and thought it might be a good time to update everyone on what's going on in the harbor.
My good friend Doug West's term as chairman ended Wednesday night, and before he gave up the gavel, he reviewed his term and the tasks that the commission has engaged in this year. Doug then went through the list of tasks under the commission's objectives of "Ensuring the longterm welfare of Newport Harbor and promoting Newport Harbor as a preferred and welcoming destination." The commission has made great strides in obtaining a usable RGP 54 dredging permit that is due to be issued April 1, 2014. Progress has been made in monitoring our guest docks and finding new locations for future ones. Huge strides have been made in developing recommendations for the highest and best public use of the Lower Castaways.
One particular city watchdog, who attends every public meeting, gave praise to Doug's effort and stated that this commission is the most organized committee of all the ones he attends. He then gave praise to Doug for all of his hard work.
What I have observed is how Doug has reopened the line of communication between the different city, county and state agencies. In the past, I would observe the commission work through its agenda and make its recommendations, and no one was listening. Now the City Council is receiving detailed presentations of the commission's recommendations and using this information to make decisions. The county's Harbor Patrol has been kept in the loop and has a better understanding of what codes have the attention of the commission. In turn, the commission has a better understanding of the Harbor Patrol and the type of responses it is making. There has been some great improvement along lines of communication. I hope that the past commissioners do not object to my comments. I just feel that over time, the system has gotten better and all of their hard work has not been forgotten.
Our new chairman is Duncan McIntosh, vice chairman is Brad Avery, and secretary is Paul Blank. Doug, Karen Rhyne, David Girling and Joseph Stapleton round out the rest of the Harbor Commission. For the abbreviated task assignments of the harbor commissioners, please go to my blog site at lenboseyachts.blogspot.com.
Under Long Term Welfare of the Harbor:
- Maintenance dredging of private docks and harbor. (West, McIntosh, Avery)
- Recommendations for best use of the Lower Castaways ( Avery, Girling, Rhyne)
- Boat Overhang issues. ( Rhyne, TBD)
- Harbor Codes, Speed limits, Derelict vessels. ( West, Avery)
- Boating Education. ( Blank, TBD)
- Maintain water-related Business on the harbor. ( Blank, TBD)
- Public outreach. (Girling, Avery)
- Alternative Moorings solutions ( Avery, TBD)
Promoting Newport Harbor:
- Collaborate with Visit Newport Beach. (Blank, Girling, West)
- Public anchorage alternatives. (West, Avery)
- Public Piers. (Girling, Blank)
The reason I report all this boring information to you is to remind you that you can make a difference. At this last week's meeting, my old idea of a marine recycling center was placed back on the table and could just happen in the Lower Castaways. I am promoting the need for a commercial launch ramp at the Lower Castaways and informed Girling of the state's grant application for new launch ramps.
So if you don't want that second public anchorage in the turning basin, more huge charter boats in the bay, sailboat racing sound signals and angry charter fishing captains racing through the sabot classes, you are going to have to contact your commissioners, attend the harbor meetings, talk to the Harbor Patrol and keep contacting me with your observations. Bring your ideas for improving the harbor and, every so often, thank your Harbor Commission, Harbor Patrol and Harbor Resources Division for a job well done.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.