Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Harbor Report: Preparing questions for harbor meeting and cruise

Balboa Ferry Special Harbor Commission meeting November 15, 2014

By Len Bose
October 31, 2014 | 2:41 p.m.

I have written about the Harbor Commission special meeting set for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 15.
It will convene in a conference room in the Harbor Patrol facility at 1901 Bayside Drive and then be moved to one of the Balboa ferries waiting at the Harbor Patrol visitor's dock for a tour of the harbor.
Copies of the route with waypoints to be called out on the tour can be found on my blog site, Commissioners will address the waypoints on which they are most well versed. The ferry has a capacity limit, and guests will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
In an effort to familiarize you with the waypoints, I thought I would take the time to share my observations, concerns and the questions I will be asking at the different waypoints during the harbor tour.
We will start at the Harbor Patrol Office. Let's hope Deputy Sean Scoles attends this meeting because he is easy to approach, loves the harbor and does an outstanding job.
I would ask Scoles: 1. What is his definition of a derelict boat? 2. How does the mooring waiting list work? 3. Can people pass on a permit if they do not like the location, and how many times can they play the pass card? 4. Can two mooring permit holders trade permits to obtain a more usable location for themselves? 5. How did the VTIP program work this year for our harbor? 6. How many boats can a mooring permit holder keep tied to a mooring at one time?
Most of these questions relate to city codes or policies, but this will be a good chance to hear how these two departments define them.
Assuming we head over to the M Street public pier first, I would have to ask an attending council member if the city has received and filed the recommendations made by the Harbor Commission last year regarding public piers. For example, have the park rangers enforced the rules, optimized the available space and considered the Adopt-a-Dock program? To be fair, the Harbor Resource Department has made improvements to the public docks this year by replacing benches and walkways.
It would be interesting if we then could go out of the harbor entrance and over to Big Corona to discuss that area as an alternative place for day moorings and, at the same time, do a quick overview of a tidal gate.
I should just stay on track and, as the ferry moves down the Balboa Peninsula toward the Fun Zone, point out what I see as a derelict vessel and see if it fits Scoles' definition of a derelict boat.
Next up will be the Balboa Ferry Landing, and I assume we will talk about sea-level rise. This will be a good time to ask Harbor Resource Manager Chris Miller where our harbor's data points are so we can observe them ourselves during the upcoming king tides this winter.
We will then go past Bay Island to view the new bulkheads/seawalls. At this time, the water is ebbing and the harbor is almost at low tide. What you should notice is how the steel wall was finished, and there should be little residue from the retreating tide line. The bulkhead cap will be noticed along with the expense of changing the docks to meet the new height of the seawall.
Continuing up the Balboa Peninsula and just about at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, we will come to the waypoint RGP 54. Miller and Commissioner Doug West will lead this topic, which regards dredging and eelgrass mitigation permits.
From my point of view, these guys are staying on task and are the best people for the job — although I will ask if the Coastal Commission considers the upper bay's eelgrass as part of the lower bay's eelgrass percentage for the whole harbor.
Interesting stuff, huh? We are barely halfway around the harbor. Please place Nov. 15 on your calendar and attend this meeting. Next week, I will review the rest of the harbor with you.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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