Commission: Harbor Code Update Needs More Review

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Harbormaster Kurt Borsting (right) and Harbor Service Worker Lead Ned Lyon talk to a visiting boater staying in the city’s anchorage during a patrol of Newport Harbor on April 10.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

The Newport Beach Harbor Commission considered proposed changes to Title 17, the Harbor Code, on Wednesday, but due to some “fairly significant modifications” made by the city’s legal department, Commissioners agreed to postpone the item for more review.

Staff requested further direction from the Commission, before sending it back to the ad hoc committee for further review and “clean-up,” explained Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs.

They’ve done a lot of hard work on this and she wants to make sure it’s right, Jacobs said.

The ad hoc committee members were ready to approve it after their last meeting in July, said Commissioner Bill Kenney. But, because of some “fairly significant modifications” made by the city’s legal team, they didn’t feel as comfortable recommending it move forward on Wednesday as they previously did.

“Some of the modifications are simply not acceptable to me,” Kenney said.

The ad hoc committee members didn’t know about the changes until the Commission agenda was made public, Kenney noted.

The sections discussed Wednesday covered live-aboards, sanitation, harbor development permits, dredging permits, harbor permits and leases, appeals, and enforcement.

Much of the conversation revolved around verifying live-aboard discharge logs, which both Commissioners and audience members agreed should be on a case to case basis reviewed by the Harbormaster.

“We (all) want a clean bay,” said Herman Coomans. “We, live-aboards, have the most to lose (by not keeping it clean), it’s our home.”

Jacobs suggested that they slow the process down in order to allow more community input. They also need to clarify some language, she added.

Harbor Commission will now review the entire code and proposed changes at an upcoming meeting, likely Oct. 9. It will then head to City Council for final approval.

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