Priorities of Title 17 Update Identified

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The sun rises over the moorings in Newport Harbor.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

Newport Beach Harbor Commissioner Bill Kenney announced Wednesday the key topics of review as the Commission works to update Title 17, the city’s harbor code.

During the Commission meeting, Kenney went over the general topics that the Harbor Commission’s subcommittee formed to review Policies, Codes, and Regulations, and “believe deserve priority attention as part of potential revisions to Title 17,” Kenney explained.

The topics are general in nature, he emphasized.

Top of the list, an item which a few commissioner agreed needed to take priority, was graywater.

“There is currently no language in Title 17 regarding dumping of graywater into the bay,” the staff report explains.

The subcommittee will consider establishing a definition for graywater, establishing circumstances when the discharge of graywater is allowed vs. restricted, and establishing consequence for non-compliance of such established standards. The subcommittee will review State and Federal requirements on this same topic area, to bring Harbor Code into alignment, if necessary.

Another topic that gets a lot of attention are live-aboard permits. Kenney explained that the subcommittee will review the current requirements and evaluate if they “appropriately address health, safety and welfare goals associated with this program.”

Specific areas of review may include: The overall number of permits issued (currently established at no more than seven percent of the number of off shore moorings issued by the city); establishing maximum number of approved live aboard individuals, per vessel, based on size; potentially requiring additional requirements to advance goals related to managing Harbor Pollution (such as requiring dye tablets, requiring use of commercial pump out service by live aboard boaters – with release of service records to the city, or contracted services by the city with costs incorporated into the permit.

Another general focus area will be moorings, Kenney noted. Topics under review related to moorings include: Extensions – Allow? And under what conditions?; transfers, pre-approved working boat transferred; and fees.

Other areas Kenney mentioned include: The number of allowable overnight stays for mooring permittees (those without live aboard status); the definition of “operable”; sub-permits; the appeals process; pump-out facilities; waste and refuse; sea lion deterrents; and Marine Activities Permits.

Several commissioners noted the detail of each priority item and thanked the subcommittee for its work so far.

The direction the update is going is very beneficial to the harbor, Commissioner John Drayton said.

Resident Jim Mosher noted that the entire organization of Title 17 is a “garbled and confused mess.” It needs major structural changes, he added.

“It seems the whole thing needs to be cut up and re-arranged,” Mosher said.

Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs emphasized that this process will take as long as necessary to gather public input.

“If we need more time, we’ll take it,” Jacobs said.

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