HC Meeting Synopsis 2015-03-23

[Editor’s notes look like this. –ed.]

Where someone may be referred to by last name only, no disrespect is intended; this is done merely for expediency.

HC meeting pledge of allegiance, request for comments.

92 people showed up for the meeting.

Commissioners Duncan McIntosh, Joe Stapleton, David Girling, Brad Avery, and City’s Shannon Levin, Chris Miller attended.

Chris Miller’s presentation frames discussion, recap of progress in previous two meetings to focus attention:

  • Transfers

    • Currently limited to 2 transfers before 2021,
    • Allow transfer into trust,
    • Allow transfer to immediate family
    • Could revert to unlimited transfers and open market
    • Could adopt Avalon approach: voluntary Internet disclosure
    • Could go auction, minimum bid, every few months
    • Other?
    • Transfer Fees

      • Current 50% of annual permit fee
      • Avalon 5% of selling price
    • Transfer Rules / Procedures

      • Process at HP
      • Suggestions to improve?
  • Mooring Permit Fees - What method, what baseline to use?

    • Basket of slip prices (marina index)
      • Currently 14% of marina basket slip fees
      • What if go to lower percentage, like 5%?
    • CPI approach for LA/R/OC
      • Where start? 1976? 1996? 2010?
    • Appraisal approach
      • Model after residential piers ... pick lower of two qualified appraisals, charge for mooring can / weight / chain, not for boat. It would be inconsistent to charge whole boat given that is not done for pier permit holders.
  • Mooring Rentals

    • Currently moorings rented by City, 100% goes to City tidelands / harbor fund, may loan to friend for limited duration with permission of HP. Loan not rent.
  • Mooring Rental Fees

    • Short vs Long term mooring rental fees
    • Seasonal rates ? Are rates too high? Daily rate, can pay days or week at a time? Long term rental at 'daily' rates too high?
  • Mooring wait list

    • Is it working?
    • Alternate solution?
  • Other

    • Dinghy rack storage

      • More dinghy racks at Marina Park, probably similar to those at BYB [NOTE: Those interested in dinghy rack at Marina Park, sign up for lottery with Harbor Resources by 2015-04-01! -ed.]
    • Public dock time frames / improvements

    • Vacancies

    • Liveaboards

    • Revocations

      • around July, Harbor Resources asks to revoke permit if unpaid
    • Insurance

      • is it required / how to enforce?

Commissioners’ comments on the topics:

Commissioner Avery

Brad Avery points out that the deal proposed must be fair to all parties, general public and permit holders combined.

Commissioner Girling

David Girling asks Carter about documents handed out...where from?

Girling comments he’s new to these issues, has fresh perspective. Fairness, accessibility, equitability all his goals. He’ll comment on transferability, rental, and fees.

Because of requirement to maintain tackle, likes idea of mooring dividend to permit holders…take some of rental income and divide by total number of mooring permits so permit holder gets a share of dividend.

Girling comments on State Lands question. Provide value back to tidelands equitably / fairly. But very unlikely that State Lands will actually come take away the bay.

Girling supports transferability, but must give back some value back to tidelands through transfer fee. Eliminate profiteering, give value back to tidelands. Girling says, current fee, $35, is not enough [He is misinformed, mooring transfer fee is 50% of annual permit fee -ed]. Girling proponent of free market and market rates. Thinks City needs to be involved in transfer process administration.

Girling does not see current $55 as a fair rate (too high) given lack of access here; likes CPI approach (as long as base rate is right).

Commissioner Stapleton

Joe Stapleton newcomer to issues, likes idea of doing what is fair and equitable. Does not have big problem with basket approach but maybe rate is too high. Supports completely abandoning waiting list. Saw moorings on Craigslist but felt the process is awkward, doesn’t know where they are. Supports concept of transfers and transfer fees. Supports concept of web site listing, single place to look. Wants to make moorings more accessible.

Commissioner McIntosh

Duncan McIntosh comments on transferability, likes free market system, unrestricted, hopes prices will not go to Avalon levels. Says maybe a cap? that will limit price increases to prevent Avalon pricing? Supports rolling back permit fee, likes $25 number. Supports transferability, likes idea of limiting number of moorings per person. Likes preserving transfer within family without going to market. Suggests dump waiting list. Suggests a web site to help buyers find sellers would help accessibility. Suggests returning increment of rental fee better to return to services for mooring permit holders, showers, work docks, etc.

Commissioner Avery

Avery notes commonalities, supports transferability, thinks transfer fees should be higher and City should be more engaged in transfer process to achieve higher transparency. Very committed to the concept that these are public permits [other public permits that trade between private individuals for money, with potential profit opportunity include commercial fishing permits, grazing permits, permits to use public broadcast frequencies, permits to drill for oil or gas on government land –ed]. Auction not preferred way to go. Put mooring for sale on City’s web site, so it’s available to all potential buyers. Likes idea that buyer and seller commit to divulging what is transfer price to public at time of sale. Feels this would take steam out of grand jury’s impetus. Doesn’t have a problem with CPI approach. Hard to find better approach. Rate of $25 seems about right. Tidelands fund needs to be supported by these fees…not going to beaches, but to harbor. This caters to Duffy’s project to split out harbor from other tidelands fees so there is better conception of expenses.

Avery points out that demand for dinghy dock improvements can drive to success if more people get involved with the public process, come to meetings, speak up. Council will turn around to HC and say, come up with proposals! Says HC has heard loud and clear from public through these meetings. Wants to reinforce public involvement in future Harbor Commission meetings.

Public Comments

Speaker 1) mentions handicap accessibility - anything? Handicap parking? - at public docks would be appreciated. Says life is tougher since the train ran over him (holds up his cane), any accommodation would be appreciated.

Speaker 2) mentions need to be able to transfer boat with mooring

Speaker 3 (Seymour Beek) comments about transferability. Transferability enables buyer to get a mooring conveniently located when needed as opposed to waiting list.

Speaker 4 (Tom O'Keefe) since 1942 family ties to Balboa Island. Asks again about the pricing structure and repeats his Proposition 218 question, that fee increase must be tied to increase in costs of providing the service. Chris says Proposition 218 does not apply. O'Keefe's opinion is that it applies to everything. Chris Miller says it’s rent, not bound by Prop. 218.

Speaker 5 (Nate Coleman) Pays $128/mo. Does not have to pay for mooring maintenance, has handy dinghy tie up…in San Diego. But here in Newport, dinghy is a big problem. No way to indicate mooring permit holders’ dinghies for storage? Avery speaks to concept of managing for benefit of all public. Avery says likely need more resources to handle management.

Speaker 6 comments that she has trouble connecting with people at HP.

Speaker 7 (Brian Ouzounian) requests ability to hold mooring title with or, as in Brian Ouzounian or (Nick Ouzounian) on mooring permit. Chris notes no transfer fee for transfers within family. Ouzounian asks for no transfer fee for within-trust transfers. Chris confirms also not currently a transfer fee for these. Ouzounian reinforces that there is not a set formula, says fee structure can be anything. Asks that currently due amount be postponed [In its 2015-02-11 meeting council advised City to continue with collection of already established mooring fees. -ed] Asks for 50% / 50% split with City on rental.

Speaker 8 (Steve O.(?), Balboa Island) mentions they have two moorings, one shore, one offshore, to raise consciousness of why someone might need more than one mooring.

Speaker 9 (Al Sandberg) Balboa Island resident since 1946, put in mooring in 1950s. Asks question on transferability, can he transfer to his trust without fee, and can he transfer to grandchild or to what level of family? Points out that registration on boat has to match registration on mooring, awkwardness of holding boat in trust, versus mooring in natural name. He let his son-in-law put Hobie on mooring, was notified by HP to remove it because registered name did not match mooring name. He will speak to Shannon for clarification on what means 2nd degree of consanguinity. [This is what that means -ed]

Speaker 10 shares comments from an acquaintance who made observation that it seemed to the acquaintance that many boats were really sketchy/abandoned looking…just placeholders. Are there many derelicts? Stapleton estimates about 12 real derelicts. Stapleton points out definition of ability to navigate to harbor mouth [aka line of demarcation -ed] and back.

Speaker 11 points out his transfer fee was not $35 but closer to $800. Shannon clarifies it is 50% of annual permit fee; earlier in presentation a Harbor Commissioner revealed he was unaware of transfer fee amount when he stated that transfer fee of $35 is inadequate (as though that was currently the transfer fee).

Speaker 12 (Jim Mahoney) notes permit fee is no longer on his water bill, but comes in one huge bill, asks when is it due, and could it be billed bimonthly instead of once huge assessment in January. Notes that he can only lend out his mooring for 60 days. Offers to operate a shore boat.

Avery thanks people for comments, directs conversation back to transfers.

Notes consensus for unlimited transfers but pay transfer fee. Support for free transfers into trust, free transfers to family - what is family? To 2nd level of consanguinity. See above.

Concept of natural person because of need to find responsible person…for instance, boat leaking oil? Sinking? HP needs to be able to promptly locate / talk with that person.

More discussion of whether mooring title could be held with the or as in Albert or John Sandberg etc? Carter Ford suggests back up phone number might be good to help solve problem of contacting (some responsible / related party if cannot reach) mooring permit holder in event of emergency. Woman points out that she pays part of mooring fee, would like to have her name shown too since she helps pay for it. Gentleman asks question about inspection letter for mooring when falls around time of transfer…how does he know inspection has or has not been done.

Speaker suggests a document fee would be reasonable to charge on every transfer. Woman asks what is the value of a mooring. Avery remarks the permit itself has a value as well as the tackle.

McIntosh notes 30,000 residences in Newport Beach, McIntosh asks that the bill could be spread out over months for non-residents as it is for residents. Option (not requirement) to pay in full or make payments would be nice and probably can be done. One speaker comments he wouldn’t want this…his wife would see lots of mooring charges and would make him sell!

Avery asks what should transfer fees be?

Carter Ford mentions old fee was 1.20 per foot of boat transferred. Five years ago (2010 adopted code as well as 2009 MMPSC proposed code) the fee was changed to 50% of permit fee. Another speaker supports 25% of annual fee. Dan Gribble says the purpose of collecting fees is to maintain tidelands. Excessive fees serve no purpose, idea is to return value to harbor. Return of value as a principle as opposed to a set number. Not possible to point to a budgetary amount required, because we don’t (yet) have an established budget to maintain the harbor independent of the tidelands. Until Duffy started pushing for bifurcation of harbor expenses from general tidelands expenses, we haven’t had access to separate numbers. Avery says City may need to bring on more people to manage tidelands better. Girling comments that he read of concept of returning value to the public, not necessarily that the return needs to fully cover maintaining tidelands. Ouzounian comments what is the minimum that could be charged to serve that purpose. Maybe need a cost of services study to come up with the costs to cover the service?

Patricia comments that the fees mooring holders pay, both annual and transfer along with the revenue the City makes renting the vacant moorings represent a significant contribution to the Tidelands fund. If you refer to slides 9 & 10 on the PowerPoint presentation you can see mooring contributions exceed all other Tidelands users’ based on estimates and the information available. Any fees charges should be fair for all users using the Tidelands for the same purpose, i.e. boat storage. Based on this comparison, an annual fee of $25 per linear foot is reasonable. Another speaker remarks that moorings already contribute to returning value to public before any fee is charged. Speaker says fairness to public at large is a key, he supports 50% of annual permit fee.

Scott Karlin speaks on concept of giving back to public. Mooring permit holders give back three ways: through transfer fees, permit fees, and providing safe navigation-use of unused mooring in time of need and to visiting boats. This last public benefit is realized through the City's rental of unused moorings which are maintained and equipped by the mooring permit holders at their own expense. In giving back in these three ways, mooring permit holders give back three times more to the public than other types of permit holders, as such, there should be no concern about any governmental agency questioning the suggested new proposals.

Compare to other permit holders who only give back with one permit fee. Compare to oil/gas permittees, TV & radio permit holders, all of which are also public permits giving private individuals exclusive preferential access to public assets, where the permits, in each case, transfer for money and there is potential for profit.

What about mooring rentals?

Ouzounian asks for 50%/50% on mooring rental income. Stapleton points out that location of mooring is so critical, some people will see windfall, others no. Stapleton supports sending dividend back to services for permit holders. Speaker thinks permit holders able to drive rentals would increase rental income for City. Brad has a problem with profiting from tidelands [because of private profit from public asset, has not recognized similarities found elsewhere such as from private individuals who use commercial fishing licenses for profit, oil and gas producers who use permits to explore public lands for profit, or broadcasters who earn millions of dollars per minute from public airwaves. In each of these cases, obligation is to return value to public. Moorings meet the test three ways, points out Karlin, compared to many other permit holders who return value to public in fewer ways. –ed]

City can charge higher rate to dock owner who rents out own slips. Chris says you have to pay small commercial marina rate to rent own slip. Ouzounian asks why can’t City do the mooring maintenance? Avery cites liability. Chuck South points out that HP rents moorings, but permit holder gets shafted when the tackle gets ruined. Chuck says the car rental companies take a look at the car when you return it, why can't the HP look at moorings after rental? Chuck says there’s no way for permit holders to get made whole after mooring is trashed by someone else. He’d like to see permit holders get reimbursed.

Transfer rules and procedures

(My notes weak here)


Some support for it. Brad points out that people should have boats covered to protect public. A challenge to administer.


Carter Ford provides answers to Girling’s earlier question about source of the documents distributed at the meeting and holds up each document:

  • Draft - April 27, 2009 - Ordinance Developed by Mooring Master Plan Subcommittee, with City Staff and approved by Harbor Commission, to answer all concerns of the management of moorings in Newport Beach. Is complete and could be adopted today, with any desired edits incorporated. (13 pages)

The following documents that were distributed were created by Newport Mooring Association Board and NMA Members and vetted collectively.

Meeting ended. Next Meeting Tuesday, April 7th, 6:00PM to 8:00PM, same place, City Hall, Community Room, across from City Council Chambers

2 thoughts on “HC Meeting Synopsis 2015-03-23

  1. F . J. LeydenF . J. Leyden


    • After I purchased my mooring I learned that the seller concealed how many times my mooring had transferred before selling to me. I discovered I would not be able to sell it and that I was only able to transfer it to a family member! I was very unhappy about that purchase from that other mooring owner and not being told beforehand. There is nothing I can do now, as I paid, so I set up a trust. I support return to transferability.
    • I now read that maybe it could revert to unlimited transfers which I hope does come to pass, with an open market for all the mooring owners. That at least is a fair way each and every owner can transfer of his or her ownership of this personal property and should be treated as such.
    • That appraisals of value charge for “mooring can / weight / chain”, not for boat. That’s a good and fair way; it would be inconsistent to charge the whole boat given that is not done for pier permit holders.
    • May loan to friend for limited duration with permission of HP; loan not rent. I concur that’s a fair way to have that done providing that the loanee meets all requirements set forth in the mooring rules. That is good and useful to encourage visitors to Newport Harbor.
    • Mooring fees and the chain repair cost are way too high. These should revert back to previous levels similar to 7 years ago to make it reasonable. As it seems that is this just another way to reach into the pockets of the mooring owners once again. Reason behind this statement is that when I have added the cost of mooring and the chain repair cost, I see that marina dock monthly charges would be now about the same cost that I am paying for now as a mooring owner.
    • Thanks for hearing me out and I do hope that some things will change for the better in the future, Have a great day.
  2. DavidDavid

    W-009Thank you for this excellent summary! As my work schedule does not allow me to attend these meetings, I am delighted that you have taken the time to keep me informed.

    I strongly support unlimited transferability.

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