HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  This is always a great time of the year to be on and about the Harbor and waterfront.  It is heart-warming to see all of the Holiday lights and decorations on the boats in the Harbor and on the homes and businesses surrounding the Harbor.  Being on the water, there is the added dimension with the reflection on the water which doubles the effect.  While we do need to be cognizant of our personal responsibility to fight the virus, let’s do all we can to safely celebrate and enjoy the Holidays.

Harbor Activities

Even though most Harbor activities were cancelled to avoid crowds because of the virus, the Harbor Department is teaming up with the Harbor & Beach Community Alliance to spread Holiday cheer on the day of the cancelled Parade of Lights.  On December 12, we will be hosting the first Holiday Food & Toy Drive from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fisherman’s Wharf.  This Holiday Food & Toy Drive will be a drive-through and drop-off event, which will benefit Food Share of Ventura County and the Spark of Love Toy Drive, an annual effort coordinated by local fire departments.  There is so much need in our City and County, which has been significantly exacerbated by the virus, so please give if you can this Holiday season, and this event is a perfect way to give to those less fortunate in our area.

Harbor Visioning

The Harbor Visioning Process is moving quickly towards a public virtual forum, which has been scheduled for January 20, 2021, beginning at 6 p.m.  As I reported last month, our early effort has gone into discussing and designing ways to more easily move in and around the Harbor without the use of a personal vehicle.  This is imperative because the objective is to make it easy to visit more than one Harbor attraction/retail establishment without the need to utilize a personal vehicle.  As our consultant puts it, once visitors need to get in their vehicle, they are as prone to leave the Harbor as to visit another Harbor establishment.

We have also been discussing the “meat and potatoes” of the visioning process – what should be done with those parcels which are not yet developed or are under short-term leases and need to be redeveloped (“developable parcels”).  They include:

  • The Fisherman’s Wharf parcels
  • The Anacapa Boat Yard parcel
  • The boat storage parcel on Victoria Avenue
  • The Channel Islands Sportfishing parcels
  • A small undeveloped parcel at the end of Peninsula Road
  • The undeveloped parcel between Harbor Landing and the Marine Emporium Landing
  • The Whale’s Tail parcel

The remaining parcels in the Harbor are currently under long-term leases or the development plans are already set, such as the Hyatt House Hotel development.  These seven areas represent a significant portion of the Harbor, and a significant opportunity to “vision” development at those areas to improve the attractiveness and economic success of the Harbor, while complementing the existing Harbor establishments so that the Channel Islands Harbor becomes the place to want to visit and tell friends about.

The Steering Committee has come up with innovative and interesting development ideas for the developable parcels, and will continue to discuss these ideas before the public forum in January.  The “visions” will be made public at the forum, and then there will be an opportunity to provide input to ensure that the vision we move forward for development reflects the desires of those residents and businesses in the Harbor and County as a whole.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays, and as always, live every day to the fullest.

Mark Sandoval, Harbor Director
Ventura County Harbor Department

Editor's Note: this story was published on December 3, 2020.