Director’s Message: Harbor Patrol, Planning & Development Updates

This month my message is tinged with sadness.  Not only is summer behind us, but the start of September met us with a horrific tragedy in our waters.  The Conception dive boat accident reminded us that life can be short, and we should value the time we have.  While the County of Santa Barbara took quick control of the situation, our staff played a big part in the initial response.  We have a County-operated fireboat in the Channel Islands Harbor, and this boat is operated jointly by the Harbor Department and the Fire Department.  When the call came in, our on-duty Harbor Patrol Officer, Eric Woodmansee, immediately reported to the fireboat and started warming the engine and readying the vessel.   As soon as the fire staff arrived, Eric captained the vessel to the fire scene through almost zero visibility conditions.  It was Eric’s job to maneuver the vessel while the fire staff fought and extinguished the fire.  We should hold the victims in our thoughts and prayers, and also thank the first responders for the stellar job they did.

For a summary of the County of Ventura’s response, listen to Chief Executive Officer Michael Powers’ recap at a September Board of Supervisors meeting.

County Executive Officer Mike Powers recognizes the crucial role Ventura County agencies and departments played in the response to the Conception dive boat fire on Labor Day.

County Executive Officer Mike Powers recognizes the crucial role Ventura County agencies and departments played in the response to the Conception dive boat fire on Labor Day. Ventura County Harbor Patrol Ventura County Fire Department Ventura County Health Care Agency Ventura County Sheriff's Office – Official Page

Posted by County of Ventura on Thursday, September 12, 2019

Harbor Patrol Launches Facebook Page

On a positive note, we have launched a Facebook page for the Harbor Patrol. Harbor Patrol will be using Facebook in order to increase awareness on boating education, public safety campaigns, Harbor Patrol rescues and enforcement issues, and provide critical weather information and hazardous conditions (pollution, storms, etc.) to the general public, boating community, tourists and media. Give the Harbor Patrol page a follow to gain critical info about the Harbor and take a behind the scenes look at their day-to-day operations.

Planning & Development in the Harbor

I do have updates on the development front, but not all of it is positive.  The negotiations for the Whale’s Tail restaurant site have terminated, and we are once again seeking a developer/operator for that restaurant.  We have received queries regarding alternative uses, but at this time I believe a quality restaurant is what is needed at that site.   We are beginning the process of searching for an operator for this great waterfront location.

The peninsula projects have also hit a minor snag.  We were anticipating the start of demolition of the Casa Sirena Hotel in October, but the project has languished so long that the project is subject to a new building code, and the plans must be redrawn to meet the new code.  These changes will delay the demolition up to six months, and add significant cost to the development.  These changes relate primarily to energy efficiencies, and the developer has agreed to the added costs and is currently working to change the plans.  Unfortunately, this pushes the start of the project to March or April of 2020.

Fisherman’s Wharf continues to move through the City of Oxnard process.  As reported last month, the Planning Commission recommended denial of the project, and the next step is a hearing with the Oxnard City Council.  That hearing was scheduled for October 7, but we asked for a postponement so we can spend more time working with our planning consultant to evaluate how the retail in the Harbor will all fit together.

Along those lines of Harbor development, the next “visioning” meeting will be held Thursday, October 24 at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club.  We will include potential development throughout the Harbor, including the parcel along Harbor Boulevard known as X-3, the small parcel at the end of Peninsula Road, and the parcels along Victoria Avenue which we discussed at the first visioning meeting.  Since all of the retail and commercial areas in the Harbor will impact each other, positively and possibly negatively, our planning consultant has convinced me that we should at least “vision” all of the developable parcels together, which is what we will do on October 24. Please click on this link to preregister for the workshop. I look forward to seeing what comes out of this process.

As always, live every day to the fullest.

Mark Sandoval, Harbor Director
Ventura County Harbor Department

Editor’s Note: this story was published Sept. 30, 2019.