February 2024 Director’s Message

As we start the month of February, I am excited to share the latest update on our ongoing efforts to revitalize Fisherman’s Wharf, a property that holds immense significance for the Channel Islands Harbor.

To catch you up to speed, Robert Dahl, a Germany-based strawberry farmer and developer, entered into a 12-month Exclusive Right to Negotiate (ERN) period with the County of Ventura in April 2023. During this period, Dahl’s team has been working on a long-term lease agreement with the County, visited Fisherman’s Wharf several times, and has formulated a concrete concept for the site.

Dahl’s plan is to refurbish existing buildings and create new structures that may include an artisan market, a café and bakery, restaurants, shops, expanded promenades and bike paths, as well as a small hotel, playgrounds, park areas, and children’s rides.

Dahl’s team presented their refined concept at a series of workshops in January 2024 – marking the second time in under a year they have gathered community feedback through workshops. Since February 2023, Dahl’s team has held 23 public workshops to educate the public about the project and receive feedback.

In my 23 years of public service, I have never seen a developer make this type of effort to focus on transparency and public outreach when it comes to a proposed project. These workshops stand as a testament to the Harbor Department’s and Dahl’s commitment to inclusivity, collaboration, and ensuring that your voices help shape the future of our Harbor. Not only have I been impressed with the effort from the developer, but the outpouring of support the community has been giving this project at the workshops.

I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has attended the workshops. Your dedication to the future of our Harbor is truly commendable, and I am confident that, with your continued involvement, we will see the revitalization of Fisherman’s Wharf sooner than later.

Moving forward, Dahl’s team will assess the feedback of the workshops and adjust the project where feasible. In addition, Dahl will move forward with a review to evaluate the project’s potential environmental impacts. The Harbor Department plans to go back to the Board of Supervisors in April 2024 to either extend the ERN period (to allow for more environmental review) or have a lease-option in place for approval.

Thank you for being an integral part of the Channel Islands Harbor community. Together, let’s make February a month of continued collaboration and progress.

Michael Tripp, Director
Ventura County Harbor Department

Editor’s Note: this article was published on February 1, 2024.