May 2023 Director’s Message

May 2023 is a pivotal month for development and Ventura County Harbor Department personnel updates at the Channel Islands Harbor.

First, I would like announce Andy Werner has earned the position of Harbormaster at the Harbor Department following the retirement of Gary Hirtensteiner earlier this year.

Andy Werner started his career with the Harbor Department in 2005 and has been in the position of Harbor Captain since January 2021. Andy has been a tremendous asset to the Harbor Department and I know he will continue to be a valuable source of knowledge and expertise for years to come. Andy’s promotion was effective April 30, 2023. As the Harbormaster, Andy will be responsible for overseeing operations for the Ventura County Harbor Patrol and Harbor Department maintenance staff, in addition to a long list of other duties. The Harbormaster is a critical position and Andy is well qualified for this leadership role.

One member of Andy’s Harbor Patrol team also received a promotion in April 2023. I would like to congratulate Chris Turek on his recent promotion from Harbor Patrol Officer to Harbor Patrol Sergeant. Sergeant Turek has served more than 13 years as a Patrol Officer and brings a lifetime of boating experience including his enlisted time with the United States Coast Guard. I have no doubt that he will excel in this new role and continue to make valuable contributions.

Harbor Development Updates

There are two exciting updates on the development front regarding Fisherman’s Wharf and the property that used to be home to the Casa Sirena Hotel and Lobster Trap Restaurant.

At its April 25, 2023 meeting, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved and authorized the Harbor Department to enter an Exclusive Right to Negotiate (ERN) with Robert Dahl, a developer and entrepreneur. Dahl is seeking to revitalize Fisherman’s Wharf with a number of visitor-serving amenities that include restaurants, a specialty market, gift shops, a coffee shop, public promenades, playgrounds, park areas, and more.

The ERN allows Dahl’s development team the time to form its own ownership entity, begin design and construction analysis, work with the community to gather more feedback regarding features of the project, and secure funding and negotiate terms of a long-term lease agreement with the County. At the end of the ERN period, Dahl’s team should have a specific project plan to present to the Harbor Department, Board of Supervisors and California Coastal Commission for approval.

While the redevelopment of the Fisherman’s Wharf parcel is in the early stages, the property that was home to the Casa Sirena Hotel and Lobster Trap Restaurant is further along.

New rocks are being placed on the east end of the Harbor’s peninsula as part of an effort to replace the revetment. It appears that the west side of the peninsula on the main channel is mostly complete. The east end of the peninsula is also close to being finished. We expect the revetment project to be finished by the end of the month, weather permitting, and construction on a new waterfront hotel, a Hyatt House, to begin shortly thereafter.

Michael Tripp, Director
Ventura County Harbor Department 

Editor’s Note: this message was published on May 2, 2023.