October marks my one-year anniversary as Harbor Director for the Ventura County Harbor Department! It’s been an amazing year, where I got to meet a lot of great people and hear about what they would like to see in the Harbor. I get asked a lot about what’s going to happen next with various parcels, so here is an update on harbor planning and development.
The Harbor Department issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in May 2022 to redevelop the Fisherman’s Wharf parcel. The process was closed in July 2022, with three applicants being selected for further consideration. On September 19, 2022, the Harbor Department hosted a public workshop at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. The purpose of the workshop was to allow the three RFP applicants to present their proposals to the public and gather feedback. More than 225 people attended the workshop and another 217 people watched a livestream on YouTube. As of today, a total of 333 people has responded to a post-workshop survey we emailed out and posted on www.channelislandsharbor.org. The Harbor Department is accepting comments regarding the proposals up until October 3, 2022. If you would like to weigh in on each proposal, please click on this link.
The comments will be considered by the Harbor Department and provided to the RFP applicants. The applicants will have the opportunity to make modifications to their proposals. Once the revised proposals are received, the Harbor Department may recommend to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to enter into an Exclusive Right to Negotiate (ERN) with one of the applicants. It is also possible that none of the proposals will be selected.
Whale’s Tail Parcel
We have entered into the ERN stage with a developer for the parcel where the Whale’s Tail restaurant is located. On September 20th, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors provided the Harbor Department the authority to enter into an ERN with the selected developers. They want to perform a major remodel of the existing building at the site and relaunch it as “The Whale’s Tail Restaurant.” The developers have extensive knowledge of the restaurant industry from their decades of restaurant experience. They have opened, owned, and operated many different restaurants, including fast food, casual and fine dining. To learn more, click on this link.
Casa Sirena & Lobster Trap Parcel
Earlier this year the Harbor Department sent out a Request for Bids to repair the revetment around Peninsula Road. This project is necessary for the Hyatt House Hotel, and new Peninsula Anchorage projects to move forward. Bidding for the project closed in August 2022. The Harbor Department will recommend to the Board of Supervisors to award a contract to a construction company to complete the project. We anticipate the project being complete in Spring 2023, weather permitting.
While these major projects are a top priority, I would also like to mention that the Harbor Department is also adding several small visitor-serving amenities around the Harbor. In September, we added viewing binoculars on the south jetty at Silver Strand Beach. Before our maintenance team could install the binoculars, the community members and visitors were enthusiastically lining up to use them. If these binoculars are well received and used, we are considering adding more around the Harbor.
One more amenity we will be adding soon are cutout boards where visitors can put their faces in to take pictures. We have been working with a local artist to have the cutouts made and will be installing them soon.
In closing, I would like to thank the community for reaching out this past year and making me feel welcome. Just as important, I would like to thank Harbor Department staff for their hard work in making the Channel Islands Harbor a great place to live, dine, and recreate.
Michael Tripp, Director
Ventura County Harbor Department
Editor’s Note: this message was published on September 30, 2022.