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Mailbag:

Please delay proposed ordinance

April 04, 2009

Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to the Newport Beach City Council.

On behalf of others and myself I am contacting you and the other members of the council to address our concerns regarding your new ordinance regulating the anchorage in the Pacific Ocean off Corona del Mar Beach. Most of us were unable to attend in person the meetings you held on this matter. We are addressing our concerns first to you with the hope that this matter can be resolved quickly.

I, a small group of local cruising sailors, and potentially an innumerable amount of national and international sailors are about to be severely impacted by your new ordinance. This ordinance stipulates, among other things, that no vessel may anchor there for more than 72 hours within a 30-day period and that the vessel must be continuously occupied with the exception of one three-hour shore leave per day.

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These limitations place impossible burdens on someone anchored out. Seventy-two hours is clearly not enough time to wait for an engine part to arrive, or for the weather to clear, or for scheduling maintenance specialists, or to just enjoy the locale for an extended time, or even a for a trip to Palm Springs, etc. And what about the three-hour shore leave? It can take over an hour just for transportation from the anchorage to the dock and back. One can do very little in the two remaining hours, especially if you need to use public transportation. Souvenir shopping, lunch with an old friend, doctor’s appointments, etc., would be out of the question.

These are just a few of the many burdens that these arbitrary time limits can impose. But there are also more important issues involved here, issues involving our rights as American citizens. This ordinance would perfectly suit someone with a “yacht” and a high-powered dinghy that can shuttle its three-day weekend visitors back and forth to the dock for beer runs, but it discriminates against those who do not use the anchorage that way. Most of us either paddle, row, or motor ashore in a dingy with minimal power.

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