Holland, Newport Beach reach agreement on ship project

The shipwright will have to disassemble the 72-foot vintage ketch from the front of his Holiday Road home and rebuild it in his backyard.

April 28, 2012|By Mike Reicher

Newport Beach officials and shipwright Dennis Holland came to an agreement Friday that, if approved by a judge, will allow him to keep restoring his 1916 wooden ship at his West Bay home.

As long as Holland moves the Shawnee out of public view and follows the city's construction laws, he can rebuild the vintage ketch there, according to a statement by the city attorney's office.

The agreement may end a protracted legal battle between Holland, the city and neighbors who contend the restoration has no place on their block. Holland now has four months to disassemble the ship, which is visible from his street. He then plans to rebuild it in his backyard.


"The boat will be saved and that's what we all wanted," Holland said Saturday. "This is a way out for everybody."

As a part of the settlement, Holland admitted that he was violating a 2009 city law intended to keep such construction projects out of residential neighborhoods. City officials sued Holland last year, and Superior Court Judge Gregory Munoz ordered in March that he move the boat by Monday or face steep fines and jail time.

Holland had already racked up thousands of dollars in fines, but city officials agreed to dismiss them, he said, as part of the agreement.

If the terms are approved, City Attorney Aaron C. Harp said in a statement, "the [city] will achieve its goal and Mr. Holland will be able to keep his boat… This judgment will help to restore the residential character of this neighborhood."

Also, Holland agreed to drop his counter suit against the city.

Holland plans to disassemble the wooden boat, lay out its parts in the sideyard where it sits now, clean the parts and re-build the Shawnee in his back yard. Holland said it would be at least 18 months after he finishes deconstruction before he could begin to re-build.

The 72-foot ship's bow juts out from his Holiday Road home today, drawing attention from passers by. Holland said he will open his home on special days so people can still come check on the boat's progress.

The city's news release said that based on local laws, Holland would probably not be able to finish the restoration there, although it did not offer any specifics. On Saturday, Holland said that wasn't his understanding, and that he planned to finish the project there and lift it out with a crane when complete.

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