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City likely to remove boat from yard

With the deadline passed and the owner ill, court may appoint someone to do the work.

September 13, 2012|By Mike Reicher

Another deadline has passed in the legal saga of Dennis Holland, the boat builder restoring a historic 1916 sailboat in his sideyard.

Another, more serious one, may loom ahead.

After Holland, 67, missed the Aug. 30 date to disassemble the Shawnee, Newport Beach city attorneys this week requested Orange County Superior Court appoint a receiver and remove the boat from Holland's Holiday Road property.

While this appears to bring the restoration close to its end, Holland remains optimistic. He is, after all, a cancer survivor.

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Holland's prostate cancer was in remission until August, when it flared and he was admitted to Hoag Hospital, he said.

Since then, he has undergone chemotherapy at home, and has been too weak to tend to the 72-foot ketch.

In coming days, Holland said he will finish his latest treatment and plans to begin work again. But he may not have enough of the boat disassembled by the Oct. 11 hearing, when he will try to convince a judge to grant him more time.

"If I could just slowly work up to it, it would be great," Holland said Thursday.

City attorneys say he has had enough time.

Holland began the project in 2006, and in 2010 the city passed an ordinance that requires permits for such long-term construction projects. He applied for and received a permit, but because Holland wouldn't give the city an estimated completion date, the permit was not renewed.

Meanwhile, neighbors and city officials grew increasingly tired of the half-built wooden ship in the West Bay residential neighborhood. Boat lovers, though, came from around the country to his support his cause.

The city sued Holland last year, and the two parties reached a settlement in April, just before a court injunction would have forced him to remove the boat.

Since then, Holland said he worked on the boat for about five weeks, but had to stop for chemotherapy.

He says he wrote the city attorney and asked for an extension, but never received a response. City Atty. Aaron Harp says he does not know if the city received a request.

The city sent a code enforcement officer to Holland's home Sept. 4, took photos of the boat, and filed a motion later that day.

"Mr. Holland does not appear to have the will or ability to remove the boat," Harp wrote in an email, "so we are asking the court to appoint someone to manage the removal for him."

The city's preferred receiver is Mark Adams, who according to the motion, has been a receiver for 65 "dilapidated properties," including "pack rat properties."

mike.reicher@latimes.com

Twitter: @mreicher

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