The fate of plans for a second public anchorage in Newport Harbor remains uncertain as commissioners debate the necessity of the project.
The Harbor Commission voted in November to have an ad hoc committee review the trial run of a temporary anchorage provided in 2015 and return with a recommendation on how to proceed.
"The commission reviewed the anchorage trial and thought it went well but was hesitant to make any recommendation" to the City Council, said Harbor Resources Manager Chris Miller.
In July, the City Council approved a 4.85-acre area in the turning basin west of Lido Isle, where visiting boats could drop anchor from August to October.
The other public anchorage, which also provides free space for boaters who want to visit for five days or less, is between the eastern tip of Lido Isle and the west side of Bay Island.
In an effort to ease crowding during the busy summer boating season, the Harbor Commission had recommended earlier in the year that the city test a second anchorage.
During the commission's November meeting, some members weren't convinced there was enough demand to warrant a second permanent area.
Miller said the space was "lightly used" during the trial.
"It wasn't wildly popular, but people were using it," he said.
Early this year, the commission could consider another trial to test demand for a second anchorage. It also could decide to create another permanent anchorage immediately, or to not do it at all, Miller said.
This isn't the first time an anchorage area has been attempted in the turning basin. In 2012, when the city was dredging portions of the bay, the existing visitor anchorage was moved to the area west of Lido Isle.
Several Lido Isle residents complained to the council that the 2012 trial resulted in loud music, partying and boats drifting from the anchorage area and crashing into docks.
In a letter to the Harbor Commission, resident Pam Whitesides said she didn't favor a permanent anchorage.
"There doesn't seem to be a need for it or the disruption it causes to the other harbor users," she wrote.