Tidelands committee holds its first meeting

Newport Beach's Tidelands Management Committee announced Wednesday during its first meeting that it is seeking applicants for its citizen's advisory panel.

The non-voting citizen's panel could consist of up to seven members who live or work in Newport Beach, and one would be a member of the city's Harbor Commission. Members would serve staggered two-year terms.

The management committee — made up of City Council members Ed Selich, Mike Henn and Nancy Gardner — also discussed the city's proposed harbor fund, which needs approval from the State Lands Commission. The commission is expected to approve the harbor fund as part of its consent calendar Friday, staff members told the committee. The harbor fund would pay for capital improvements within the harbor. Dock rent increases passed last year after much debate would go into that fund. The vote had previously been postponed.

The state's only stipulation is that if there is a loan from the general fund to the harbor fund in excess of $1 million, the State Lands Commission be notified in advance, City Councilman Mike Henn said.

Bob McCaffrey, the chairman of the Stop the Dock Tax Group and the Newport Beach Dock Owners Assn., sent Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom a letter Wednesday asking him to reject the request to establish the harbor fund, saying that the city has mismanaged tidelands funds.

Henn said at the beginning of the meeting that the newly revived committee would be subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act, California's open-meeting law, while a previous incarnation of the committee was not. The previous tidelands committee was an ad hoc committee created in 2011.

The committee meets quarterly. The next scheduled meeting is at 4 p.m. Sept. 18.


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