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Mayor proposes new moorings, water taxis

Mayor proposes new moorings, water taxis
Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill waves to those in attendance at the 33rd annual Mayor’s Dinner, hosted Friday by Speak Up Newport at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa.
(David Kawashima)

Modern boat moorings, on-demand water taxis, a new golf course and reduced building-permit fees will be coming soon to Newport Beach — if the mayor gets his way.

Living in Newport Beach promises a high quality of life that should be both celebrated and protected, Mayor Rush Hill explained to a well-dressed crowd enjoying a three-course meal and wine Friday.


“And for this reason I’m afraid we can’t rest,” he said.

Hill outlined his goals for the year during the 33rd annual Mayor’s Dinner, which community group Speak Up Newport hosted at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa.


He first imagined a pilot project to replace the current can mooring system with floating docks that would supply water and power.

As such, mooring holders would have better service without cost increases and greater access to recreational use of the harbor.

Water taxis could help users get to and from the floating docks. They could also transport users among various destinations along the harbor, like restaurants or public docks. Hill hopes at least two more public docks will soon be built.

Technology, such as that used by ride-sharing apps Uber or Lyft, would allow smartphone users to request a boat — as they can a car — with the simple push of a button.


An added bonus? The taxis could be electric, he said to a few cheers.

Back on land, Hill’s vision includes a transformation of the Coyote Canyon Landfill on Newport Coast Drive, between Bonita Canyon and San Joaquin Hills Road, into a new public golf course.

The landfill, which contains 60 million cubic yards of municipal solid waste materials on about 395 acres, closed in 1990, according to the OC Waste & Recycling website.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach has been supportive of the idea, Hill said.


“It will not be a simple process, but it is a process that I think we can win,” he said.

With the city reserves totaling about $130 million, not only might the city bring new ideas to fruition, but residents might also see savings.

Hill suggested a reduction in building permit fees for the remainder of the year for remodels of single-family homes and duplexes.

As he told the crowd, “We are in a position where we can invest more in you.”

More than 400 people attended the event, including city staff, community activists, political candidates and council members, past and present.