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Stricter Rules to Strengthen Mooring Project

{mosimage}Published on 1/18/2007 on Grunion Gazette

By Carla M. Collado, Staff Writer

In preparation to take its mooring project proposal back to the Planning Commission in March, the Long Beach Marine Bureau’s Marine Advisory Commission (MAC) last week supported adding several boater regulations to the program.

Plans to create a Catalina-style boat mooring area in the city’s inner harbor have been ongoing for much of the decade. The project would place up to 90 fixed mooring buoys in the water near Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier and Island White.

Last month, the Planning Commission delayed taking action on the Mitigated Negative Declaration — waiver of an environmental report needed for the mooring project to proceed. With a 3-3 vote, the commission instead asked the Planning Department staff to return with tougher mitigation measures.

Opponents had voiced their concerns to the commission, saying there weren’t enough regulations in the proposal to keep boaters from polluting the water by dumping trash and other wastes. The Surfrider Foundation was one of the project’s main opponents.

Last week, MAC members unanimously agreed to recommend three boater regulations to place on the project proposal. The first would offer an at-boat pump-out service to boaters that would be included in the mooring fee, according to Marine Bureau Manager Mark Sandoval. The proposed mooring fee would range from $23 to $46 a night, depending on the boat’s size, he added.

A second regulation would encourage boat owners to report any illegal dumping by other boaters out on the mooring area. Sandoval emphasized that it would not be an official whistleblower program, simply a suggestion to boaters.

The final regulation would involve the mooring master having a vessel available to provide at-boat trash disposal for those who need it. It would come at a small fee that has not been determined yet, Sandoval explained.

“The main purpose of these regulations is to eliminate the need for anybody to throw anything in the water,” Sandoval said.

The revised mooring project proposal will go back to the Planning Commission on March 1, he added. The proposal then also must get approval from the City Council and the state Coastal Commission.

In other business at last week’s MAC meeting, Sandoval briefed the group on an upcoming optimization study that will look at the efficiency and effectiveness of the city’s recreational marinas and Rainbow Harbor. Coming as a recommendation from the city manager’s office, the study will review marina fees, rules and regulations, the role of guest slips and the slip pricing policy, among other things.

Sandoval also announced that the Shoreline Marina rebuilding project is just three docks away from completion. A grand opening ceremony is tentatively planned for May 19.

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