A dispute with Newport Harbor dock owners that led to a boycott of the 2012 annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade has been settled with city officials, it was announced today.
The dispute dates back to November 2012 when the Newport Beach Dock Owners Association threatened to boycott the 104th annual parade over the city's new fee for residents living on the water. For some, the fee cost up to $2,000 annually.
Some residents boycotted the parade, but it was held as usual in 2012.
City officials said the rental fee stemmed from a 2012 state law that charges rent for residential piers over tidelands. City leaders say they had to follow suit.
"We came to an amiable settlement of the issue," said Newport Beach city attorney Aaron Harp of the lawsuit filed by the Newport Beach Dock Owners Association.
"The only thing they're really getting out of this lawsuit is we're giving them a 10-year permit."
Previously, the residents received one-year permits. The 10-year permits can be renewed up to 50 years.
"It is unfortunate that we had to sue our own city to restore the equity in our docks that they stole in passing the dock tax," said Bob McCaffrey, chairman of the association.
"The dock tax was an unnecessary money grab that while distasteful, paled in comparison to the city stripping us of the property right to our residential pier."
Harp said City Council members will vote on the settlement at a March 25 meeting, with a final vote to take place at the April 8 council meeting.
--City News Service