June 25, 2008

Supervisors OK Design Themes for Harbor Work

By Tony Biasotti, Ventura County Star, Calif.

Jun. 25--The redevelopment of Channel Islands Harbor will include a walkway that traces nearly the entire waterfront and a new system of parks that pay homage to each of the islands off the coast, according to a set of development guidelines approved Tuesday by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

The plan sets design themes and other requirements for the public, dry-land areas of the harbor, including sidewalks, parks and parking lots. The county and the private landowners who lease the commercial portions of the harbor will incorporate the new plans when they redevelop their properties.

The board approved the plan by a unanimous vote.

"Generally, I really like this plan," said Supervisor John Flynn, who has at times been critical of Harbor Director Lyn Krieger's plans for the struggling harbor. "I especially like the island concept. I think that really focuses us."

The makeover won't be finished for about a decade, but parts of it are already under way. The first spot to get the island makeover will be Mandalay Bridge Park, which is now a barren piece of land under where Channel Islands Boulevard passes over the harbor. The new park will have Santa Barbara Island as its theme and will include signs with information about the history of the area and the wildlife on the island.

The waterfront pedestrian walkway is also in the works already, with marina owners incorporating pieces of it as they renovate their docks.

The proposed hotel, shopping and apartment complexes on the peninsula and at Fisherman's Wharf also include plans for wide waterfront promenades.

There are a few places where the walkway will have to veer away from the water, Krieger told the board. These are on the east side of the harbor, at the boat yards along Victoria Avenue.

"There are some areas where it's just not logical to force a walkway into the middle of an industrial business operation," Supervisor Kathy Long said.

In a sense, the development of the public areas depends on the success of the private redevelopment that's proposed for the harbor, because developers will pay for many of the new parks and sidewalks.

"This is a significant project, and it will unfortunately affect the fees we have to charge at the boat yard," said Bob Naum, the general manager of Channel Islands Landing Marina and Boatyard. Naum and some of the harbor's other business tenants attended the meeting to voice their support for the plans.

"It's delightful to see this project," said Penny Boehm, a spokeswoman for the tenants. "We are absolutely committed to it."


To see more of the Ventura County Star, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.venturacountystar.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, Ventura County Star, Calif.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.