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Newport Beach man fights to keep 42-ton yacht in his yard

June 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The city of Newport Beach plans to take a resident to court for refusing to remove a 72-foot, 42-ton yacht from his yard.

"She's the love of my life," said yacht owner Dennis Holland. "She's just so amazing. When I first saw her, I was 8 years old and I fell in love with her right off the start."

Holland adores his yacht, but some neighbors find it a nuisance.

"It's huge," said neighbor Dalia Lugo. "It's bigger than my house. It is taller than my house."

Holland had permission from the city to bring the vessel to his yard initially. But since then the city has changed the rules, forbidding boat building in residential neighborhoods.

"Originally when it came in it wasn't anticipated to stay long, and he kept it there," said City Attorney David Hunt. "Now he says it will take 10 to 15 years to complete it, and that's simply far too long to have a vessel inside of a residential neighborhood.

The yacht has been in the neighborhood for six years, and in January the city started fining Holland every week. So far, he's refused to pay.

"That's an admission of guilt, because by standards I'm not guilty of anything," said Holland. "They're making the laws up to incriminate me."

Holland has supporters in the neighborhood.

"We're a boating community," said neighbor Alan Payne. "And people should be interested in a 100-year-old boat."

But Lugo says she's not interested in seeing it from her bedroom window for half a decade, and says other neighbors feel the same way.

"If you are looking at property values and you want to sell anytime soon, it is something that is affected," said Lugo. "I love the project, as long as it's elsewhere."

Citing problems with privacy, debris and the sheer size of the yacht, the city has filed a civil suit to have the vessel removed.

But until that happens, Holland will keep living with the love of his life.

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