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Newport Beach boat owners may boycott Christmas boat parade

November 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Some boat owners are threatening to boycott the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade over a planned rent hike for residential docks.

Residents say everyone enjoys the waterfront, but only they have to pay the fees.

"This is only on the 68 businesses in the harbor and on roughly 1,000 dock owners in the harbor, so we're hosting what is turning out to be an excessive fee increase," said harbor resident Peter Pallette.

The current fee is a flat $100 per year. The proposal could raise that to about $1,500 to $2,000 per year. The city manager says this would be the fair market value.

"It is a big increase, but to me it is a very reasonable appraised fair market rent for the use of what is the public's tidelands," said Dave Kiff, the city manager.

The boat parade organized by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerice is now in its 104th year. It brings tens of thousands of visitors from all over the country to watch decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail along the harbor.

"We rely on it as an income stream for our businesses locally, so to have a boycott occur would be very tragic," said Richard Luehrs, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

Residents say they will be at Wednesday night's City Council meeting and hope council members will put off voting on the proposal so they won't have to boycott the boat parade.

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