Is Dog Beach Closed? Hardly.

If you had read the Daily Pilot’s article, you would have thought that the Dog Beach was never going to be legal.  The actual story is that nothing could be further from the truth, and Dog Beach is going stronger than ever before.  When we reported on June 26th that Dog Beach was back, it was in regards to the beach itself, with South Swells finally filling up the Newport side of Dog Beach.

SaveNewporter Jon Pedersen– who has been working with me on this issue for the last 20 months– wrote in to correct some of the bad info.  He stated:

I have been working on the Dog Beach issue since the beginning with Mike Glenn and I just read your article and noted several corrections –

As you noted the Initial Study which was performed at a cost to taxpayers of $30,000 came back with the following conclusion “I find that the project could not have a significant effect on the environment, and a NEGATIVE DECLARATION will be prepared” https://www.dropbox.com/s/bzomq25f576pn92/Initial%20Study.pdf?dl=0

The California Coastal Commission issuing a permit is a legal issue that is up for debate. I have spoken with Damien Schiff attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation and there is an argument to be made since NO DEVELOPMENT will be occurring as to the requirement that the Coastal Commission issue a permit. If the County of Orange needs a permit to allow dogs on the beach then why does Newport Beach not need one? Also, as a data point Pacific Legal Foundation is currently litigating State of California as to the endangered status of the Snowy Plover since they have failed to conduct a five year review as mandated by California law.

SPON is quoted as mentioning “bird habitats” however Mike Glenn and myself met with both the President Marko Popovich and Vice President Dorothy Kraus last Saturday at their meeting and neither can recall SPON formally coming out with a statement or letter against Dog Beach.

Mark Massara notes that there was insufficient notice to the government agencies, however, on page five of the Initial Study you will find a list of all the reviewing agencies that were formally notified namely, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Parks and Recreation, California Coastal Commission, State Lands Commission, Regional Water Control Board.

In addition I am in possession of all respondents letters to the County of Orange regarding the Initial Study, Huntington Beach Wetlands, Sea and Sage Audubon Society, City of Newport Beach, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Coastal Commission. As far as insufficient notice to the neighbors there was a standing room only Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission meeting in March 2016, KCAL TV coverage, a city of Newport Beach survey and of course numerous citizens who all were aware of the proposal as it took months and months of back in forth in the media Daily Pilot, Save Newport, LA Times, OC Register, Newport Indy etc.

An additional note about Mark Massara his comments at the Coastal Commission meeting at Newport Beach City hall on  February 3rd 2017 stated that the area is “severely degraded by thousands of dogs visiting the estuary” and “restoration needs to be undertaken to protect the rare and endangered plants and animals and birds that utilize this area” The only problem with those statements besides coming from someone who resides in San Francisco and isn’t even qualified to comment on a local issue is they are false.

To clarify the ‘Dog Beach” proposal never included any “ESHA” sand dunes, only strictly in the river bed mouth. As noted from the Initial Study –

3.1.4- “No vegetation occurs within the project area, which is mainly composed of sand”

The amendment will not interfere with movement of any native resident or migratory fish or wildlife species; movement will remain unchanged.

As previously stated the, the project site does not support any nesting or breeding by Snowy Plover or California Least Terns.

However, an interesting story would be reminding the community that in 2005 Dave Granoff actually destroyed the sand dunes in front of his West Newport Beach oceanfront home and was fined $225,000 by the Coastal Commission (plus restoration costs) and reimbursed the City of Newport Beach Police Department $4,100 for the their criminal investigation costs (see attached). Who is Dave Granoff? He now sits on the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission which is tasked with advising the Newport Beach City Council regarding the protection of our beaches.

But back to the reality of this area: The County of Orange is taking NO STEPS to enforce in the area, nor will they ever.

However, Newport Beach Councilwoman Diane Dixon has stated that they will enforce as necessary to prevent dogs using the Newport side of the beach.  Sound confusing?  You’re not alone.

If you look at the main image here, you can see where the county land separates the area between Newport and Huntington property.  While the county-owned land actually extends a bit further than the jetties, Dog Beach boundaries are only between the jetties, from the ocean to the bridge.  You will notice that there is a 30-60 foot section of “Newport-owned” land that must be crossed to get to the jetty.  That is where Diane Dixon is proposing we stop people: the 30-60 foot transit area before you get to Dog Beach.

She has increased enforcement in the area to prevent people from bringing their dogs (even on-leash) between the hours of 10am and 4:30pm.  However, on Tuesday June 13th, Councilman Scott Peotter has agendized the on-leash hours for reconsideration at an upcoming city council meeting.  This should be coming up shortly, and I will let you know when that is.  Thanks for hanging in there and preventing outsiders from destroying an area that has been so loved by so many for so long.  If you show up at these meetings, we will win this– even if it takes quite a bit more time than expected!

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About Mike Glenn

Mike is the founder and publisher of Save Newport, owner of the software company Devion, the VP of Newport Beach's Republican Assembly, Chair of Government Relations for the Elks Lodge, an outspoken taxpayer advocate, and a sworn alternate voter for the Orange County GOP. He writes, shoots photos, and edits, but much of the time, he's just "the IT guy". He can be reached at: Google+, Facebook, or via email, at michael.glenn@devion.com