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Officials Celebrate Opening of Newport Harbor’s Newest, Largest Public Dock

Officials from the City of Newport Beach, the County of Orange, the Irvine Company and State Assembly celebrated the grand opening of Newport Harbor’s largest public dock on Friday, March 29.

Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting, the Balboa Marina Public Pier was officially opened for public use. The new pier can accommodate up to 12 small vessels or several larger vessels. It is free for day use by the public for up to three hours.

The pier greatly expands public access and recreational opportunities in a previously underserved area of the harbor. The project is a partnership between the City, County and Irvine Company.

“We are really excited. We know this will not only increase the opportunities people have to access the inner harbor but also open up a new gateway to our city,” said Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill. “It will allow more folks to come here, enjoy themselves, and eat and shop local.”

The City of Newport Beach will own, maintain and operate the pier, which is free for day use by the public for up to three hours. The pier is ADA compliant and includes the opportunity to use the “human lift” device already in use at Marina Park.

Part of the dock is located on tidelands property controlled by the County of Orange. The County Board of Supervisors granted the City long-term access in 2022 with a 45-year, no-cost lease. 

“After voting to approve much-needed improvements to the Balboa Marina on County tidelands in 2022, I am happy to see the vision for the Pier completed,” said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, Fifth District. With 12 new public docks, an accessible lift I requested, and 26 new private slips, this will help the Balboa Marina Public Pier serve even more boaters. I remain grateful to our partners at the City of Newport Beach and the Irvine Company for their roles in this project. Now, I look forward to the community enjoying Newport Harbor even more in the years to follow.”

The new pier was constructed and financed by the Irvine Company as part of an agreement with the California Coastal Commission that allows for expansion of an adjacent private marina.

“We appreciate the support and partnership of the City of Newport Beach, County of Orange and the California Coastal Commission in working together to create new and expanded recreational opportunities for residents and visitors in Newport Harbor,” said Irvine Company Executive Roger Ploum.

Discussions of a public pier date back to 2011, when the Irvine Company initiated a new phase of its marina expansion project. A public-private partnership was formed, in which the City agreed to a pay the entitlement costs and the Irvine Company agreed to construct the dock.

Newport Beach Harbor Commissioner Steve Scully noted that a 2013 study by the Commission identified this location as one of the harbor areas where a public pier was most needed. It was No. 2 after Central Avenue (where a new pier was built in 2016). 

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