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Newport Beach takes action to get sailboat moved from yard

City attorneys have asked the courts to appoint a receiver and remove a historic ketch from a side yard at Dennis Holland's home. Battling cancer, he still hopes to buy more time for the project.

September 16, 2012|By Mike Reicher, Los Angeles Times
  • Dennis Holland sits in the Shawnee, which he had been attempting to restore in a side yard of his Newport Beach home.
Dennis Holland sits in the Shawnee, which he had been attempting to restore… (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles…)

A Newport Beach boat builder's efforts to restore a historic 1916 sailboat in a yard at his home may have finally run aground.

After Dennis Holland, 67, missed an Aug. 30 date to disassemble the Shawnee, Newport Beach city attorneys last week asked the courts to appoint a receiver and remove the boat from a side yard at his Holiday Road home.

Although this appears to bring the project close to its end, Holland said he remains optimistic despite being slowed by recent chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. He said the treatment had left him too weak to tend to the 72-foot ketch.

In the coming days, Holland said, he will finish his latest treatment and plans to begin work again. But he may not have enough of the boat disassembled by the Oct. 11 hearing, when he will try to convince a judge to grant him more time.

"If I could just slowly work up to it, it would be great," Holland said Thursday.

City attorneys say he has had enough time.

Holland began the project in 2006, and in 2010 the city passed an ordinance that requires permits for such long-term construction projects. Holland applied for and received a permit, but because he didn't give the city an estimated completion date, the permit was not renewed.

Meanwhile, neighbors and city officials grew increasingly tired of the half-built wooden ship in the West Bay residential neighborhood.

The city sued Holland last year, and the two sides reached a settlement in April, just before a court injunction would have forced him to remove the boat.

After that, Holland said, he worked on the boat for about five weeks but had to stop for chemotherapy. He said he wrote the city attorney and asked for an extension but never received a response.

City Atty. Aaron Harp said he does not know if the city received a request.

The city sent a code enforcement officer to Holland's home Sept. 4, took photos of the boat and filed a motion later that day.

"Mr. Holland does not appear to have the will or ability to remove the boat," Harp wrote in an email, "so we are asking the court to appoint someone to manage the removal for him."

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