A public review process was set in motion Jan. 14 for three concept proposals on the future of John Wayne Marina — and a late, fourth addition to keep the Sequim Bay facility owned and operated by the Port of Port Angeles.
Port of Port Angeles commissioners moved forward with a plan to seek input from individuals through a questionnaire that will be available by Jan. 28 on the port website at www.portofpa.com.
Input also will be sought from marina stakeholders such as the Sequim Bay Yacht Club, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, John Wayne Enterprises, the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, North Olympic Sale and Power Squadron, the city of Sequim parks committee and the city of Sequim.
City officials have submitted a proposal that would transfer the marina to the city without cost.
Also submitting proposals were Marsh Andersen LLC of Bainbridge Island and Safe Harbor Marinas of Dallas, Texas.
All three proposals are at tinyurl.com/PDN-MarinaPlans.
Both companies would operate the 300-slip marina under long-term leases.
Their plans, submitted in response to the commissioners’ request for information on concept proposals for the facility, did not include monetary specifics on lease terms and marina infrastructure improvements.
Commissioner Steve Burke said the submissions were not “proposals.”
“What we got were ideas,” said Burke, chosen later in the meeting by commissioners Connie Beauvais and Colleen McAleer to succeed Beauvais as board president.
Port officials have estimated marina improvements will cost $26 million, too much, they said, for the port to afford.
Commissioners directed Crossroads Consulting of Bellingham to conduct the survey and write a report on the results that will provide the basis for further board action.
Company owner Holly O’Neil is a facilitator and trainer who organized and coordinated the port’s countywide public meetings on the marina’s future in 2018.
The sessions led to port commissioners seeking “concept proposals” that were submitted in December.
Commissioners also pledged to keep the marina public and not sell it to a private entity, which was opposed by John Wayne Enterprises.
The company owns 105 developable acres next to the marina. A company representative spoke highly of the Andersen and Safe Harbor proposals when they were presented to port commissioners Dec. 10.
O’Neil, conducting the survey under a $5,000 contract, said it would take her two-three months to produce the report.
The survey will ask respondents the following questions, the first four of which O’Neil suggested in her presentation:
• What are the benefits and potential risks of the port establishing a long-term lease with a professional marina management company?
• What do you think is most important for the commission to consider in making a decision for the future of the marina?
• What information do you think they need?
• What are the benefits and potential risks of the marina being owned and operated by the city of Sequim?
• What are the benefits and potential risks of the marina being owned and operated by the Port of Port Angeles?
Commissioners had sought alternatives to continuing to own and operate the marina in light of the cost of improvements, which they said will be needed by 2035.
McAleer, the Sequim-area commissioner, said in a later interview that the port option was added because of high wage costs borne by tax districts and other public entities.
Marina improvements would be more manageable if the state were to change procurement laws, she said.
“The big issue is that a private entity can do the work at a much lower cost than what a public entity does it for,” McAleer said.
She said the port could save $8 million on the cost of improvements for the marina, lowering the estimate to $18 million, which she said the port could afford.
A “general rule of thumb” is that a public entity spends about 40 percent more than a private entity on capital projects, she said, citing other port officials and a contracting expert.