The Backyard Shipwright’s Fight

by Owen James Burke

Backyard boatbuilding can seem like a dwindling craft to many as it has become overly time-consuming and outdated in many respects.  Dennis Holland of Newport Beach, California persists however, currently cranking away at a 72-foot sloop built in 1916, the Shawnee.

Unfortunately for Holland,  his only obstacle is a contention with the city of Newport Beach, which passed retroactive ordinance in 2009 to prohibit him from continuing to work on the boat (or any other).  The city is targeting large, long-term project sites reasoning that valuable parking and street space is being taken up by long-term construction and maintenance projects in residential Newport Beach.  A local petition is making the rounds in the city on the behalf of Mr. Holland, who has been working on and building boats at his property for over three decades.


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