City working to accommodate two sportfishing companies

OCEANSIDE — For close to four decades, Helgren’s Sportfishing has held a lease agreement with the city and exclusive rights to operate in the harbor. The city took another look at that agreement last year and is now working to accommodate two sportfishing companies, Helgren’s and Oceanside Sea Center.

Negotiations are still in process for two separate dock and building lease agreements in two different areas of the harbor.

“We are negotiating separate lease agreements with each group,” Barbara Hamilton, assistant city attorney, said. “The groups will not be occupying the same premise.”

The location for Oceanside Sea Center has not been disclosed, but other harbor entities have been consulted to ensure the locations of both sportfishing companies are agreeable with other operations. Subleasing by either company will need an OK from the city.

“The challenge is finding physical space in the harbor,” Hamilton said. “I think we’re there, we’re in the nitty-gritty of drafting.”

Joe Cacciola, owner and operator of Sea Star Charters and partner in Oceanside Sea Center, said the company is still actively negotiating with the city, and not much has changed since April.

“I have no news to report, until it’s finalized,”  Cacciola said.

Separate negotiations with the two sportfishing companies have been ongoing for four months.

“We would like it to be done the earlier the better,” Hamilton said. “It will take as long as it takes.”

City Council extended Helgren’s Sportfishing lease in April and removed the lease’s former  exclusivity clause to allow time to work out agreements with the two companies.

In initial talks Oceanside Sea Center requested dock space along the popular boardwalk area where Helgren’s Sportfishing is located. It was decided by both companies that sharing a building would not work. Next steps were to draw up separate leases for two locations.

Prior to the decision to accommodate both companies, there was closed session discussion of granting the lease exclusively to the newly formed Oceanside Sea Center company.

During City Council meetings public comments there was strong support for the longstanding Helgren’s Sportfishing company. In April it was decided accommodating both companies was in the city’s best interest.

As soon as pending lease agreements age finalized, both agreements will be presented to City Council. The goal is to finalize agreements prior to the expiration of Helgren’s Sportfishing extended lease Nov. 30.

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