Over 200 people attended a public workshop Thursday, January 25th, at the Burton Chace Park community building in Marina del Rey to provide input on where a proposed new administration building for the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors would be constructed and located in the Marina harbor area.

The public workshop was part of the monthly Marina del Rey Design Control Board meeting, and chair Susan Cloke asked county officials to return in February to the next Design Control Board meeting with an analysis of several potential sites for the new administration building, to be followed later with another public workshop.

Cloke said she believes the new administration office should be built on the outer edge of the Marina as a “gateway” to the Marina, and should encompass as much environmentally “green” material as possible.

Cloke and Design Control Board member Katherine Spitz also said that the three floors of parking planned should not be on the bottom of the building because the design would be heavy and unattractive.

Cloke announced that Spitz had tendered her resignation from the Design Control Board and that this meeting was her last.

In previous Design Control Board meetings, Department of Beaches and Harbors director Stan Wisniewski’s staff presented the plan for a new administration building at Panay Way, Basin D, which is a prime waterfront location.

The proposed new building would have approximately 25,000 square feet of space and be 56 feet high, with three floors of parking and two floors for administrative offices.

Local residents and Design Control Board members said it was not appropriate for a public use building to take up prime waterside real estate that was intended for public recreational use.

The existing county administration office currently shares a building with the Marina Sheriff’s Station on Fiji Way.

Wisniewski said a new administration building is necessary because several different areas are now used for county administrative business, and it would be more cost- and business-effective to put county staff all in the same location.

Currently, the county has temporary office trailers, a maintenance facility, temporary parking for Dock 52 and the sheriff’s boatwright shop on two parcels of land situated at the base of Basin H in the northeast quadrant of Marina del Rey.

The new administration building would also be utilized for Design Control Board and Small Craft Harbor Commission meetings, said Wisniewski.

The proposal to build the new administration building and remove county trailers and equipment from two parcels makes way for a proposed “Boat Central” project, which would consist of a dry-stack storage facility with a minimum of 276 spaces, 30 spaces for mast-up storage and launching hoists, temporary dock space, three public boat wash-down spaces, a small boat repair operation and related boater amenities, as well as required car parking for storage facilities, according to county documents.

Lease documents were in process with the lessee for the Boat Central project parcel, Pacific Marina Development, for a “parcel reversion” — to allow the proposed transfer of a public utility (new administration building) to its new proposed parcel on the waterfront at Basin D on Panay Way.

The proposed parcel reversion would require an amendment to the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Plan (LCP), which requires California Coastal Commission and other regulatory approvals.

Wisniewski said the importance of providing facilities for boating use, storage and repair is very important to the boating community, and that the public may not be aware that removal of county property to free up this area would be extremely beneficial to them.

In response to suggestions that the county lease a building outside the harbor area, Wisniewski said it didn’t make fiscal sense to pay monthly for a lease when the county has the property in the Marina.

Wisniewski said that a security complex is being planned that would include the Marina Sheriff’s Station, the County Fire Department, lifeguards and the U.S. Coast Guard in the same area where the Sheriff’s Station and county administration offices are currently housed.

“Having our first responders together in one area, able to communicate and send out appropriate manpower, is critical to the community’s safety,” said Wisniewski.

During public comment, suggestions for placement of the new county building included empty offices in Fisherman’s Village, a “less recreational usage area” on the perimeter of the Marina, and rented space in an office building near Lincoln Boulevard.

Other speakers said that a comprehensive plan should be prepared for Marina development that would look at all of the planned development and take into account traffic and ecological preservation.

The Marina del Rey Local Coastal Plan review by the California Coastal Commission continues to be postponed, and some speakers said that since the LCP is the law in the Marina, no developments should be allowed until that review has been completed.

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