An ad hoc working group composed of a diverse seven-member task force has been established by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors to help develop a set of new design guidelines for Marina del Rey within a time frame and working with a set of design principles from RRM Design Group, a consultant to the county for Marina del Rey design guidelines, beginning in late October, according to county officials.
The ad hoc group is a subcommittee of the Marina del Rey Design Control Board, referred to as the Marina del Rey Design Guidelines Task Force.
The task force was proposed by Los Angeles County Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe to receive “broader-based input on planning and design issues in Marina del Rey,” said county officials.
The task force will have seven members, to keep the group efficient and at a workable size, say county sources, and include one member from each of the following:
ï Marina del Rey Design Control Board;
ï Marina del Rey Lessees Association;
ï Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau;
ï LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce;
ï a resident of Marina del Rey;
ï a representative of boating interests; and
ï one member-at-large appointed by Knabe.
Peter Phinney, who serves on the Design Control Board representing the Fourth Supervisorial District, has agreed to serve as the Design Control Board member of the group.
According to Knabe spokesman David Sommers, Knabe has not yet decided upon his appointee to the task force and will make a final decision in the next few weeks.
Candidates for the Marina resident appointment and a representative of boating interests have been asked to complete a questionnaire to apply for the task force, and applicants are to be interviewed by a team consisting of Phinney, a representative from Knabe’s office, and T. Keith Gurnee of RRM Design Group.
NEW MARINA DESIGN GUIDELINES — The new design guidelines emphasize the need for simplicity and clarity, presented in a clean, concise and user-friendly format, said Gurnee.
The guidelines will clarify both the design of public realm and private leasehold improvements; balance guidelines versus standards; suggest treatments for the waterfront walk, streetscape appearance, “wayfinding,” landscaping, lighting, pedestrian and boater experience; and illustrate examples of successful designs.
RRM Design Group has prepared a refined set of guidelines of “Guiding Principles” that are to be followed closely by the task force, and it is the task force’s charge “to respond to work products associated with a set of design guidelines that will be consistent with these approved principles,” county officials said.
The Design Control Board will also consider a process for the preparation of these guidelines, including “six task force meetings with specific purposes and desired outcomes for each session over a six-month period.”
The design guidelines document derived from the process will be presented to the “full Design Control Board for action and adoption in the spring of 2008.”
Once approved by the Design Control Board, the design guidelines will be presented to the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors and the California Coastal Commission for any subsequent action, said county officials.
Two of the scheduled task force meetings are on the county Web site, with the first meeting for orientation and organization, seeking a desired outcome of officer selection, a task force calendar, and comments on goals, objectives, principles and process.
The second meeting is scheduled to be interactive, using RRM Design “CPS software” as part of a PowerPoint presentation, contrasting images depicting differing treatments of various features in Marina del Rey, and asking the task force the “state their preferences for the desired imagery to be reflected in future work products.”
A draft set of Marina Design Principles was created to “guide the crafting of a new set of Marina Design Guidelines, and after the task force reviews the draft principles the refined Marina Design Principles are prepared for review by the Design Control Board.
MARINA DESIGN PRINCIPLES — Gurnee outlined what the design principles would encompass.
The design principles will be used to guide the development and processing of a new set of design guidelines for the Marina, describing how the guidelines can create more cohesion, continuity, consistency and connectivity for Marina del Rey.
Techniques will be recommended for creating a user-friendly document for Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors staff, Regional Planning staff, residents, leaseholders and their development teams.
The principles will be developed in collaboration with the Design Control Board and the task force to provide input at key stages in the preparation and review of the design guidelines.
The process of urban development will be guided by focusing on key areas where guidelines can have the greatest positive impact.
Gurnee outlined the six primary principles used to develop the new Marina Design Guidelines.
The first principle involves:
ï celebrating the edge where land meets water by providing continuous lateral public access along the entire waterfront;
ï providing access to the waterfront from the road and sidewalk network;
ï maintaining and accentuating an open-air feel;
ï providing a wayfinding system for pedestrians, boaters, bicycles and vehicles so it is clear where there are opportunities to interact with the water’s edge;
ï creating destinations along the waterfront walk that encourage ferry rides, boat rentals, watching boat races, bike rentals, dining, fishing and watching wildlife; and
ï encouraging public viewing of boating, recreation and people watching.
The second principle is the highlighting of the variety of parks and recreation opportunities in the Marina and:
ï provide active and passive recreational areas by enhancing recreational activities, providing boating and beach facilities at Marina (Mothers) Beach and supporting private and public boater services;
ï communicate the importance of restoration parks by reassessing the role and function of Oxford Basin and providing interpretive exhibits to educate the public about natural habitats within the Marina;
ï create gateway parks statements by illustrating the unique and attractive landscape features at Fiji and Bali Ways to announce entries in the Marina;
ï highlight open space areas by illustrating the significance of Ballona Creek and the Wetlands, connecting bike and pedestrian paths to open spaces, encouraging developers to create vest pocket parks for increasing the number of small green spaces, and incorporating parks at the water’s edge wherever possible.
The third principle outlines providing a distinct character and functionality for streetscapes in Marina del Rey by:
ï maintaining and emphasizing a distinction between vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle access by offering alternate scenic routes for each and providing direct service access that does not interfere with pedestrian experiences, and by visual enhancement of bike and pedestrian crossings;
ï creating a hierarchy of street experience by designing vehicular gateways with a distinct visual and spatial character, and the creation of distinctive landscaping for each street type (major and minor);
ï connecting the street network with views into the Marina by accentuating existing and new view corridors, creating view corridors at key entry points, providing public access through view corridors to allow pedestrians to go from sidewalks to the water’s edge, ensuring views to boats and water, and encouraging connections between new development, public spaces and views; and
ï providing attractive and functional parking facilities by incorporating landscape distinctive to each mole (a massive structure set up in the water for a breakwater or pier, or an anchorage or harbor protected by such a structure) buffering pedestrian ways to the waterfront from adjacent parking areas, providing visual landmarks and wayfinding, and reducing visual clutter such as storage areas and signage.
Principle number four establishes a distinguishing identity for each mole of Marina del Rey as part of a larger whole by creating a separate and distinct identity for each mole by creating identifying gateways at the entry to each mole, using a distinct tree species, not specific grasses and flowers; implementing a plan to slowly integrate new, distinct tree species; modifying the Marina’s overall plant palette to create a landscape distinctive to each mole; and creating waterfront gathering areas unique to each mole.
The fifth principle promotes sustainable systems throughout Marina del Rey by:
ï improving the health of natural systems by protecting and promoting natural environments within the Marina, beautifying the plant palette to convey the identity and commitment to sustainability and creating programs and incentives to reduce run-off pollution;
ï connecting people with natural elements by providing experiences to get closer to the water, creating destinations for interpretive exhibits, offering opportunities to appreciate wetlands, and encouraging wildlife viewing in habitat areas;
ï introducing innovative “green” systems by developing (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) LEED-inspired guidelines for new buildings that encourage integrating gray water, reusing materials and taking advantage of natural wind patterns; and
ï incorporating non-invasive compatible plants that bloom year-round, encourage low energy and water use to meet future energy supplies, promote techniques and practices to enhance the ecological health of the Marina, and consider the design of LEED-certified public buildings.
The sixth principle provides leasehold design guidelines for future development, to:
ï provide clarity through a user-friendly document that can be easily understood by staff, decision makers, residents and applicants;
ï encourage projects that embrace and celebrate the water’s edge;
ï promote a fun, contemporary “beachy” feel for new development;
ï avoid designs that are franchise driven and artificially nostalgic;
ï allow for flexibility and rewarding creative design through the timely processing of development applications;
ï recognize the difference between redevelopment and remodeling projects and new development projects; and
ï promote the use of sustainable materials and green buildings.
The Marina Design Principles are online at http://beaches.co.la .ca.us/BandH/Development.htm/.