The Marina International Hotel renovation project was given conceptual approval by the Marina del Rey Design Control Board, which met Thursday, January 15th, in the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey.

The applicant, Thomas Henry, vice president of development for the Pacifica Hotel Company, presented a revised version of the concept plan after recommendations by the Design Control Board at its November meeting.

Henry said the hotel, located at 4200 Admiralty Way, will be upgraded into a more modern and upscale hotel and have a name change to The Del Rey.

Recommendations were made regarding the facade materials and colors, overall design and character of the hotel, common area detail and drought-tolerant landscape.

Design Control Board chair Susan Cloke, vice chair Peter Phinney and board member David Abelar said at the November meeting they wanted to see different, more colorful palettes in the building design, not the faux wood and stone proposed.

Phinney had stated he’d like to see a design that was inviting to customers to sit in the courtyard, with sofas and other amenities.

Cloke had stated that the applicant should think of how the hotel belongs in the Marina, as part of the community and that community members would also be using the premises.

She said that guest and non-guest parking, the use of bike racks and other services might be important to the community.

The hotel property currently consists of two three-story guestroom buildings and five guestroom and auxiliary bungalows over a single level of underground parking, according to county planning documentation.

MARINA LCP; VIDEOTAPING — In other business, county staff discussed the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program (LCP), saying that the California Coastal Commission had not yet made a formal recommendation to the county.

Cloke brought up the issue of videotaping meetings, saying she’d heard that individuals had been told they couldn’t videotape Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program public workshops held by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning.

Mike Tripp of the Department of Regional Planning said that Gina Natoli, supervising regional planner for the department, told him that some individuals meeting in working groups said they couldn’t express themselves with a video camera in their faces.

County counsel Tom Faughnan said these meetings aren’t subject to Brown Act rules.

Cloke said she is a big believer in transparency by the government and she is concerned about full participation, but “not putting a video camera in someone’s face.”

“A public meeting is part of the process of government and should always be transparent,” said Cloke.

“There has to be a good, sound legal or moral reason, a legal matter for closed session, but even if not, this leaves the county open to legal issues and the public perception doesn’t do the county any good,” she said.

Cloke said she wants the county to think about this, but individuals should be discreet and respectful and not disrupt meetings.

Faughnan said that it’s not helpful if no one wants to show up for a meeting because of the videotaping.

Tim Riley, a representative of the Marina Lessees Association, said he had called Natoli and she told him that, of six groups, only one group had some members that had issues about videotaping, with divided sentiment in the group.

Riley said that there is a chilling effect if free and frank discussions can’t be held, and that there is no purpose for an official recording, other than to satisfy the agenda of that person videotaping, with the videotape possibly being used against the group in public meetings later.

He said the videotaping serves a very narrow agenda, and that information always comes out anyway after these meetings.

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