The Marina del Rey Design Control Board recommended conceptual approval with conditions at its July 19th meeting for one redevelopment project and amended and strengthened its language regarding its disapproval at the June meeting of another proposed project. The meeting was held in the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey.

A presentation by T. Keith Gurnee of RRM Design regarding the refined Marina Beach (commonly known as Mothers Beach) Strategic Plan was presented, based on public input at workshop meetings.

A presentation regarding the Oxford Detention Basin was given by Jason Pereira from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

The Marina del Rey Design Control Board voted unanimously to amend and strengthen its language in a transmittal to the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning regarding its June disapproval of a proposed dry-stack storage facility, Boat Central, by applicant MdR LP.

The Boat Central project would require an amendment to the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program (LCP).

The Local Coastal Program is scheduled to be heard by the California Coastal Commission in October.

The Design Control Board members said they want the proposed project either denied by the Department of Regional Planning or remanded to the Design Control Board.

Susan Cloke, chair of the Design Control Board, and members Peter Phinney and David Abelar questioned whether the Boat Central project could be moved ahead to Regional Planning lacking their approval, and asked if there is a way to get the Department of Regional Planning to deny the project or remand it to the Design Control Board.

A representative from the Department of Regional Planning and county counsel Tom Faughnan told Design Control Board members that, while that department could disapprove the project or could ask the applicant to start over and modify it, the applicant has the right to appeal that decision to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the final decision-making power.

“That means the applicant can just ignore Regional Planning,” said board member David Abelar.

Faughnan stated that the process consists of the Design Control Board providing comments to Regional Planning, after which the project goes to Regional Planning, and that department’s decision (of disapproval) can then be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.

Cloke responded that she understands that “our laws provide for an appeal, and I’m not bothered by that; everyone has that right to check the balance of power,” but then she stated that there is normally “give-and-take” with a developer.

This was the first time the developer was told no and the land use issue is not being looked at, Cloke said, adding that she was “not satisfied with that answer.”

“This project violates the public trust and is the most egregious proposal,” Cloke said, stating that the design board had voted to protect the water, and that she couldn’t believe there was no other alternative to a dry-stack storage.

Faughnan also referred to the Marina del Rey Local Implementation Program (LIP) section regarding the bulkhead protection zone, citing that the “Minimum Standards” had been followed, after a public comment questioned the legality of the proposed overhang (over the water) by the proposed project.

“You’ll need lots of lawyers to settle that part of the package,” said Cloke.

BOAT CENTRAL PROJECT — The proposed Boat Central project is for a dry-stack boat storage facility of approximately 47,084 square feet — 35,466 square feet of which would be over land, and 11,618 square feet over water — and a separate 5,300-square-foot visitor reception building that would house an office, the Marina sheriff’s boatwright shop and boater amenities.

The project would provide storage for up to 367 small boats and boat trailers within the dry-stack building, and 30 mast-up storage spaces in a separate outside lot, along with a public waterside hoist and wash-down area, with 135 full-size parking spaces.

DEL REY SHORES PROJECT — The Del Rey Shores redevelopment project received recommendation for approval (original conceptual approval had been recommended at the May meeting, when the applicant was asked to return with more information on landscaping and usage of the courtyard area).

This approval recommendation asked that there be all “down lighting” and that papyrus be deleted from the project and other vegetation planted.

The existing 202-unit, two-story garden-style apartments in 35 buildings would be demolished and replaced with a 544-unit apartment development, according to project documentation by the applicant.

The design includes 12 five-story wood frame structures over two levels of subterranean and above-grade concrete parking (1,114 spaces). The proposed apartment structures are 75 feet high, with 100-foot architectural design features slicing through the buildings at the stairwells, with the building blocks staggered and offset, breaking the building mass into a series of smaller volumes, according to the applicant.

MARINA BEACH STRATEGIC PLAN — Approval of the refined design for the proposed Marina Beach Strategic Plan focused on improvements to the beach was based on public input presented at previous public hearings and workshops.

Proposed improvements would include a waterfront promenade with plazas, a new beach playground, water features which could include a salt-water swimming pool, and modifications to the picnic shelters, retail concessions, parking layouts and other amenities.

OXFORD DETENTION BASIN PROJECT — The Oxford Detention (Flood Control) Basin, which some incorrectly call a bird sanctuary, is between Washington Boulevard and Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey.

Pereira said that a plan to clean up Oxford Basin has been implemented and will include removal of 16,000 cubic yards of sedimentary material that has drained into the basin, as well as large amounts of trash and other debris.

He estimated that it could take up to two years to complete the program, but Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors director Stan Wisniewski said that was too long and he would contact Public Works to encourage a shorter timeline.

Pereira said the focus of the program was on flood protection, water quality, habitable environment for birds and other species, odor control and aesthetics.

Cloke said she was happy about the project and recommended that advisors be consulted to discuss habitat flora and providing the correct native species of waterfowl.

Sean Bergquist, wetland restoration program manager for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, offered his organization’s assistance and said he was encouraged that the plan is going forward.

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