It’s now or never to speak up on harbor development plans

“Marina del Rey is a special place.”

We have often heard this sentiment uttered by bird watchers, recreational enthusiasts, residents and even the decision makers. But the public lands commonly known as “the marina” have suffered from exploitation and pay-to-play political operatives.

One more strike against the taxpayers, who purchased the lands for recreational purposes, is currently being levied. Area residents will have one final look at the Marina del Rey Visioning Plan in front of the Small Craft Harbor Commission at their Special Night Meeting on Wednesday, May 28.

But who will know?  The operatives have done a pretty good job of keeping this on the down low — hard to find on the county’s websites. While the county pumps out large advertisements for the MdR Farmers Market (swap meet), you aren’t going to find much information about this “special” meeting.

A couple of the workshops that were established to “gather input” for the MdR Visioning Plan had less than 20 people attend.  The Boating Workshop had only four boaters.  It wasn’t that boaters and residents didn’t want to attend, they weren’t invited — they couldn’t have known about these “input” meetings.  It was a systematic exclusion of community-based planning.

That’s why the meeting on May 28 is so important. The operatives will push their future plan for the marina in front of the commission. They want to permanently establish (codify) residential, commercial and recreational districts on what has always been classified as recreational lands for the citizens of Los Angeles County — another nail in the coffin for the visitors and the exact opposite direction the founding fathers had for the marina in 1954.

Let the commission really hear the community’s voice in how the marina should be developed in the future.

The Special Night Meeting of the Small Craft Harbor Commission is at 6 p.m. on May 28 at Burton Chace Park Community Center, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey.

It’s time to speak up. I hope to see you there.

Jon Nahhas
Marina del Rey

We all have a stake in the marina’s future
We ARE Marina del Rey joins other Marina del Rey stakeholders in urging The Argonaut’s readers to attend the Special Night Meeting of the Small Craft Harbor Commission that takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, at the Burton Chace Park Community Room.

The importance of this meeting cannot be overstated, as it may be the last local opportunity to help shape the future of the marina for the next 20 to 30 years.

Stakeholders include all county residents and taxpayers — not just “locals,” 99% of whom have never been invited to participate in this selectively public, semi-secret Visioning Process, although the marina is publicly owned county land and all taxpayers’ pocketbooks will be affected.

Communities covered by The Argonaut will be the most affected, and not just by obvious traffic and parking impacts. Many community services ordinarily provided for in redevelopment plans are absent from the county’s vision and will be increasingly mooched from other Westside communities as thousands of new marina residents, along with untold numbers of visitors from outside the county, seek out their schools, hospitals, gas stations, churches, community centers, senior care services and other facilities that provide little-to-negative revenue for local coffers but are integral to a community’s vitality.

Be aware that:

• Compartmentalization of the marina into separate usage zones selectively curtails boating and recreational uses. Some 288 additional hotel rooms and over 15,000 square feet of retail space are being fast-tracked along with over 1,100 new apartment units in the designated “Residential Zone,” while Fisherman’s Village is being held hostage to this unsubstantiated plan.

• The launch ramp relocation proposal is capricious, its sole purpose being to clear small boaters out of the way of a new mega-shopping center that will draw retail businesses and tax revenues away from surrounding communities. The project proposes an inferior location and reductions to public mast-up storage and boater parking facilities (by 20%). At the same time, wet-slip accommodations for boats under 35 feet are also being decimated.

• There is no net new public recreational development in the county’s vision for this public recreational land. All of us will compete for these inadequate recreational resources, driving up prices and driving out the middle class.

There is some good news: Land use is now squarely on the public table, stakeholders can demand restoration of public use protections, upcoming expiration of private leases create opportunities for new public parks

We encourage everyone to suggest the recreational developments that would best serve their neighborhoods. We must not allow the shortsightedness of county officials to compromise the long-term viability of the marina.

Whether or not you are able to attend the meeting, please submit your comments and ideas to commstudieswest@planning.lacounty.gov.

Nancy Vernon Marino
Director, We ARE
Marina del Rey

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