Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors Director Santos Kreimann discussed the status of development in Marina del Rey at the Marina Affairs Committee meeting Wednesday, Jan. 19 at Burton Chace Park.

The Marina Affairs Committee is a committee of the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce.

Kreimann noted that there are 17 projects in various phases of development in Marina del Rey, and he also discussed the Master Waterside Coastal Development Permit projects.

There are four pipeline development projects that require an aggregate land use amendment to the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program (LCP).

A public hearing by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors concerning the land use proposals for the pipeline projects and the map and text amendment for improvements will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1 in Room 381 B of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St., downtown Los Angeles. Interested parties will be given an opportunity to testify.

According to Kreimann, other proposed LCP changes include the right-sizes public parking plan;

Collapsing 14 existing development zones into three zones;

Improving traffic circulation;

Enhancing open space;

Addressing the management of sensitive biological resources; and

Updating recreational boating policies.

Initially, there had been six pipeline projects, but the applicant for a residence hotel at Marina (Mothers) Beach withdrew the plan over a year ago.

Another project, The Waterfront (Parcel 33/NR), was removed from the pipeline project list at a recent Regional Planning Commission meeting. The Waterfront project – including the property on Admiralty Way that housed Organic Panificio, and prior to that, Edie’s Diner and the Harbor House – was proposed to consist of 292 dwelling units, 32,400 square feet of retail space, restaurant seating and public parking spaces. However, Kreimann said that The Waterfront development could be placed in the map and text amendment at the Feb. 1 meeting if the Board of Supervisors chooses to do so.

The four pipeline projects include: Parcel 10/FF, Neptune Marina (526 dwelling units);

Parcel OT Oceana Retirement (114 senior units, 3,500 square feet of retail space and 92 public parking spaces);

Parcel 52/GG Boat Central (375 dry stack storage spaces, 3,080 square feet of office use and a 3,350-square foot county boatwright shop); and

Parcel 49/77 Launch Ramp (135,000 square feet of visitor-serving commercial space and up to 26,000 square feet of office use – Department of Beaches and Harbors Administration Building – while preserving and enhancing existing boating amenities.

Kreimann said the county welcomes dissenting opinions, and that because of public comment and opposition to development in the Marina, strategic shifts have been made in the county’s stewardship.

“The role of being a steward of this area was almost lost, and the county has changed its focus and is not building to maximum development,” he said.

“If there were still that previous emphasis, the density in the Marina would have increased. We are getting half of what we are entitled to regarding development. The comments of the public haven’t fallen on deaf ears. My job is to make the first guess before the second-guessing starts, and this is a better plan now than three years ago,” said Kreimann.

Marina Affairs Committee co-chair Pat Younis encouraged the audience to attend the meeting on Feb. 1 to show support for the amendment. She reiterated a comment by Kreimann, who had said that lessees are facing large risks for development and that spending money with no guarantees is very scary.

Kreimann said that there are seven redevelopment projects that are consistent with the current LCP. Those projects include: the Holiday Harbor Courts (Parcel 21); Pier 44 (Parcel 44); The BoatYard (Parcel 53); Fisherman’s Village (Parcels 55/56/W); Marina West Shopping Center (Parcel 125); The Shores (Parcel 100/101); and The Woodfin Suite Hotel and Vacation Ownership.

Six additional parcels that will be renovated are also consistent with the current LCP, he said. These projects are Tahiti Marina (Parcel 7); Bay Club (Parcel 8); Marina del Rey Hotel (Parcels 42/43); Villa Venetia (Parcel 64); Marina City Club (Parcel 125); and Marina International Hotel (Parcel 145).

Kreimann said that the total value of the proposed development projects is approximately $689 million, which is the estimated investment to be made in Marina del Rey from the 17 projects that are in various stages of review.

The number of jobs expected to be created during the construction phases of the project is 13,188. An increase in visitors and subsequent spending on recreation and other services also add to the value, Kreimann noted.

Kriemann pointed out the economic benefits to county taxpayers from the lessees and their developments. He said it is a public-private partnership, with construction and operating risk transferred to lessees. Leasehold rent for fiscal year 2009-10 was $38.8 million, while transient occupancy tax for the same fiscal year was $5.13 million. Property taxes for fiscal year 2009-10 were approximately $11 million; and additional annual leasehold rent after developments are completed is approximately $9.5 million, he said.

The leasehold revenues fund maintenance and operation of Marina del Rey infrastructure, public access for the 52 million people annually using county beaches along the coast, and other public benefit programs, he noted.

MASTER WATERSIDE COASTAL DEVELOPMENT PERMIT –

Kreimann also presented the Master Waterside Coastal Development Permit (CDP) project that addresses old and damaged docks in the Marina with renovations and slip replacements.

In a slip replacement overview, Kreimann said that 21 anchorages with 4,737 total slips in eight basins would be reduced to 4,348 slips following replacement of slips in seven private anchorages.

He explained that 1,833 slips would be replaced with 1,444 new state-of-the-art concrete slips with improved pump-outs, utilities, restrooms/showers, parking lots and enhanced landscaping. An enhanced public access along the Marina walkway with drinking fountains and seating would be included.

Kreimann said that many of the docks are severely deteriorated, noting that docks for 11 anchorages were built in the mid-1960s, two in the early 1970s and one in 1989. New public docks are planned in the future.

The highlights of the Master CDP are modernization of anchorages for the next 40 years, he said. The Master CDP is accessible on the Beaches and Harbors Web site.

Kreimann said that important dates for upcoming meetings are: Tuesday, Feb. 1 – Board of Supervisors to consider LCP amendment; Wednesday, Feb. 9 – Small Craft Harbor Commission to consider Waterside CDP; Wednesday, April 13 through Friday, April 15 – California Coastal Commission to consider Periodic Review response; and Wednesday, June 15 through Friday, June 17 – Coastal Commission to consider Marina del Rey LCP amendment.

Local residents and boaters who are opposed to the aggregate amendment, which includes the “right-sizing” of parking lots, say that the studies are not accurate because they were done for a very short time during specific periods when the parking lots were not fully utilized. One resident said she and others are concerned about the loss of parking lots in the Marina and the density of proposed development that could be built on the lots.

One of those developments is the proposed Woodfin Suite Hotel and Vacation Ownership. The resident said she and others are opposed to such a large scale, tall building in the midst of the Marina, saying that type of development is more suited to downtown Los Angeles.

She claimed that the parking split for the proposed senior development doesn’t provide enough parking, and that 90 parking spaces for that facility will be located on the other side by Holiday Harbor.

Under the current LCP, parking lots may not be used for development, and those questioning the accuracy of the parking slip counts allege that the county had asked the consultant taking those counts to choose inactive periods in a brief time span in order to utilize the parking lots for further high-density development.

In April, a local boater, Christopher King, wrote a letter to Los Angeles County Counsel Raymond Forner, Jr. and to Peter Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission.

King wrote the letter on behalf of the Marina del Rey Community Boating Council, including the Marina del Rey Outrigger Canoe Club, the United Marina Rowing Association – of which he is a member – and the Fairwind Yacht Club, whose youth sailing program serves groups including the Boys & Girls Club of Venice. King said these organizations are the principal public recreational boating groups at Marina (Mothers) Beach, located on Palawan Way near Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey.

The letter focused on The Waterfront project, and stated, “In general, we believe the true usage and potential impact of any changes to parking in the area is not sufficiently addressed through the parking counts in the study, including how recreational boaters access and use the beach; what their needs are; how they use the area and how changes will affect the future use and access of the beach.”

King said typical usage by club members who are heavy users of this recreation area differs considerably from the study’s definition of “typical,” as described by the study in parking counts taken during “typical weekday and weekend times.”

He pointed out that parking counts were taken at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and that picking a few days to study parking and “extrapolating through the whole year is inadequate to determine parking usage, especially in light of the existing adjacent lots which were not counted in the totals.”

King claimed that the actual daily users were never interviewed to determine if the times and dates were adequate to capture the parking usage.

“Several lots were used to determine the total inventory of available parking spaces to be included in the Mothers Beach activity area,” King said. “These lots are aggregated into the Mothers Beach activity area which may be in the general area of Mothers Beach, but each serves very distinct purposes including different user needs, and they need to be looked at independently.”

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