At the first meeting of the year of the Los Angeles County Small Craft Harbor Commission, Harley Searcy was reelected chair and Russ Lesser was elected vice-chair Wednesday, February 4th, at the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey.

A new appointee to the Small Craft Harbor Commission is Vanessa Delgado, appointed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who represents the First District.

The seat had been vacant for over a year after vice-chair Carole Stevens resigned.

SHERIFF’S MARINA CRIME REPORT — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department ñ Marina del Rey Station reported that crime statistics since December remained steady, with fewer burglaries on boats, although there was an increase in burglaries of parked vehicles at apartment buildings.

Deputies reported capturing “a ring of burglars” involved in car burglaries in hotel structures. A bike theft suspect was also apprehended.

Investigations regarding the theft of approximately 150 bicycles are ongoing.

MARINA LIVEABOARDS — The Marina Sheriff’s Station reported that boat permit registration was up due to patrols by the sheriff’s department and cooperation with the dockmasters, and that there has been good compliance among boat owners.

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ACTIONS — Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors director Stan Wisniewski reported on various actions of the Board of Supervisors that affected Marina del Rey.

At their November 8th meeting supervisors approved contributing $1.6 million toward sharing the costs for Marina del Rey maintenance dredging.

On November 14th, the board awarded a three-year contract, plus two one-year extensions, to North American Security, Inc., for armed security guard services at Dockweiler Beach — located at Imperial Highway and Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey — and at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, Wisniewski said.

At its November 21st meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved a consultant services agreement with HPA, Inc. for maintenance and inspection services for the Marina’s sea wall.

The agreement utilizes a “turnkey approach” that consists of three elements — maintenance and inspection, as-needed repairs, and engineering design for all components and subsystems of the sea wall — all of which will help to ensure the long-term structural integrity and stability of the sea wall, according to Wisniewski.

The agreement is for two years, with three additional option years for a fee not-to-exceed $1 million over the five years.

On December 5th, the Board of Supervisors approved a construction contract with Mike Bubalo Construction Co., Inc. for $2,399,375 to construct a storm water diversion system at Marina (Mothers) Beach, as Part I of Phase II of the Marina Water Quality Improvement Project, to divert surface flows to the adjacent Basin C, where there is no water-contact recreation, said Wisniewski.

Combined with Part II of Phase I — structural upgrades to the existing dock and construction of a new gangway, including installation of two water circulators below the water surface — the total project cost is $3.916 million, of which $1.75 million is funded by a State Clean Water Act grant, and the remainder from either the Department of Beaches and Harbors Marina Accumulative Capital Outlay Fund or its operating budget, Wisniewski said.

At its December 12th meeting, the supervisors established the Marina del Rey Seawall Repair Project and approved a total Phase I budget of $5.35 million, funded from the Marina Accumulative Capital Outlay Fund.

Voids of varying sizes have been detected at the bottom of approximately 17,600 lineal feet of the sea wall at various locations throughout the harbor, Wisniewski said.

Phase I will address the largest, most critical voids, which affect approximately 1,600 lineal feet of sea wall, and the repairs will consist of filling the voids with grout and installing rock slope protection at the base of the wall to prevent future migration of the underlying soils, according to county documents.

On January 23rd, the Board unanimously approved a recommendation submitted by Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, who represents the Second District, to exempt certain veterans from paying parking fees in county-owned and -operated public parking lots and parking meters when vehicles display specialized plates that identify veterans for their meritorious service to our country, according to county documents.

The exception to this recommendation is weekends and holidays (excluding Veterans Day), with the exemption to be limited to parking lots where there is an attendant assigned to operate the lot and that no special consideration be given during hours when the lot is operated by automatic equipment, state county documents.

MARINA DEL REY LOCAL COASTAL PLAN (LCP) —

County staff said the long-delayed Marina del Rey Local Coastal Plan (LCP) will be delayed still longer, as the California Coastal Commission has not placed the subject on the agenda.

The next California Coastal Commission hearings are scheduled for April in Santa Barbara and May in San Pedro, and Wisniewski said his staff has received no reply from the coastal commission about meeting to discuss ongoing disagreements related to the LCP.

PUBLIC COMMENT — During public comment, amid complaints of boat owners allegedly being evicted from slips without cause, commission chair Harley Searcy asked Wisniewski to speak with slip operators and ask them not only to provide information on these issues, but for the lessees themselves to attend a future meeting to discuss the issues.

Speakers addressed the fact that development in the Marina is rapidly growing and complained that alternative transportation such as shuttles and water taxis are still not a priority with the county.

One of the public speakers, a member of a local group, P.O.W.E.R. (People Organized for Westside Renewal), noted that a “Boaters Bill of Rights” had been distributed to the Small Craft Harbor Commission last year for consideration, and that the local group wants the commission to speak on the group’s behalf to the Board of Supervisors.

The Boaters Bill of Rights essentially seeks consideration of “the growing problems facing liveaboard residents in Marina del Rey, and that liveaboard slips serve as one of the few remaining affordable places in the Marina.”

Some liveaboards say their lives are filled with fear and uncertainty that they could be evicted from their boat slips at a moment’s notice and “on the whim of the lessees,” leaving them one step away from homelessness.

Searcy responded that the commission had been waiting for a representative from P.O.W.E.R. to submit a proposal, but no one had contacted them.

Searcy directed county counsel Tom Faughnan to take the time to review the issue as it relates to the laws of the State of California, and point out areas that are in conflict with the existing law.

Another public speaker asked for a master plan of development for the Marina, rather than just piece-meal developments over a period of time.

The speaker asserted that until the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Plan has been officially reviewed and amended by the California Coastal Commission, the ongoing approvals of development by the county are not legal.

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