A public workshop concerning the future of Burton Chace Park and Marina (Mothers) Beach held Thursday, October 30th, at the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey was facilitated by T. Keith Gurnee, a principal of RRM Design Group and an urban design consultant to Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Gurnee asked for public input on boaters’ needs for a new boathouse — not to be confused with The Boathouse already at the park which will be used for community meetings — and refinements and improvements for the Marina Beach strategic plan he is implementing for the county.

Gurnee said the public comment at the meeting would be combined with information already gathered from other public meetings and he hopes to finalize the strategic plan by mid-November to go forward with entitlements and permits after another public meeting.

Gurnee informed the audience that Santos Kreimann, acting director of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, told him that recreational boating is very important and that he wants Gurnee to go in the right direction with these projects.

After a PowerPoint presentation, Gurnee told audience members he wanted input on how important certain priorities are to them.

Following the format of his previous public workshops, on large sheets of paper filled with recommendations the audience had made during the meeting, Gurnee asked audience members to identify (with green and red dots) the items that are most important, of lesser importance and the items they liked least.

Many in the audience represented interests such as rowing, kayaking, outrigger use and paddlers.

The items with the highest approval were dedicated boat houses for outriggers and rowers.

Additional outdoor boat storage, clean-up areas for the water craft, changing areas, and showers and lockers for public use by the boaters, and bike racks were listed as very important, as was an area to accommodate usage for children.

Having separate areas for rentals apart from pooled activities was suggested by some audience members.

The least-liked idea was for a cafÈ on one of the proposed piers.

Kreimann told the audience that feedback is critical since the planning for the park and Marina Beach boating amenities can’t be done in a vacuum, and the county needs to know exactly what is needed.

There is a finite amount of space, and the county is trying to balance all competing uses and the maximum amount of amenities for the public use such as boating storage, outdoor racks and lockable lockers, said Kreimann.

He said they are trying to identify tenants who are more active, rather than those who aren’t, because “we want more constant participants for active use of this area by everyone, and not just become a warehouse.”

Kreimann said they are looking at appropriate growth, functions and use and the budget of each program, telling the audience that “we’re making hard decisions with your input.”

Gurnee said that funding for these projects will be provided “in chunks” and getting grants is a possibility.

The majority of the audience agreed that the first improvements should occur at Marina Beach.

What follows is from Gurnee’s PowerPoint presentation:

The goals and objectives for both projects are to devise a strategy for improving the public realm in the Marina (Mothers) Beach area; to provide real improvements to the public realm; support beach activities for beach and boater groups; and to unify everything with a waterfront promenade, resolving disparate elements into a unified plan, said Gurnee.

MARINA BEACH REFINED CONCEPT PLAN — Specific goals and objectives include improving pedestrian connectivity, coordinating public and private improvements, providing and enhancing view corridors and retaining ample public parking.

The underlying assumptions are improving water quality, resident and visitor destination, maximizing dinghy storage and transient slips, providing storage for non-motorized boats, and providing at least three restroom buildings.

Public parking would entail no net loss; improve directional signage; a 20-foot waterfront promenade along the beach and bulkheads; no net loss to picnic shelters that are being relocated due to the proposed Marriott Residence Inn; and to the maximum extent possible, accommodate the needs of all users.

Public beach improvements include two waterfront promenades — one 20 feet wide and one 28 feet wide — relocated access ramp compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); relocated children’s playground; vertical accessways to beach; picnic shelters; and retaining the existing lifeguard tower.

Other beach improvements include stairs and seat wells; a beach volleyball venue; exhibition beach volleyball; removing the blockhouse; new palm tree clusters; new rowing shell racks; beach storage with the 20-foot-wide elevated promenade.

Public landside improvements include new public plaza areas; new public restrooms; refurbished public restrooms; new landscaped areas; new water feature entry monument; new dry stack dinghy storage shed; new boaters storage lockers; new ADA beach parking; retaining pullout lane; and a new parking structure.

Public waterside improvements include new pier floats; new pier end concession buildings; new, non-motorized boat side tie floats; water taxi landing; and new 30-foot slips for transient boaters and dinghies.

Comments from the Marina del Rey Design Control Board meeting on July 19th last year included avoiding a parking structure on the beach; providing for integration of a waterfront promenade for leasehold developments; providing multiple water features; improving water quality; avoiding lighting the night sky; providing better-scaled, more playful architectural expression; and using sustainable materials.

North beach improvement comments included a plaza for gathering; a water feature; a picnic structure; restroom; seating areas along waterfront promenade; and expand outrigger racks.

Pier structures comments included new pier structures with boat slips; side ties for non-motorized craft; shade structures at each end of piers; temporary concessions and small gatherings; and boat storage barn with storage lockers.

An alternative idea was a saltwater plunge pool, which is still being studied.

The next steps for Marina Beach are to prepare the final master plan; develop architectural expressions; cost estimating, phasing and implementation; further research of saltwater plunge pool; preparing final plan for Design Control Board review and action; a public hearing; and permit applications and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance.

BURTON CHACE PARK PREFERRED CONCEPT PLAN — The goal of Burton Chace Park is to celebrate the relationship between water, land and boating in Marina del Rey.

Buildings include a community center; a yacht club; recreational boating center; north restrooms; south restrooms; and a cafÈ, restrooms and storage.

Seven separate areas will delineate the park; Waterfront Walk; Marina Green; Mosaic Gardens; Chace Green; Park Green Way; Courtyard Campus; and Water Way.

A new community center would consist of 15,000 square feet; a new recreational boating center, 27,300 square feet; surface parking (92 car spaces, 46 boat spaces); and a parking structure (263 spaces).

The park area (excluding buildings and associated parking) is currently 6.8 acres. Proposed acreage is 10.5.

The waterfront walk and piers are currently 27,000 square feet and are proposed at 67,620 square feet.

Proposed are the Fishing Pier at 2,967 square feet, and Belvedere Pier, 1,800 square feet.

The park grounds are currently 67,324 square feet and are proposed at 127,143 square feet (all square footage above is plus/minus).

Project information and square footage details were expected to be available “later this month.” beaches .co.la.ca.us/bandh/main.htm/, clicking on “Development/RFP.”

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