Boats anchored at sea wall and affordable housing leases are among other topics at Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting

BY HELGA GENDELL

Allegations of “black market” boat slips in Marina del Rey were again raised after a yacht broker at a previous meeting said he was aware of such recent activity, and some residents claim this activity has been prevalent for years.

Individuals are told that boat slips aren’t available, but boaters have obtained them by paying a “black market” fee to various individuals, some alleged.

These comments were made at the Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting on Wednesday, April 16th, at the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey.

Los Angeles county counsel Tom Faughnan said anyone with information on the alleged practice should bring it forward, and Russ Lesser, chair of the Small Craft Harbor Commission, agreed, saying the County Sheriff’s Department as well as the IRS would be interested if the allegations are true and can be proved.

Faughnan said there is no specific factual information to investigate discrimination against renters of boat slips, and that laws are in place to address any such discrimination.

Another issue at the meeting was boats that are moored against the sea wall at the Marina, a practice which had been disallowed. One speaker said that boats anchored along the sea wall are not considered to be in boat slips, and therefore the number of boat slips available or lost to development wouldn’t be accurately counted.

Kerry Silverstrom, chief deputy of the County Department of Beaches and Harbors, said that kayaks and dinghies are allowed to be anchored by the sea wall, and the county does receive revenue from this, but the speaker said that sailboats and powerboats were being anchored there as well, prompting Silverstrom to say, “Let us know where they are and we’ll check into it.”

The issue of renters of what is designated as “affordable housing” at the Capri Apartments in the Marina not receiving leases from the lessee, Goldrich & Kest, was brought up by a resident and P.O.W.E.R. (People Organized for Westside Renewal) member, stating that this is a Mello Act violation.

Jun Yang, a P.O.W.E.R. representative, told the commissioners that although these renters had received checks from owners Goldrich & Kest to remedy earlier overbilling of affordable housing rentals at the Capri Apartments, no one has received a new lease since leases expired four-and-a-half months ago, and residents are concerned that they could be evicted.

Faughnan said the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission (CDC) has issues that are being worked out with Goldrich & Kest, and once finalized, the lessee can enter into new leases with tenants.

Faughnan said this was a new program, and the first time there is affordable housing in the Marina, and that the Community Development Commission is new at monitoring the program.

Lesser asked Faughnan to remind the Community Development Commission and the lessee of the frustrations of these renters, asking if the process would be completed by the Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting next month, and Faughnan said, “I’m not going to say that.”

Lesser said one project at a time is reviewed by the Small Craft Harbor Commission because there are multiple lessees, and that he is requesting information from Santos Kreimann, newly-appointed acting director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors, to facilitate a better understanding of development projects.

Lesser is asking Kreimann for a list of all pending projects in the Marina, including:

— future requests for pending projects that received approval and how they relate to the Local Coastal Program (LCP) “allowability rate of proposed amendments”;

— which marinas still need renovations, and if renovated, what happens to the total number of boat slips taking into account the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requirements; and

— long-range plans for boat slips/dry stack storage.

Lesser also requested that Kreimann plan a meeting with the Department of Beaches and Harbors with the lessees and community members to consider a ten-to-20-year “vision plan” for the Marina and how that would look.

One woman in the audience said a large, well-publicized meeting of all Neighborhood Councils and community organizations is necessary, with everyone receiving ample notice.

She said the LCP sets forth a Master Plan for Marina del Rey, and the process is that the county abides by the laws.

Another speaker said that if this many amendments are required, perhaps there is something wrong with the existing LCP.

Lesser said that he agreed and that’s why he wants to begin taking these steps related to redevelopment and new development.

One speaker said the printed reports on Marina development don’t show the number of slips lost, and that he wants the report to include the number of slips before and after development.

Lesser said that was a valid point and that that information will be part of the new process, to learn the ultimate effect these projects have on the Marina.

The speaker asked that the Department of Beaches and Harbors “not filter the information it provides to the public,” asking that the county “give us everything it has.”

Another speaker was concerned about the loss of their homes by liveaboard boaters and spoke about the “unreasonable displacement” of these individuals.

He told the audience that if someone’s home is taken away by eminent domain, they at least get reimbursed, but if the county does away with boat slips or builds the State Route 90 Marina Expressway through to the Marina (one of several potential plans being studied in an environmental impact report), boaters will lose their homes with no reimbursement and no recourse.

The allegation by another speaker that the lessee of the Holiday Harbor project, Goldrich & Kest, is in breach of its contract was denied by Faughnan, who said the lessee is not now in breach but needs to request an extension of his lease from the county.

“No dates have yet been triggered,” said Faughnan.

The speaker said that the Holiday Harbor project should already have started on a substantial amount of construction, and that with six months notice to tenants and nine months to complete the projects, dates had not been met, and there is insufficient time to tear down and then rebuild the project within those nine months.

Faughnan said he agreed that time is running out, but said it is not yet appropriate to fine for breach of contract and that the county needs to talk to the lessee.

Kreimann said he planned to meet with Goldrich & Kest principals the week of April 21st.

Mike Tripp of the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning Special Project Section gave an update on 16 projects under way in the Marina that are listed on the Beaches and Harbors “Marina del Rey Redevelopment Projects Description and Status of Regulatory/Proprietary Approvals.”

Among the projects:

— the Marina del Rey Hotel/ Pacifica Hotels, slated for complete renovation: no update;

— the Boat Central project, comprised of a 367-vessel dry-stack storage, 30-vessel mast-up storage (for sailboats) and the County Sheriff’s Department boatwright facility: the draft EIR (environmental impact report) is needed;

— Fisherman’s Village, slated for demolition and new development: a draft EIR being prepared;

—Villa Venetia redevelopment: no information has been received;

— the Marina del Rey Landing/Harbor fuel dock facility: scheduled for a hearing May 14th;

— Neptune Marina: a draft EIR has been sent to the Department of Regional Planning;

—Woodfin Suite Hotel and Vacation Ownership: shares jointly in the EIR with Neptune Marina;

— Del Rey Shores: no review yet;

— Marina West Shopping Center: no information received;

— Marina International Hotel/Pacifica Hotels: no information received;

— Admiralty Courts: Department of Regional Planning is waiting for a revision to the draft EIR;

— The Waterfront: a revision of the project to go before the Marina del Rey Design Control Board in the future;

—Jamaica Bay Inn renovation: has been approved;

— Marriott Residence Inn: no information received;

— Holiday Harbor Courts: requires revision of the draft EIR; and

—the Department of Beaches and Harbors administration building: requires determination of a parcel location.

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