A public meeting to solicit public input for preparation of the Request for Proposal (RFP) and to provide the public with principal objectives for the development of Parcels 49 and 77 in Marina del Rey instead became a meeting about ongoing issues regarding development in the Marina.

The meeting was held Tuesday, August 11th at the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey.

Santos Kreimann, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, presented information on the two parcels and said that the project is necessary to revitalize the Marina and make it a relevant place in light of the competition surrounding it with City of Los Angeles projects.

“This meeting is highly unusual. Never before has a meeting taken place before the RFP hit the streets,” Kreimann said.

“We’re listening to the public at the front end, rather than after the development plan is made public.”

Another meeting on this project is scheduled at 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 25th at the Burton Chace Park Community Building, 13650 Mindanao Way.

A Request for Quotation (RFQ) and a subsequent RFP was approved in May by the county Board of Supervisors, enabling Kreimann and his staff to select four developers from a short list of proposers to respond to the RFP.

The site of Parcels 49 and 77 is along the south side of Admiralty Way, extending from Mindanao Way to Fiji Way.

The site contains extensive water frontage, and Parcel 77 was acquired to be part of the adjoining Burton Chace Park. The exact portions of the parcels to be utilized for development are at the discretion of the proposer, as well as the total buildout for which entitlements will be sought.

Kreimann said his department’s new mantra is to “always think about the water first” and that forward-going projects will be focused on that goal.

How the parcels connect, including Parcel 77 by Burton Chace Park, is important, said Kreimann, adding that he had received a lot of good input from the public about what it wants in the future expanded park.

An amendment to the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program (LCP) would be required for this project.

In his presentation, Kreimann said that any combination of the following may be developed:

— up to 135,000 square feet of visitor-serving commercial uses with no residential units;

— up to 255 residential units with 116,495 square feet of visitor-serving commercial uses;

— up to 26,000 square feet for a Beaches and Harbors Administration Building in both scenarios above.

Other planning considerations include 304 mast-up storage spaces; 233 combination boater/trailer parking spaces; pedestrian access and bike path; and a launch ramp.

The four principal development objectives include:

— recapturing the special place Marina del Rey has had as a leisure and visitor-serving destination, and expanding the attractiveness of the Marina to recreational boaters;

— taking advantage of site opportunities to create a combination of waterfront and expanded park exposure unique among commercial/visitor-serving locations along the coast;

— capitalizing on the location of the site as the “front door” to Marina del Rey, with an exciting mix of pedestrian-friendly and interconnected uses that relate strongly to the water; and

— capturing the long-term asset value of the county-owned Marina del Rey real property.

Interested parties may submit written comments on the project by e-mail to Pwong@bh.lacounty.gov,

or by mail to

Parcels 49 and 77 RFQ/RFP Committee, Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, 13837 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292.

A copy of the presentation material is available online,

http://marinadelrey.lacounty.gov/.

PUBLIC COMMENT —

Kreimann said that “despite what some thought, it’s not all about the money,” noting that recreation and the community are at the forefront and developers are secondary.

“For people that live here it’s a privilege, not a right, and that just because they got here first, my brother, who lives in Whittier, should have the right to live here too,” he said. “That’s why we have one-year leases, so they have to be renewed.

“Those people who’ve been here 25 years, people with condos, they also have the right to be here. The fact of the matter is, I’m told this all the time that this is public land,” Kreimann continued.

“We try to provide services for the broader population. In terms of development, there has to be for the area to continue to thrive. I have to approach it by doing the best we can, with the right mix and right developers,” said Kreimann.

The last time a new hotel was built was in 1987 and not one new room has since been added, he said.

DeDe Audet, a Venice resident and past president of the Venice Neighborhood Council, said that the county needs to consider surrounding communities regarding the traffic impact of development in the Marina. She said she’s been living in the area since the Marina community was built.

“Talk about design, what is unique here is the water. How can visitors even get to the water?” she asked.

Kreimann said that he respects the neighborhood councils and in terms of surrounding communities, he has made an effort to attend various council meetings, speaking at the Mar Vista Community Council and the Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council. He said he has not been invited to speak to the Venice Neighborhood Council, which supported a moratorium on development in the Marina.

All developers in Marina del Rey are required to pay traffic mitigation fees, but the City of Los Angeles doesn’t require such fees from developers, he said.

Kreimann pointed out that Costco, one of the buildings at Marina Pointe Drive, a proposed 31-story building on Lincoln Boulevard, Playa Vista, and the mixed-use retail project at Lincoln Boulevard and Manchester Avenue in Westchester didn’t pay any traffic mitigation fees.

Audet responded that the Marina was built with federal money and those projects were not.

“We have never asked the city to stop development anywhere,” Kreimann said.

Resident Nancy Vernon Marino told Kreimann that the county should have followed the California Coastal Commission recommendation in 2008 for a comprehensive upgrade of the Marina del Rey LCP.

“If you proceed, all these development projects are unilaterally thrust upon us, a violation of key provisions of the general plan, with several projects needing amendments to zoning,” she said.

Kreimann said that the LCP is a “fluid document” like the City of Los Angeles General Plan, and provisions in the law allow for changes to that document.

Audet said that the benefits of this project were being addressed, but questioned if the losses have been considered. Kreimann said the meeting on Tuesday, August 25th would address that information.

Kreimann said project information is available on the county Web site. He said he can be contacted through e-mail and members of the public can schedule a meeting with him or his staff.

Marino told Kreimann that “the community wants to be involved at the very beginning of the process where you address land use and land use changes, not just earlier in the process like this meeting.”

One woman said that “mitigation means nothing when you’re dealing with traffic, and that it’s impossible to get all those cars out of the Marina. It’s hardly possible now on Ocean Avenue into Venice.”

Kreimann said that the Costco project is the number one generator of traffic in the area, as it generates more traffic on a daily basis than 18 of the Marina projects would.

Kreimann said he could see in newspapers that the image of Marina del Rey is not a good one, adding that it needs improvement and upgrading.

He asked the audience members to talk about their ideas for this project, saying that he knows the challenges and wants to hear what the community has to say.

The RFP will contain a lot of information from public comments that will be considered by the prospective developer, Kreimann said.

Marino asked if one option was to say that the public wants to see the LCP honored and only have public use facilities on the parcel, specifically boating.

Regarding the public launch ramp on the site, Kreimann said that he doesn’t know what the developer would have in mind for the site, but information from the public should help identify the parameters.

He said it would be important for the county during these economic times that the developer be induced to improve the public launch ramp use; develop dry stack storage, and redo all of the docks.

Resident Carla Andrus said that she didn’t see how this group could come up with a comprehensive plan with limited time to speak, and that the community needs time to assess what’s been addressed and allow the public to discuss the possibilities.

The Villa Venetia project was supposed to be a new high-rise complex, but after Beaches and Harbors evaluated it, the department made it clear to the lessee that renovations might be the way to go, said Kreimann.

“Marina del Rey has to have renovations and new development and there is no getting around it. Partnering with lessees and the public to find a plan that all can live with is the goal. Some people don’t want any new development, others do. We need a happy medium,” Kreimann said.

Audet said that it’s not just Venice, but Del Rey, Westchester and Playa del Rey that will be affected by Marina development, and that it was the county’s duty to inform the neighborhood councils that are affected by this development since they are part of the city charter and they are official.

The question of mast-up storage for sailboats is very important, said one speaker. He said there is currently a waiting list. His main concern is people using the Marina for recreation and boating and they shouldn’t be squeezed out by hotels and restaurants.

The speaker said that boaters should be notified of meetings regarding mast-up storage.

Resident Dorothy Franklin said that the county has let the maintenance go, and she would like to see more amenities on the public parking lots, utilizing them for what was intended. She also asked for cooperation on a master plan and requested a development overlay of some type to show all of the developments in different colors to differentiate between them, providing a broader scope of the projects.

Beverly Moore, the executive director of the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that it looks like the Marina has an opportunity to capitalize on the waterfront, and that it’s better to patronize restaurants and shops there than in other areas like Santa Monica.

“The Marina has stagnated, and surrounding areas have been updated and are more attractive. Whether you’re a boater or not, you can sit outside, enjoying snacks and beverages,” she said.

Lynne Shapiro said she wants Burton Chace Park left as a park without a six-story parking structure, adding that it’s unique and beautiful, with activities for children and seniors.

She recommended that a parking structure be placed near Fiji Way across from the Waterside Marina shopping center to have more parking and less traffic congestion.

Pat Younis said she agrees about mast-up storage and launch ramp use. She would like to see a pedestrian bridge across Admiralty Way to Mindanao Way and a wetland walkway traverse Fiji Way with sidewalks along the wetland for improved viewing.

Kreimann said he had hoped the meeting would have addressed amenities for Parcels 49/77, but the focus changed to other issues. Regarding the boating community, Kreimann said there would always be a place for the small boater.

He said he hasn’t enforced the boat overhang issue in slips, noting that he walks past 23 or 24-foot boats in 20-foot boat slips, or a 35-foot boat in a 30-foot slip.

“I have to balance those things and it’s a difficult job,” he said. “I can’t do what everyone wants, but boating is at the forefront, and making a viable community for visitors on public lands and for people that live here in apartments. Boating is a privilege, not a right,” said Kreimann.

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