Several owners of small boats and residents of Marina del Rey are alleging that a “double standard” is being employed by the Marina Sheriff’s Station and by County Beaches and Harbors, favoring developers and large boat owners over the “little guy.”

Hans Etter, owner of the Elizabeth Grace, and a number of other owners of small boats and residents in the Marina del Rey area are frustrated and angry, alleging that county officials are trying to drive out owners of small boats and liveaboards from the Marina.

Some boat owners have claimed that the supply and demand for boat slips is being “falsely tweaked” to favor the influx of developers building residential, hotel and retail parcels, “walling out” views and access to the Marina.

Three proposed developments, currently under consideration by the County Marina Design Control Board, would bring a combination of mixed-use retail, apartments and hotel and vacation ownership units to the Marina.

“It’s much more lucrative to have the developments coming in than renting out to small boats,” said one owner of a small boat who declined to give his name to The Argonaut.

“These new facilities could provide private docks for hotel and other guests,” he concluded.

“We are not discriminating against small boat owners or liveaboards,” replied Kerry Silverstrom, deputy director of the county Department of Beaches and Harbors deputy.

“The Marina del Rey Harbor is open for public use, and we do not plan to make changes,” Silverstrom said.

“We have 5,000 boats in the harbor, and only certain individuals like Etter and his gang making complaints that are totally false,” said Sheriff’s Sergeant Gary Thornton, assistant Marina harbormaster.

“Why aren’t we being contacted by the other 4,990 small boat owners if there’s a problem,” Thornton asked.

“Many small boat owners are afraid of retaliation and being asked to leave the Marina if they speak out,” said Etter.

Anchorage operators have told Marina officials in the past that Marina lessees are reconfiguring their anchorages from smaller slips to larger slips because there has been a greater demand in the Marina for larger slips, while many smaller slips remain vacant.

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