The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors held a second public meeting Thursday, August 27th to solicit public input for preparation of the Request for Proposal (RFP) and to provide principal objectives for the development of Parcels 49 and 77 in Marina del Rey.
Department Director Santos Kreimann presented the 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 the Marina with City of Los Angeles projects.”
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 (Parcels 49 and 77) is along the south side of Admiralty Way, extending from Mindanao Way to Fiji Way.
The proposed project consists of approximately 16.91 acres of land and up to 1.58 acres of water area in prime Marina del Rey waterfront for the development of a commercial/retail center containing up to 135,000 square feet of visitor-serving commercial space (specialty retail and restaurant venues), boating storage, launching facilities, public parking and optional residential buildings, according to county documentation.
An optional Department of Beaches and Harbors administration building at approximately 26,000 square feet may also be included in the project.
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 is the total buildout for which entitlements would be sought.
An amendment to the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program (LCP) would be required.
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 a 26,000-square foot 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.
Kreimann said that the benefits of this project include: reestablishing Marina del Rey as a regional destination for visitors and residents alike; enhancing boating-related activities and programs; increasing amenities for local residents; creating a synergy between retail, restaurants, residential and commercial tenants; attracting tourists and providing new and expanded recreational activities; and increasing revenue to fund the county-wide public benefit programs.
A copy of the presentation material is available online at http://marinadelrey.lacounty.gov/.
Kreimann said he is concerned about the infrastructure of the Marina, which he noted is in need of renovation and redevelopment, citing articles about the “aging” Marina and Fisherman’s Village in the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Kreimann said he wants to restore the Marina and make it “as wonderful an asset as it was in its heyday,” in the 1960s and 1970s.
Concerned about major development by the cities of Los Angeles and Culver City just outside of Marina del Rey boundaries, Kreimann said that the Marina and the county deserve “our share of the pie” in getting visitors and locals to utilize what the Marina has to offer.
Parcel 77 is supposed to be an extension of Burton Chace Park, and it should work in synergy with Parcel 49, he said.
Enhancing boating-related programs and activities, bringing in retail such as grocery, cleaners and coffee shops, a synergy between retail, restaurants, residential and commercial, as well as increasing revenue generated from the area are all part of the goal, Kreimann said.
Key points regarding public comment from the August 11th meeting included: soliciting visitors, maintaining the bike path, the launch ramp, preserving mast-up storage, adding a public hoist for the launch ramp, and parking at Fiji Way for access to shops and the water.
Other suggestions included: being able to dock a boat and walk to restaurants and other establishments; transporting the public by water; a pedestrian bridge over Admiralty and Mindanao ways; and the placement of the Beaches and Harbors administration building on Admiralty Way.
Local boater Jon Nahhas asked about the vast amount of boaters and the following of the California Coastal Act. He said that wherever possible, boating recreational resources clearly stipulated dry stack and wet storage, and wet slips.
“We embrace those requirements,” Kreimann said. “Those issues are addressed by the development proposal, which is now a blank slate, and we look to preserve and expand where possible.”
Nahhas then asked if there could be no expansion at all, but Kreimann responded that the department couldn’t allow having no boating amenities on the development.
Resident Nancy Vernon Marino said that the developer must retain or replace existing boater facilities, and that it doesn’t say anything about expanding.
David Barish of the group We ARE Marina del Rey asked if what the county is proposing is not allowed in the LCP, and inquired about the “water-oriented” commercial definition. He said that the “goals of the parcel are too great for what can be done here, and keeping existing boating uses seems like it doesn’t fit the project.”
Barish recommended preserving boating as much as possible, along with having an Olympic-size pool and a wave pool for youths; training for kayaking, scuba diving; having a public, open-air, fresh-food produce market and local artists, possibly at Burton Chace Park.
“We need to focus on the real public and boater use,” Barish said. “We have water and the Ballona Wetlands in this area.”
Resident John Rizzo said that an expert is needed on recreation and to look at parking, but not a business expert.
“We should have parking for seniors at the park,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense. We have enough revenue producing, now let’s put in some free stuff. People need to recreate.
“I don’t see too many people come in and say we must generate revenue. This revenue idea is killing us,” Rizzo continued.
Nahhas referred to the California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW), which states that the vehicle and boat launch facilities component should minimize vehicle and boat traffic.
He said that what the county describes has more traffic if restaurants are put on the parcel, and added that “you can’t do this on that parcel of land.”
Nahhas said that DBW requires sufficient parking during peak boating use, and that the department guidelines will be changing to accommodate for future use.
He said that with the claim by the county that boats are getting bigger, there will not be enough space, and that the county is contradicting its own boating study.
Nahhas recommended that Parcel 77 be used for abandoned boats, referencing state Assemblyman Ted Lieu’s recent town hall meeting in the Marina and the suggestion that there will be 35 percent more abandoned boats.
“The increase in abandoned boats is not because of the economy, it’s the slip fees of 50 to 60 percent that the developer increased,” claimed Nahhas.
“We need a nonprofit place where boaters can work on their boats, because two shipyards cannot accommodate the need, and boaters have to go to other places,” he said.
Vernon Marino said that residents “want to sit down and talk about what Marina del Rey will become. The LCP has a vision for that, and the county is not following that vision.”
She added, “We need a master plan to look at recreation as a whole in Marina del Rey because what the county is doing is concentrating all small boat usage at the end of Basin H, and turning Mothers (Marina) Beach into a hotel/commercial area in the six upcoming projects that have marina redevelopment.
“Over 800 slips under 35 feet will be eliminated. Where are those boats going to go? You’re not building new marinas for slips for small boats, so they have to go up on land to dry stack storage, mast-up storage or trailers,” she said.
Resident Carla Andrus suggested that the site could be an urban campsite, “a convenient, spend-the-night area,” with a common cooking area and campfire. She suggested a plan that makes connections with Burton Chace Park, the launch ramp, an Olympic pool, an open-air market, and connecting with the wetlands on Parcel 9U (where the Woodfin is planned).
“I’m faced with the difficult job of figuring out if we should stop planning or move forward,” Kreimann said. “The important thing is whatever we do, is that we build something iconic, that is a draw and will bring people to Marina del Rey.”
People said they are concerned because Marina del Rey is “it” for many boaters, with other harbors located at King Harbor in Redondo Beach, then Oxnard and Channel Islands/Ventura.
Kreimann said the issue his department and the county have is that the Marina was built in the 1960s, and most of the boats are wider and bigger.
“We have a finite amount of water space in these particular areas that require larger areas to accommodate boats, and will have a reduction of slips,” he said.
“The issue that I have as the director is what does the Marina look like 20 to 30 years from now. I have to look at trends, extrapolate, and I believe the boating community of the 1960s has grown up, with people getting larger boats,” he said.
“I want to make it perfectly clear that there will always be a place in Marina del Rey for small boaters,” Kreimann continued. “My challenge is to bring a balance to what we’re doing with the planning issues in Marina del Rey. I can’t ignore the 60-foot yacht person, I can’t ignore the 30-footer or the small boater. It has to be a balance, and that’s what we’re trying to get to, a balance.”