Individual working groups comprised of local boaters, residents, developers and lessees have presented their comments and ideas about the California Coastal Commission’s revised findings from last year on the Los Angeles County’s Marina del Rey Periodic Local Coastal Program (LCP).
The meeting Wednesday, May 13th was facilitated by Gina Natoli, supervising regional planner for the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning.
The working groups consisted of the Marine Resources and Water Quality; Recreational Boating 1 and 2 — Boating Group 2 split off from the first after they protested that individuals were videotaping the group in close proximity — New Development and Transportation; and Recreation and Visitor Facilities/Public Access.
One additional group was the Biological Resources and Environmentally Sensitive Habitats Working Group, which did not attend the meeting. Environmentalist Marcia Hanscom said that after she signed up for the group in August, members were never contacted by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning so they were not aware of other members who had signed up and did not meet with anyone.
Natoli told the audience that the working groups began meeting in October. She e-mailed the working groups on Wednesday, May 6th to advise them that the county had received the California Coastal Commission’s final adopted findings of the Marina del Rey LCP Periodic Review.
The county has one year from the date it received the adopted revised findings to respond with its own recommendations.
“I have compared these final recommendations with the version we’ve been working from, and I don’t see any changes that should affect most of you,” said Natoli in her e-mail to the groups.
“For New Development, the Coastal Commission has clarified in Recommendation 18A that they want to see a comprehensive LCP ‘update’ that incorporates anticipated future development requiring amendments and the Asset Management Strategy instead of a comprehensive ‘study,’” said Natoli.
She also advised that the working group members decide for themselves if this affects their comments for 18A to slightly revise the paragraph in the group’s report that addresses the study, but that she thought their comments still applied.
Coastal Commission staff “Recommendation of Approval” begins on page 21 of the Periodic Review document.
The entire final Periodic Review of April 23rd is available online under “Documents — Publications, etc.”: www.coastal.ca.gov/recap/mdr/mdr.html /.
All documentation and suggested revisions by the individual working groups — except for the Biological Resources group — and comments from We ARE Marina del Rey are online at http://planning.lacounty.gov/marina /.
MARINE RESOURCES AND WATER QUALITY —
The first group presenting was the Marine Resources and Water Quality covering Coastal Commission staff Recommendations # 5 to #14, discussing recommendations they agreed with and recommendations they revised.
The working group revised items #5 through #7, on aquatic habitat areas, eelgrass and Caulerpa Taxfolia (a species of seaweed) eradications.
Items #8 through #11 covered polluted runoff water from development and impact of development on water quality, storm water runoff and developments requiring a Coastal Development Permit, and the working group had revisions.
The group agreed with Coastal staff’s Recommendation #12 – revise LCP to ensure that development projects will be designed with the following principles and guidelines, and with #12J, #12K and #13.
The working group recommended revisions for Coastal staff Recommendations #12 A through #12 I which covered prohibiting discharge of pollutants; maintaining drainage and hydrological patterns; preserve and restore areas known to have water quality benefits; and reduce impervious areas.
On coastal staff recommendation #14 related to recreational boating, launches, dock materials; the working group added more in-depth suggestions.
RECREATIONAL BOATING WORKING GROUP 1 —
The Recreational Boating Group 1 agreed with Coastal Commission staff on Recommendations #1 through 4, that covered an updated comprehensive boater use, slip size and slip distribution study; continue to provide a mix of small, medium and large boat slips; delete the “Funnel Concept” and institute alternatives to create additional slips and promote recreational boating; and provide short-term day use docks at or close to visitor-serving facilities.
Boating Group 1 did not agree with Coastal Commission staff Recommendation #4A — no reduction in total boat slips and no reduction in slips 35 feet or less in length.
This group listed other issues and concerns suggesting additional slips along the main channel for boats 36 feet and above; access to Burton Chace Park and Marina (Mothers) Beach for recreational boaters; other protected recreational areas of the harbor; keeping revenues from boating in a separate fund for maintenance and enhancement of recreational boating; and revising the LCP to protect Marina Beach;
An independent comprehensive boater use, slip size and size distribution study to assess boater facility needs; and a moratorium on dock and boating facility redevelopment until the new, independent comprehensive study is completed.
NEW DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSPORTATION WORKING GROUP – RECOMMENDATIONS #15 THROUGH #26—
The vision and guiding principles of this group included enhancing both the quality of life of residents and visitors’ coastal experience; encourage public usage and access of the Marina; and provide for balanced redevelopment in conformity with the goals and policies of the certified LCP and Coastal Act.
This group agreed with the Coastal Commission staff Recommendation #15 on traffic studies that a comprehensive study by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors be completed using recent and comprehensive models.
They commented on impacts of surrounding projects (in the City of Los Angeles surrounding the Marina); parking to support traffic counts, maintaining quality of life and accounting for emergency needs.
The working group agreed with Coastal Commission staff on Recommendations #16, #18A, and #19 through #22, and #24.
They did not reach consensus on #23 (hotels), unable to agree on timeshare developments.
RECREATIONAL BOATING WORKING GROUP 2 —
This working group agreed with Coastal Commission staff Recommendation #1 through #3.
They did not agree with Recommendation #4 regarding the use of short-term day use docks at key parcels and that concentration should be at commercial areas.
This group said it was a bad idea to make a blanket statement on the reduction of slips or sizes; encouraged following the Noble and ADK&A reports for guidance (subject to lessee association comments) on reconfiguration; and said that the Marina needs to be built for the future and not the past.
RECREATION AND VISITOR FACILITIES/PUBLIC ACCESS WORKING GROUP —
This group’s mission statement is that Marina del Rey was intended as a water-oriented regional asset for both local residents and visitors; its unique characteristics should be expanded in order to appeal to a broader public; redevelopment on privately held parcels in the Marina should correspond with upgraded publicly held parcels, including public parks, beaches, and streetscape.
According to the group, this will enhance the community’s ability to generate tax revenues and provide more public amenities; enhance water access; expand public facilities for recreation, leisure, and public events; and provide uniquely water-focused commercial amenities for local residents and visitors to the area.
The working group proposed a number of initiatives and public access objectives in their presentation.
BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE HABITATS WORKING GROUP—
Hanscom provided recommendations for inclusion on biological resources and environmentally sensitive habitats.
Recommendations were to include mapping specific known areas where nesting and roosting Great Blue Herons and Black-Crowned Night Herons and egrets (Snowy Egret and Great Egret) are located and designating those sites, including a buffer around these areas to be designated ESHA (Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area) as the Coastal Commission recommended in its January 2008 votes on the Periodic Review of the Marina del Rey LCP.
Other recommendations include: lighting be disallowed on Fiji Way due to ESHA on adjacent Area A of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and that other considerations related to this ESHA be articulated.
Additional recommendations are to ensure that the policy on ESHA for the Coastal Act be repeated in the Marina LCP — while it was removed when Area A was segmented out of the LCP, the Coastal Commission’s analysis that the new information about Parcel 9-U (Woodfin Hotel Suite) being a wetland and the new nesting an roosting activities as analyzed by the Coastal Commission ecologist, Dr. Jonna Engel, required that ESHA (which is defined in the Marina LCP) policies be returned to the LCP and that they mirror Coastal Act policies, clarified by the Bolsa Chica legal decision (one can not move an ESHA or any part of an ESHA).