The Los Angeles County Small Craft Harbor Commission recommended forwarding an amended/restated lease on one project and a mitigated negative declaration and amended/restated lease on another project in Marina del Rey to the county Board of Supervisors at its June 9th meeting.

Under new business at the meeting, the applicant for the Villa Venetia Apartments asked to withdraw the item regarding approval of a mitigated negative declaration and an option for an amended and restated lease.

The mitigated negative declaration and option for an amended and restated lease for Tahiti Marina Apartments and Docks was recommended to be sent to the Board of Supervisors.

The proposed Tahiti Marina Apartments project entails the renovation of the existing 149 apartment units and the dockside facilities, and the complete replacement of the marina within 12 years after completion of construction of the landside improvements.

Nancy Vernon Marino, co-director of the group We ARE Marina del Rey, said the county should present all of the Marina projects at one meeting for greater attendance, rather than presenting one project at a time. She claimed that the county doesn’t have a comprehensive plan for the Marina, but a “piecemeal, batched” plan.

“If the county is going to put all of the waterside projects together it should put all of the marinas together and divide the space so that dock elimination is lessened,” she said.

Marino said there is no empirical evidence showing that the reduction in the number of small slips and the increase in the number of large slips has not satisfied any demand that there may have been for larger slips.

She referred to a story of a man who came to the commission meeting last year saying he had a big boat and wanted a bigger slip.

“That’s what you’re facing here. Boating needs to be a fair price because it’s not a free market, and you can’t have a fair market pricing policy if you restrict supply and then you artificially reduce and limit supply. You will not have free market forces, you will have a closed market monopoly,” Marino said.

“This is not fair to boaters and it’s not fair to people of Los Angeles County who need access to the Marina.

“Simply because the county needs money doesn’t mean it should try to go after bigger fish. You need to preserve boating across the spectrum if you want boating to survive into the future,” Marino said.

Santos Kreimann, director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors responded, “I completely agree with (Marino) on one point. We need to preserve boating across the spectrum for boaters, and I believe that is what we’re trying to accomplish with our dock plan.

“It would be a consolidation or a batching of the various marinas that are being renovated or replaced in the future. This is what’s being discussed regarding Parcel 125 (Marina City Club).”

Jon Nahhas of the Boating Coalition told the commission that while he appreciates that the county has finally come up with a master coastal development permit (CDP) for dock replacement, he claimed that this was the first he and the public had heard about it.

Kreimann responded that the concept of a master waterside amendment has been discussed in the past and that every single one of the projects that will be part of the master CDP has been heard by this particular audience.

The Marina City Club’s amended/restated lease was approved to forward to the Board of Supervisors.

The Marina City Club’s revised anchorage replacement schedule is being affected because the Department of Beaches and Harbors has chosen to process one master waterside coastal development permit for all anchorage replacements, as preferred by the California Coastal Commission. Essex Marina City Club, L.P. the parcel 125R lessee, will be unable to meet deadlines to obtain entitlements for and complete construction of the new anchorage, states county documentation.

Accordingly, a proposed amendment extends the deadlines to secure entitlements and complete construction until eight months and 30 months, respectively, after the date the Coastal Commission approves the county’s master waterside CDP.

“In talking with the California Coastal Commission, and other coastal commissioners, this is really an issue that is statewide and needs to be addressed. I believe that Marina del Rey, Long Beach, Channel Islands — we’re following the process that Channel Islands has, where they batch all of their marinas together and process one coastal development permit for their waterside projects,” said Kreimann.

“We’re following, at the direction of the coastal staff, that particular model.”

Kreimann noted that the subject has had a thorough public vetting and has been discussed, but one of the commissioners said he didn’t recall the discussion.

Nahhas said, “A study is not a plan. We see at other harbors that the harbor directors meet with the boaters to decide what’s going on. (Kreimann’s) now telling us there’s a master plan for dock development and hasn’t had one boating community meeting.

“That’s a big concern. You talk about these small ones coming through, but we’re talking about a massive, comprehensive plan. You have to go out to the community and say ‘Here’s what we have coming in the pipeline and we’d like your input,’ because in the LCP it says, ‘maximizing public input,’ and you’re confusing the public.

“You’re going to roll out the master CDP and the public doesn’t know about it?” added Nahhas.

Resident Carla Andrus said she wasn’t aware of the master plan CDP, but emphasized that the county needs to look at lease renewals and make the public part of the process.

County officials said that Tahiti Marina’s lease amendment will be moved to the Board of Supervisor’s Tuesday, July 6th agenda.

The complete mitigated negative declaration for the Tahiti Marina Apartments project can be viewed online on the home page, “Parcel 7 MND” at:

http://marinadelrey.lacounty.gov /.

Several residents of Tahiti Marina testified that they are very pleased about the renovations and that the lessee has always acted responsibly, upgrading the facilities on a regular basis and meeting with tenants to let them know what was going on.

Marino reiterated that a master plan was needed for Marina projects rather than everything being presented “piece-meal.”

Small Craft Harbor Commission chair Russ Lesser responded that the Marina was started a long time ago and that “you couldn’t go back and change the way things were done.”

He pointed out that each lessee is an individual, as is each project, and they don’t plan changes to their parcels in the same timeframe.

But Marino said that communities have general plans for development. The Local Coastal Program (LCP) permits so much redevelopment, and the Coastal Commission had stated that no more public land could be turned over for private development, she said.

“All of this is inter-related with the redevelopment. If you’re going to change an element of it, you have to look at the whole. There is a plan, but the county is not following the plan,” Marino claimed.

All of the parking lot projects violate the policy in the LCP, alleged Marino.

Kreimann said, “There is nothing illegal about what we are doing to the extent that the plan that was developed in 1996 needs to change as a result of the development that the county wants to pursue.”

“There is a process that’s in place called a local coastal plan amendment, and that’s what we are pursuing. We are not doing anything different than what any other community in this great state has the ability to do,” he said.

Kreimann said there have been a total of three local coastal plan amendments to the LCP.

“If you compare that to other global entities, they’ve had over a 100 amendments in that particular point in time. I think we’re being very responsible about how we’re pursuing our projects. We are following the law and we are going through the process,” Kreimann said.

He said that the Coastal Commission will have the final say about what goes on with the project and that’s the direction in which the county will go.

Kreimann said he “wanted to clarify one point: that the master waterside development permit is just that, a permit, and not an amendment to the LCP, and that’s one distinction that needs to be made.”

“We’re talking about a plan. We’re talking really about a purpose to allow us to move forward and reconstruct some of these marinas that are falling into the ocean. This is the quickest way we think we can move forward to reconstruct some of these docks,” stated Kreimann.

CINDY WILLIAMS HONORED WITH A COUNTY SCROLL —

Cindy Williams, president of the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, was honored at the meeting with a scroll in appreciation of her work on behalf of the community. The scroll was presented to Williams on behalf of county Supervisor Don Knabe by his deputy Steve Napolitano.

Napolitano told the audience that Williams has been instrumental in putting together the boat parade every holiday season, and that she is being recognized for her great work and service in the community.

“When she heard that the New Year’s Eve fireworks would be cut because of budget cuts, she said ‘no,’” Napolitano said. “Williams stepped in and saved the New Year’s Eve fireworks by approaching community businesses and asking them to help make the fireworks possible.”

He explained that due to budget cuts of 18 percent last year, the county Department of Beaches and Harbors was unable to identify funds for the fireworks because it had to conserve money for core services.

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