More affordable housing could be in Marina del Rey’s future

By Gary Walker

Janice Hahn


Known for decades as the home of wealthy boat owners and the playground of well-heeled swinging singles in the 1970s and ’80s, Marina del Rey’s reputation as a community of the affluent is still intact, given monthly rents in some of its new high-rises can be upwards of $4,500.

It is also a community where long-time residents are beginning to feel priced out of their neighborhood due to escalating rents, making it increasingly difficult for those who live on a fixed income to afford to live there.

As part of a renewed focus on statewide housing, the Los Angles County Board of Supervisors on March 10 unanimously approved a new series of housing policy proposals that include: a new 100% affordable housing development, and an increase in the community’s affordable housing requirements from 15% to 20% — moves aimed at easing financial burdens on seniors and low- and middle-income residents.

Included in the package of recommendations is a mechanism for marina lessees to provide income and occupancy surveys for properties that seek permits for substantial renovation or demolition that would prompt affordable housing oversight under the Mello Act, a 1982 state law designed to protect affordable housing within the coastal zone.

The new policy proposal also includes amendments to the Marina del Rey Affordable Housing Policy which will redefine the definition of  “substantial rehabilitation” and include affordable housing and major renovation projects within the coastal area.

Marina Lessees Association President David Levine could not be reached for comment.

The site of the recommended affordable housing complex is a parking lot near Palawan and Admiralty ways, between Oxford Basin and a Hilton Garden Inn.

Nicole Mooradian, a spokeswoman with the county Dept. of Beaches and Harbors, said no plans have been submitted as yet for a housing development.

Venice resident Jed Pauker, who has challenged coastal zone demolitions in Venice that have been replaced with large-scale developments often in contrast to the community’s Specific Plan, applauded the supervisors’ plan.

“This can work in concert with maximizing very low-income housing and identifying county certified replacement housing to address the complex sources and effects of our housing crises. Let’s reboot developer engagement by eliminating ‘net new’  standards for new affordable housing and redefining ‘demolition’ to include substantial reconstruction,” Pauker said.

The supervisors directed the county Development Authority, county planners and Beaches and Harbors officials to report back to them in the fall with feedback on its policy proposals.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents Marina del Rey and in 2018 brokered a deal to bring more affordable housing units to Mariners Village, noted that the tony community has low-income residents as well as wealthy homeowners.

“I think for so long Marina del Rey seemed to be only for the rich and famous. And yet, this really is county-owned property. It was a man-made marina specifically in unincorporated county,” Hahn told the board. “This is really, in my opinion, for all of the people in the county of Los Angeles to enjoy.”