The Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission approved the proposed Marina del Rey Oceana Retirement Facility at the Wednesday, April 28th commission meeting in Los Angeles. Commissioner Harold Helsley was the lone vote in opposition.
Helsley said that the Oceana proposal was the wrong project for that location, and that the county should be making rule changes to the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program (LCP) first before approving projects.
The Regional Planning Commission consists of five members, appointed to four-year terms by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The commissioners are Esther Valadez (First District); Leslie Bellamy (Second District); Harold Helsley (Third District); Wayne Rew, chair (Fourth District); and Pat Modugno, vice chair (Fifth District).
The project will go before the Board of Supervisors at a date to be determined.
OCEANA RETIREMENT FACILITY —
The project applicant, MDR Oceana LLC, is requesting approval to demolish an existing public surface parking lot containing 186 parking spaces and appurtenant landscaping on Parcel OT, located near the northeast corner of Palawan Way and Admiralty Way, with frontages on both Admiralty Way and Washington Boulevard.
Associated land use entitlements for the project consist of the following: a coastal development permit to authorize demolition of all existing landside improvements and subsequent construction;
A conditional use permit to authorize visitor-serving/convenience commercial uses on a parcel with a mixed-use overlay zone; and
A parking permit to authorize the transfer of public parking spaces from Parcel OT to an off-site location in Marina del Rey (Parcel 21).
The applicant is requesting amendments to the LCP authorizing the transfer development potential between the development zones — 114 hotel units from the Admiralty Development Zone #7 and 3,500 square feet of visitor-serving/convenience commercial space from the Palawan/Beach Development Zone #5 to the Oxford Development Zone #6. The applicant has additionally requested re-designation of Parcel OT’s land use designation from parking to the creation of an active seniors accommodations facility designation with a mixed-use overlay zone.
The Regional Planning Commission had requested at a previous meeting that the active seniors accommodations land use category be revised to include “congregate care” as a potential use.
The new definition of the use reads:
“Active Seniors Accommodations: a specialized facility for the housing of active persons over age 60 who may or may not be retired. Units shall contain no more than two bedrooms and shall not provide a kitchen.
“However, communal dining facilities shall be available on site. Mixed use services provided on-site for residents may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: concierge, dry cleaners, laundry, hair and beauty salon, spa (excluding massage), recreation room, lounge, shuttle/limousine, travel, maid, linen, and other similar personal services.
“The accommodations may be rented or leased on a monthly or yearly basis. Accommodations may be rented, for no more than seven days, to relatives or friends who are visiting residents of the facility.
“Units within an active seniors accommodations facility are not considered residential uses for purposes of allocating dwelling units, assessing affordable housing requirements, or assessing transient occupancy taxes or fees.
“Congregate care facilities are a use subject to permit in the active seniors accommodations land use category.”
The applicant also requested the transfer of 94 (public parking spaces) of the LCP required 186 public parking spaces on Parcel OT to Parcel 21;
The adjustment of the parcel boundary between Parcel OT (currently designated as parking in the LCP) and Parcel P (adjacent to Parcel OT and currently designated as open space in the LCP), which would necessitate adjustment to the land use categories of both parcels to the corresponding LCP maps, according to county documents.
County documentation states, “The commission finds that the benefit of bringing the type of senior housing proposed by the applicant into the Marina and the transfer of 94 public parking spaces to a location nearer a visitor attraction, Marina (Mothers) Beach, justifies the conversion of a public parking lot into a senior accommodations facility.”
Parcel P currently has an area of 10.72 acres and Parcel OT has an area of 1.6 acres. If the proposed amendment to give 19,755 square feet of Parcel P to Parcel OT is approved, Parcel P would be reduced to 10.27 acres and Parcel OT would be increased to 2.1 acres.
The Oceana Retirement Facility project proposes development of a six-floor, 114-unit retirement facility, which would house an estimated 145 residents, according to the county.
The site plans and land elevations show a 257,370-square foot structure on 2.1 acres of land. The proposed structure has a ground floor with 44 parking spaces, and a 3,500-square foot visitor-serving/convenience commercial area.
The second level contains 117 parking spaces, the senior accommodations facility’s lobby, reception area, staff offices and lounges for both staff and the seniors.
The third level depicts 18 units, a screening room, beauty salon, card room, arts and crafts room, library, bathrooms, gym, three communal dining areas and the facility’s kitchen.
The fourth, fifth and sixth levels each consist of 32 units, a lounge, sitting room and two laundry rooms.
The proposed structure has a maximum roof height of 75 feet above grade on the Washington Boulevard side and 67 feet in height on the Admiralty Way side.
OPPOSITION TO THE PROJECT —
Opponents of the proposed project have testified before the Regional Planning Commission at various public hearings.
Some of the reasons for their opposition include:
The height of the proposed structure is out of character in relation to adjacent uses;
Public parking at the site should be preserved so that visitors may use the lot if they wish to visit the Oxford Basin after its planned enhancement;
The California Coastal Commission and the Marina del Rey LCP allows only public parking lots to be turned into parks;
The project will result in a loss of public parking [county officials have stated that there are several underutilized parking lots in the Marina based on a parking lot count study, but opponents claim that the study was inaccurate and counts were taken at pre-determined times during days when the parking lots had little usage];
The Coastal Commission should approve all LCP plan amendments before consideration by the Regional Planning Commission;
A Request for Proposals (RFP) was never released for Parcel OT;
The Marina del Rey Design Control Board didn’t approve this project with market rate housing or at its current location;
The county is preparing a major LCP amendment that contains cumulative impact assessment, and no projects should be approved by the Regional Planning Commission until the LCP amendment and cumulative impact assessment have been heard;
The Marina is underserved by recreation;
The proposed land use category is discriminatory;
The project doesn’t have adequate parking;
The traffic trip generation rates need to be reexamined;
The county doesn’t belong in the luxury housing market;
Marina del Rey needs a master plan;
Everything in the Marina should be regulated by price control; and
The proposed project is a low priority of the Coastal Act.
The project information and all recent sessions can be viewed online by clicking on the date of the hearing at the Web site: