The Marina del Rey Design Control Board declined to give a conceptual approval recommendation to a proposed dry-stack storage project in Marina del Rey. Chair Susan Cloke said she could not support any Marina del Rey Local Coastal Plan (LCP) amendment that allows a project to go out over the water.
At the board’s meeting Thursday, March 15th at the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey, Cloke asked the developer for the Boat Central project, MdR Boat Central, L.P. to return to a night meeting of his choosing to present the project — with design alterations if he so chose — to the public.
Cloke said that taking the waters of the United States for development is not the right decision, and that it was an incorrect policy decision by those approving the decision.
Cloke said there might be some small exception to approve extending over the water if it were absolutely technically necessary, but she also asked where the idea originated to have the development extend over the water, and that it might set a precedent.
“Using the water for development is like taking a park away from people,” said Cloke.
She questioned both the developer and Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors director Stan Wisniewski as to how the “extending over the water” concept came about, and whether county staff had suggested it to the developer.
“Did you give the developer parameters for the over-water aspect or suggest in the RFP (request for proposals) that the proposal included dry-stack storage over water?” Cloke asked Wisniewski.
Wisniewski said he was “pretty confident” that the county didn’t propose that to the developer.
Wisniewski said that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was cognizant of the details of the developer’s reply to the request for proposals and that the supervisors had permitted county staff to enter into negotiations with the developer, adding that no suggestions came from the county.
Wisniewski said the release of the request for proposals for the project had already been in the public process by going before the Small Craft Harbor Commission and public comment.
Cloke cited other issues she had with the development, such as the size of the building, the “wind shadow” from the building that would affect small boats trying to get out into the harbor, and the fact that no public promenade by the water is planned for, as discussed in other Marina development projects.
Wisniewski said that there is a major safety issue regarding pedestrians on a promenade near this type of industrial facility and boat repair/launch operations, saying that the county could not allow a potential safety hazard to the public.
Cloke advised the developer that he might want to present alternate proposals at the meeting, although it wasn’t required, in case the amendment to the local coastal plan isn’t approved.
“I would not be certain that this project goes all the way through, but you never know how the votes will go; maybe you know more than I do,” said Cloke.
Design Control Board member and architect Peter Phinney said it seemed possible to pull back the cranes so they are not over the water, and he asked the developer to rethink the idea.
Phinney also said he was “profoundly disappointed with the building,” and that it needed a lot of work, adding that the developer could have easily provided a more “fun” design approach for the ancillary building.
Phinney said he was also disappointed and that it was “a bitter pill to swallow” that the recyclable material to be used in the building design is actually manufactured in Israel.
“You (the developer) are actually importing the waste from Israel and claiming environmental responsibility,” said Phinney.
The benefit of gaining 120 boat slips versus the public loss of views, size and visual aesthetics makes it difficult to justify the project, Phinney said.
BOAT CENTRAL PROJECT — The Boat Central project would be located on the 4.25-acre leasehold (land and water areas) composed of two parcels on Fiji Way along Basin H. The existing 236 public parking spaces on one of the parcels would be relocated to the new Fisherman’s Village.
The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors annex trailers that are located on the other parcel would be relocated to a new consolidated county administration building proposed to be constructed on another parcel to be determined.
The development would primarily consist of a dry-stack storage building of approximately 47,084 square feet and a separate 5,300 square-foot visitor reception building that would house an office, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Marina Station Boatwright shop and boater amenities.
The project would provide storage for up to 367 small boat and 28 boat trailers within the dry-stack building, and 30 mast-up storage spaces in a separate outside lot, along with a public waterside hoist and wash-down area.
The existing dock, except for the slips being used by county maintenance vessels and sheriff’s boats, would be replaced with an Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant dock system designed to accommodate the necessary queuing for the launching and retrieval of boats, but there would be no permanent wet slips available for rent, according to county documents.
The Boat Central project would provide 135 full-size parking spaces, less than the required parking, so the applicant’s proposal includes a request for a parking permit.