Liveaboard boat owners at Panay Way Marina allege that they are being evicted from their slips for reconstruction of the docks and will not be allowed to return.
“Once the reconstruction is complete, the Panay Way Marina will not be suitable for floating homes or liveaboards, and therefore the option to temporarily relocate and then come back is not an option,” Linda Hollenbeck, an attorney representing G&K Management Company, wrote Friday, May 20th, in a letter to the attorney for a “floating home” boat owner.
Boat owner Eric Huff told the County Small Craft Harbor Commission Wednesday, June 8th, that he has been given a 30-day notice to quit his boat slip and was told to find another slip on his own or to ask his dockmaster for assistance.
Huff said his dockmaster told him no slips were available for his 40-foot boat but that he could return after the dock was finished. He would have to reapply for a slip, with no guarantees.
Huff said he has nowhere to go with his boat, and asked Small Craft Harbor commissioners why the Long Beach Marina Harbor offered visitor slips to their tenants and hired a public relations firm to assist these boaters, while Marina del Rey officials do not make such an offer.
Robert Weinmeier, owner and resident of a “floating home” at Panay Way Marina for more than eight years, has also received an eviction notice.
He had originally been notified in a memo to all “Parcel 20 slip tenants” from G&K Management Company that “we will make every effort to assist you in the relocation of your boats during construction, as well as minimize construction noise and debris.”
“Please contact the dockmaster with any questions you may have,” the memo stated.
The memo from G&K Management Company also included a construction schedule, citing the demolition date as Tuesday, July 5th, with construction from Tuesday, July 12th, to Monday, August 15th. Monday, August 15th, was given as a return “move-in” date for the boat owners being asked to move.
A section of the Los Angeles County code regarding harbors defines a floating home as “a floating structure that was originally designed and originally built by the original manufacturer to be used as a stationary waterborne residential dwelling with no mode of power for self-navigability of its own and not intended nor insured for ocean use.”
Weinmeier’s attorney, Jonathan Balfus, told the commission that after his client received that memo, he then received a “30-day notice to quit,” which the attorney alleged violates the county’s floating home residency law.
Balfus alleged that the Hollenbeck letter means that “for the first time, Weinmeier’s floating home, and, by extension, every floating home in the Marina, will not be considered a floating home, for purposes of statutes regulating this type of craft.”
Hollenbeck’s letter says that Weinmeier’s lease doesn’t fall under the purview of the floating home residency law because he doesn’t meet one of four requirements of the law — namely that the “floating home” needs a permanent continuous hookup to a shoreside sewage system.
Permanent continuous hookups to a shoreside sewage system have never been offered or been available at Panay Way Marina in the past. Nor will they be offered when the docks have been reconstructed, said Balfus.
“This is a loophole that can be used by the management company to remove all floatable homes, since they would fall under the same conditions as Weinmeier’s,” Balfus alleged.
Weinmeier is the owner of a small engineering consultant firm and says he has lived aboard his “floating home” for eight years.
“I pay property taxes to the county, I pay my slip rental in a timely manner,” said Weinmeier.
“What more could the county want than higher paying tenants that act as watchdogs for the community against crime and theft?” Weinmeier asked.
Floating homes are primary residences, and only 41 of the Marina’s slips are floating homes, he said, adding that floating home owners take a lot of pride in their homes.
County Department of Beaches and Harbors director Stan Wisniewski said his staff is working on a report regarding floating homes in the Marina.
“At this time I only have two weeks before dock demolition begins, and have nowhere to go. Are they just going to shut off my power?” Weinmeier asked.
“Most of the houseboat owners are professionals and permanent liveaboards, and have invested at least $200,000 to $300,000 for their boat, taking pride in their primary residence,” he said.
Calls to Hollenbeck and to G&K Management Company, Inc. had not been returned at press time.