Gary Jones, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors Asset Management and Planning Bureau, provided updates on Marina del Rey development projects to the Marina Affairs Committee during its annual tour of the harbor on the Hornblower charter boat June 20.
Jones began by recounting that the California Coastal Commission approved an aggregate amendment for several Marina projects in November that would also provide recreational and public areas.
Transient docks will be replaced at Burton Chace Park and the peninsula, extending the park to the bulkhead and providing public amenities and more capacity to complement the long-term goal of the department. The Boat House at the park is being retrofitted for seismic and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance . The county took over part of Parcel 44 along Admiralty Way and Parcel 77 on Mindanao Way to improve docks alongside the park.
Parcel 47, a county-operated marina at G Basin on Mindanao Way will undergo anchorage expansion with boat slips in a mixture of sizes, modern amenities, upgraded power and pump-outs. The property contains the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club and is on a short-term lease. The parcel will be completely redeveloped with improved amenities, and the yacht club will be shared by members and the public. Slip rates are determined by a survey each year of surrounding marinas, according to Jones.
Jones said the county is working with the Marina del Rey Anglers Ocean Resources Enhancement Program, which operates a sea bass pen that nurtures baby (fry) sea bass until they are old enough to be released to the ocean. The Anglers work in conjunction with Hubbs/Sea World Research Institute, United Anglers and the state Department of Fish and Game to help replenish local fisheries. There are two grow-out pens in the water adjacent to the guest docks at the park and Jones said the pens will be relocated to the new dock structure.
A question about transient dock slips prompted Jones to explain that a reservation must be made for the slip at the county’s office at the park, and after hours at the sheriff’s department. The rate is $1 per foot, and the maximum slip time is seven days per customer. The sheriff’s department monitors the slips, and will issue tickets.
The Marina del Rey Hotel is scheduled to undergo partial renovation, and the hotel lessee has received approval from the county Board of Supervisors to sell the marina anchorage portion of the parcel to the company currently operating it. Once the lease extension has been finalized, the parcel split will become official. The marina will be the only dock replacement that will include additional docks into the water area to allow for a maximum number of slips.
Jones told the committee that the key factor in negotiating lease extensions and new projects is the inclusion and improvement of public amenities and public access. All new projects are required to include a promenade, with a width requirement. Existing projects being renovated don’t have to comply with increased width because there is no additional room. Other requirements include 24-hour, seven-day access to the public, benches, trees and paving design on the walkways.
In addition, Essex Marina City Club is scheduled for dock replacements. The work will not commence until September, since construction in water is not permitted during summer months. The lessee will pay for landside improvements as part of the lease, and replacement could take up to five years, Jones said. At the far end of the promenade, public access is only three feet wide, which will be widened and improved, with gates in front of apartments for security, but requiring open public access 24 hours, seven days a week.
Jones noted that a “dock n’ dine” ability at Killer Shrimp and Killer Cafe on Admiralty Way (formerly Harbor House and Edie’s Diner) has been very successful. He said Parcel NR, adjacent to Marina (Mothers) Beach, needs a revised project plan from the lessee after the Board of Supervisors removed the project due to strong opposition by the community about the loss of beach use for kayaks and others.
A sanitation aeration system had been installed at Mothers Beach a few years ago, and while it has made a slight improvement, Jones said the physics of the Marina mean that certain basins are not being flushed.
Ongoing infrastructure construction has resulted in temporary paving and additional fire hydrants, and Jones explained that the county Department of Public Works, in replacing water mains, is planning to relocate some fire hydrants to more suitable locations and there is currently a redundancy of hydrants. Additionally, Public Works is keeping temporary paving so that the water main project can be completed.
On the subject of construction, a question was raised about the Ralphs Market and car lot on Lincoln Boulevard near Maxella Avenue being sold, as well as a high-rise project being built on city of Los Angeles land. Jones said that it’s very frustrating that the city doesn’t have to account for traffic trips like the county does, and that the county is blamed for developments and increased traffic burdens on city-regulated property. He said that the county is well below Coastal Commission requirements for traffic flow in Marina del Rey.
The Del Rey Shores project on Via Marina is a 544-unit complex, with 12, 75-foot-high, five-story residential buildings. All required parking will be onsite, and an additional 10 public parking spaces will be provided. Jones said it is scheduled to be available for lease by March/April 2013.
The Esprit development is on Marquesas Way, and Jones said that both the 600 apartments and the boat slips have a 90-percent occupancy rate.
Parcel 52 is the public boat launch ramp on Fiji Way. A dry-stack boat storage facility, Boat Central, will release a final environmental impact report this summer, said Jones, after which it will go to the Board of Supervisors for approval, and then to the California Coastal Commission. Parking will be absorbed by other parts of Fiji Way, and the charter boats will use another dock, the Parcel 55 fuel dock.
The Neptune Apartments on Marquesas Way are being redeveloped and the marina is being replaced, providing a new transient dock, required public amenities, a public pump-out, and nine to 11 boat slips.
The Bay Club apartments on Tahiti Way are also being renovated, and construction will begin in September. The property houses 205 apartments, 207 boat slips and 11 end-ties. Construction is estimated to take two years.
Existing houseboats in the Marina during dock reconstruction will be removed if they are unseaworthy, and Jones said it is estimated that approximately 12 boats might fall into that category.
The former Woodfin Hotel project slated for Marquesas Way and sharing an EIR with the Neptune Apartments was removed from consideration by the Board of Supervisors in April 2011 after major community opposition to its height of 19 stories. The lessee must start over again with a development lower in height. The project is undergoing both regulatory and business negotiations, and the first public meeting may be in the fall, said Jones.
The Tahiti Marina on Tahiti Way is undergoing a complete leasehold redevelopment, along with the docks, with completion estimated in approximately a few years.
According to Jones, the Archstone Breakwater (formerly Villa Venetia) on Fiji Way was required to complete a promenade improvement along with its redevelopment, and the first phase of apartments is soon expected to be ready for rental.
The lessee for Fisherman’s Village still plans to redevelop, but nothing is in the process at this time, Jones said. The lease extends to 2027, and then would revert to the county. Each year it’s harder to finance, explained Jones, and there is a timeframe for completion once a project has been approved. Jones said there will still be an iconic site, but the specific type of project is unknown.
He said that the federal government is interested in ongoing and planned projects, including the dredging of the Marina’s main channel. He said the cost of all of these projects is estimated at $680 million, with 13,000 additional jobs generated.
It’s been over 10 years since the Marina has been fully dredged, according to Jones. He said the entire channel and maintenance is under the federal government’s responsibility. County officials including Supervisor Don Knabe, whose Fourth District includes the Marina, Lt. Reggie Gautt of the Marina Sheriff’s Station, and the U.S. Coast Guard have been lobbying the federal government for over two years to remove over one million cubic yards of contaminated sediment.
Long Beach has a construction project that requires sediment and will accept the sediment for their fill-in working basin from the barge that is carrying the sediment. This is much more economical than having the sediment removed by truck at the cost of $10 per cubic yard in this $13 million project, with the trucking cost estimated at $150 million, Jones said. Approximately 312,000 cubic yards will go to Long Beach, 70,000 cubic yards to Dockweiler Beach, and some latter part of the dredge would go to Redondo Beach to be placed in offshore pits and used as needed.
Jones said a conversation has already begun with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the next round of dredging in hopes of keeping Ballona Creek clean.
Jones also answered questions about the American flag at the channel entrance being removed, explaining that the removal was required because the power had to be shut off due to dredging, and the flag can’t be displayed at night without lighting. Officials are now considering solar lighting, and he said the flag will be replaced for the Fourth of July fireworks.