Two development projects have been put on hold by the County Marina Design Control Board until an environmental study has been made on an alleged 0.85-acre of federal wetland on a proposed hotel site.
The Marina Design Control Board voted to reconsider conceptual approval Thursday, September 23rd, of a proposed redevelopment of Neptune Marina on Marquesas Way in the Marina.
But the Design Board continued consideration of a proposal for development of the Woodfin Suite Hotel Vacation Ownership.
The two projects are planned on a consolidated parcel.
Design Board chair Susan Cloke told County Beaches and Harbors director Stan Wisniewski that she had received information that a wetland existed on the parcel in an e-mail from another government agency.
Cloke said the information should have been presented in an original report to the Design Board.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over federal wetlands in the Marina.
Josh Burnham of the regulatory department of the Corps of Engineers said that the county needs to contact his department, the State Fish and Game Department and the State Water Board to apply for a permit as the county has done with other federal wetland sites in the Marina.
These agencies would then order an environmental study of the area and if impacts are determined, would request appropriate mitigations, said Burnham.
“I’m very concerned to learn this information from a different government agency, and not county staff,” Cloke said.
“I’m concerned about the process. This is not good for the (Design Control) board or the County Beaches and Harbors) department,” said Cloke.
“This fact is substantial enough to reconsider conceptual approval of Neptune Marina since the new information is relevant to the approval,” she said.
Cloke added that it is completely inappropriate for the site proposals to be considered under their current configuration and that she wants the information carefully examined by county staff.
Woodfin Suite Hotel and Vacation Ownership is seeking conceptual approval at the corner of Via Marina and Tahiti Way for a 20-story building, including 178-suite hotel rooms on the first 11 floors, 108 luxury time-share units on the 12th through the 20th floors, a parking structure and a two-acre public park.
Legacy Residential Partners, Inc. — interested in redeveloping the Neptune Marina parcel — had sought and received conceptual approval from the Design Control Board Thursday, August 19th, for demolition and reconstruction of 526 apartments and 161 boat slips, plus seven end-ties in the Neptune Marina anchorage.
In 1999, the proposed Neptune Marina and the proposed Woodfin Suite Hotel and Vacation Ownership developments were consolidated as one project.
Under the current redevelopment proposal, a small park would be relocated to the Via Marina parcel where a hotel is proposed.
Because it forms the common boundary between two adjacent parcels, the proposed public park is related to the proposed development of both projects.
County officials had stated the new site (Woodfin Hotel Suite) was better suited for a park than the Neptune Marina site.
The applicant ( Woodfin) would participate in providing the park on their proposed site, approximately 3.66 acres (two acres for the park) since it has been vacant and undeveloped since construction of the Marina.
Legacy and Woodfin would split the cost of park construction, but Woodfin agreed to provide the maintenance.
The park as proposed by Woodfin Suite Hotel would be approximately 1.854 acres — 0.194 acres short of the number of acres required to replace the park on the Neptune Marina parcel that would be lost to the project.
Wisniewski suggested that the developer might make up the shortage by trading water acreage to the county. Under such a proposal, the county would have ten to 12 boat slips that might be available to the public as transcient slips. The boat slips would be managed by the county.
Wisniewski said the county would manage the water portion for transcient boat usage on the west side of the harbor.
Cloke said she had never seen water acreage count as park land and such a proposal is not the right way to go with the present shortage.
“You have to replace land with land, on a one-to-one basis,” said Cloke.
In exchange for providing the park, Legacy will seek a coastal plan amendment to allow conversion of an existing parking lot to residential use.
During consideration last month of the Via Marina hotel parcel, Cloke said that the two projects — the Via Marina hotel parcel and the apartment and parking parcel — can’t use one park to satisfy the need for two different view corridors and that any open space taken from the loss of the present park would have to be replaced.
Therefore, Cloke had asked Woodfin to return for the September meeting with an alternative proposal.
“I’m distressed over the wetland situation and how it’s been handled,” said Cloke.
Cloke said she would leave it to the county and the applicants to work out the wetland situation, and “the shape of how the two projects come back before the board is up to both of you.”
OTHER BUSINESS — The Design Board approved revised landscaping improvements for The Cove at Pier 44.
Admiralty Apartments on Admiralty Way received approval of post-entitlement design details.
Villa Venetia on Fiji Way received approval for a six-month extension for two signs and four signage flags, with the provision that the developer’s name be removed from the signage flags, and that in four months the applicant send a letter to county staff to apprise the staff of architectural progress for the project.