A public scoping meeting to gather public input for a joint EIR (environmental impact report) for a redevelopment and a proposed new development in the Marina was held Monday, April 23rd, at the Courtyard Marriott Marina del Rey.
The scoping meeting, chaired by Los Angeles County consultant Lloyd Zola, was held to solicit suggestions from the public regarding environmental alternatives and analyses that the public believes should be incorporated in the joint EIR for the proposed adjacent projects, the Neptune Marina Apartments and Anchorage and the Woodfin Suite Hotel and Timeshare Resort.
The County of Los Angeles will be the lead agency to prepare the joint EIR.
The proposed dual project consists of five components requiring coastal development permits, conditional use permits, a tract map and a variance, according to county documentation.
The draft EIR is expected to be released next winter, said Zola.
A joint EIR is required for the two projects because they would have a cumulative effect and are therefore required to share an EIR under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) guidelines because the projects are geographically related, said Zola.
The county would be at fault if two separate EIRs were filed, Zola said.
Comments from the public included water quality concerns, with reference to a significant rowing regatta cancelled in the Marina — in which 192 athletes were to compete — because of bad water quality, exacerbated by the rain on April 20th, according to one speaker.
This speaker also asserted that Regional Planning staff has no understanding about bad water quality.
A second speaker said the 19-story height of the Woodfin Suite Hotel and Timeshare Resort would impact a three-story condominium across the street with shadows and severely restrict views.
A third speaker questioned whether the right group is overseeing the EIR (Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors), and alleged that some individuals had spotted a county truck dumping eucalyptus cuttings into the wetland area.
This speaker also claimed that the construction would degrade the wetland, and that there’s no trade-off in providing minimal view corridors when the view from the existing empty parking lot is much better, asking if that was in compliance with the California Coastal Act.
The speaker also said there is no time share provision in the local coastal plan, and questioned if an amendment to the local coastal plan would be required.
This same speaker also said he had spoken with Pam Emerson of the California Coastal Commission and reported that she had told him that the time-share was unacceptable, and he wanted to know if the time-share is legally acceptable.
Regarding parking replacement for the proposed redesignation of one of the parcels for Neptune Marina Apartments and Anchorage, this speaker asked why it was acceptable to defer parking replacement until a much later date, and why parking could not be replaced ‘first before destroying parking in violation of the local coastal plan.’
The last speaker said that the boating community would be impacted by displacement of over 100 boat slips and also commented that the time-share component of the Woodfin Suite Hotel would be very expensive, with no accommodations for the general public.
The EIR will address traffic impacts, short-term construction impacts such as noise and air-quality and any required mitigation.
NEPTUNE-MARINA PROJECT — The Neptune-Marina Apartments and Anchorage redevelopment project is located to the west of Via Marina, and is proposed to be on both sides of Marquesas Way.
The Woodfin Hotel Suites and Resort Timeshare project is proposed to be east of Via Marina between Marquesas and Tahiti Ways.
The Neptune Marina (Legacy Partners) project proposes to provide both on-site replacement and inclusionary affordable housing units in full compliance with the Los Angeles County draft Affordable Housing Policy for Marina del Rey and the Mello Act, according to John Santry, vice president of Legacy Partners Residential, Inc.
The affordable housing units would be one- and two-bedroom units, with 20 dwelling units available for very-low-income residents and 22 units for moderate-low-income residents, said Santry.
All of the code-required parking for residents, guests and boaters is on-site, and Legacy is not asking for a variance to any of the code-required parking for the apartments and the anchorage, Santry said.
But the Neptune Marina project does require an amendment to the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program to redesignate the parcel for residential use, as the parcel is currently designated ‘open space’ and contains an underutilized surface parking lot, and the loss of the open space designation would be accounted for by development of a public park and anchorage, funded by Legacy Partners, according to Santry.
Santry said that development on the redesignated parcel requires that 50 percent (103 spaces) of the existing parking lot (206 spaces) be replaced within the Marina.
‘The county wants to locate this replacement parking in the most advantageous location for public use, and the county advised Legacy Partners that it wanted to locate these parking spaces in a garage or parking deck close to Burton Chace Park to serve visitors in the Marina,’ said Santry.
To account for the loss of open space-designated land, a restored public wetland and upland park of 1.46 acres would be established on the southerly portion of the Woodfin parcel, funded by Legacy Partners, according to county documentation.
[Note: unless otherwise indicated, the following descriptions are based on Los Angeles County documentation.]
The wetland park would consist of a newly established approximately 0.47-acre ‘muted’ tidal salt marsh in the center of the park, surrounded by a buffer of 25 feet from the actual wetland area toward both the proposed hotel/time-share to the north and Tahiti Way on the south.
In addition to the restoration of the 0.47-acre saltwater marsh, the open space areas surrounding the marsh would be planted with species indicative of native habitats along the coast such as coastal prairie, coastal sage scrub, coastal bluff scrub and maritime chaparral to serve as a buffer for the saltwater marsh and education opportunities for the public, and no lighting or parking would be permitted in the park.
Interpretive signage and a protective, non-view-obstructing fence would be installed in a ‘location and manner deemed appropriate for the biological and visitor functions,’ and a turf- block area including natural vegetation at the northerly end of the park would provide ‘a sturdy space for group lectures, seating for visitors bringing lawn chairs for bird watching and maintenance vehicles.’
The county would manage and maintain the park after completion, according to Legacy Partners documentation.
The joint project consists of five components, each requiring a separate coastal development permit, according to the notice of preparation issued by Los Angeles County in conformity with the California Environmental Quality Act.
The Neptune Marina Apartments and Anchorage project is proposed to have four new residential structures, each being four stories above two levels of parking (six total levels), with Buildings 1, 2 and 3 situated south of Marquesas Way, comprising 400 new rental apartment units.
Buildings 1 and 2, referred to as Component 1 in the notice of preparation, would front on the Marquesas Way mole road and would not exceed 55 feet in height, while Building 3, which would front on Via Marina, would not exceed 60 feet in height (exclusive of appurtenant screened rooftop equipment, parapets and architectural features) when measured from finished grade elevations along Via Marina and Marquesas Way.
Building 4, referred to as Component 2 in the notice of preparation, would be north of Marquesas Way, and would have an additional 126 new apartment units and 243 parking spaces.
Building 4 would also include 200 feet of public waterfront pedestrian promenade, consistent with LCP requirements.
The height of the proposed Building 4 would not exceed 55 feet (exclusive of appurtenant screened rooftop equipment, parapets and architectural features) when measured from finished grade elevations along Via Marina and Marquesas Way.
The waterside portion is planned for a small craft anchorage consisting of 174 boat spaces (161 boats slips and 13 end-tie spaces) that would replace an existing marina containing 198 boat spaces that have deteriorated.
The reduction of 24 boat spaces from the existing 198-space marina to the proposed 174-space marina results directly from complying with California Department of Boating and Waterways and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
A boaters’ lounge and restroom facilities would be provided within one of the new residential structures nearby for convenience, and secure boater parking facilities would be provided on-site in proximity to the anchorage, according to Legacy Partners documentation.
Santry said that the only fencing for the Neptune Marina Apartments and Anchorage buildings would be around the pool, as required by law, and parking would be secured.
The entire four-building complex would be accessible for pedestrians to cut through and avail themselves of the public waterfront promenade, which would include over 1,600 feet of public promenade along the Marina and is planned to connect with the waterfront promenade developed in connection with the proposed adjacent project, Woodfin Suite Hotel and Timeshare Resort, with multiple access points throughout each project, according to Legacy Partners.
Adequate parking would be provided on-site and non-automotive transportation would be encouraged by this public waterfront promenade, said Santry.
Santry told The Argonaut that the design of the Neptune Marina Apartments was changed last summer after receiving community input, and that the project was opened up with more landscaping.
WOODFIN PROJECT — Component 3 of the notice of preparation includes development of the northern portion of the parcel with approximately 2.2 acres for the Woodfin Suite Hotel and Timeshare Resort. The entire parcel is a vacant fenced parcel containing the remains of an abandoned hotel construction project.
The Woodfin project is proposed to consist of a 19-story building with 288 hotel and time-share suites (152 conventional hotel suites and 136 time-share units), with the height of the tower not exceeding 225 feet (exclusive of appurtenant screened rooftop equipment, parapets and architectural features) when measured from the finished grade.
The first three floors would include all accessory areas of the building, including loading areas, resort lobby and offices, a restaurant and bar, an exercise room, a pool, a spa, outdoor function areas, meeting rooms and a large conference/ballroom. The ground floor of the hotel/time-share resort would include the lobby and registration/ reception area, elevator bays, the business center, hotel offices, a resort restaurant and bar, kitchen, sundry shop, meeting rooms and restrooms.
The exterior of the ground floor of the resort would provide for hotel ancillary uses consisting of the motor court (drop-off and valet parking area), the entrance to the parking area and service docks for truck loading.
Up to 21 fee-based ‘self-park’ and 339 valet-managed parking spaces would be provided in a six-level parking garage with one level below grade, for a project total of 360 parking spaces.
Second floor uses would include a conference room/ballroom, meeting rooms, and hotel service and mechanical room space.
The third floor of the building would also contain meeting rooms, as well as an exercise room and spa opening onto the pool deck.
The tower portion of the building incorporating portions of the second and third floors, and floors four through 19, would contain the 288 hotel and time-share suites.
Other uses on floors four through 19 would include the elevator lobby, a service lobby and housekeeping rooms.
An emergency helistop is proposed on the roof of the hotel complex, consistent with county fire and zoning requirements, and other screened roof elements include mechanical equipment, chillers, cooling towers, a service room, elevator machine room and an emergency generator and boiler.
Component 5 of the notice of preparation proposes a public transient boat anchorage that would be situated proximal to the Woodfin development within Basin B. The public anchorage would contain approximately 2,923 square feet of dock area and would provide approximately 524 linear feet of transient boat docking space.
It’s estimated that the public anchorage would be able to provide berthing for between seven and 11 ‘transient’ boats (depending on the size of the vessels using the anchorage at any one time), plus three side-ties for smaller dinghy-size boats at the north end of the public anchorage, offering a significant new public boater-serving amenity.
This anchorage would comprise approximately 49,000 square feet or 1.12 waterside or submerged acres in the southwestern portion of Basin B, and would contain approximately 524 linear feet of new public dock area.
Judith Fabion, development consultant for Woodfin Suites Hotels, said that the company is a small California-based company that deals with the ownership and management of hotels only.
Fabion said that this project has been redesigned to provide the wetlands park area with a sensitive balance, to provide public access and use.
The hotel/time-share would provide dining opportunities and open access via the connecting promenade with the Neptune- Marina project.
The parcel was originally slated for hotel use, but none of the earlier projects materialized. Woodfin hopes to provide not only employment for local residents, but public use and enjoyment of the many amenities, said Fabion.