A resolution introduced into the California State Senate on Thursday, August 20th, would request the County of Los Angeles to undertake a comprehensive update of the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program (LCP) prior to any further approvals of coastal development permits or LCP amendments.
The LCP update would be intended to ensure that any redevelopment proposals reflect the statewide goals and objectives of the California Coastal Act of 1975 (Coastal Act) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
State Sen. Jenny Oropeza — who represents the 28th District, which includes Marina del Rey, parts of Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach and other coastal cities — announced Monday, August 24th, that she has “called for accelerated reforms to help ensure coastal development reflects statewide environmental goals with Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR 56).”
“The California Coastal Commission recommended that the county address the overall environmental and societal impacts of construction in Marina del Rey,” said Oropeza. “Unfortunately, the county has not complied.”
This December, Oropeza said she may introduce a regular bill for 2010, which would have the force of the law.
“This resolution encourages key stakeholders to come together and hammer out an agreement that is beneficial to everyone,” said Oropeza.
Local Coastal Programs are basic planning tools used by local governments to guide development in the coastal zone, in partnership with the California Coastal Commission.
LCPs contain the ground rules for future development and protection of coastal resources in the 75 coastal cities and counties. They specify appropriate location, type and scale of new or changed uses of land and water. Each LCP includes a land use plan and measure to implement the plan, such as zoning ordinances, and to preserve its pristine beauty.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has asked Oropeza to withdraw her resolution in a letter dated Monday, August 31st.
Knabe is chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, and represents the Fourth District, which includes Marina del Rey. He requested that Oropeza review the information in his letter and then withdraw SCR 56.
“As chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and supervisor of the Fourth Supervisorial District, I am writing to express my sincere disappointment regarding Senate Concurrent Resolution 56, which you introduced on Thursday, August 20, 2009,” stated Knabe.
“I find it very unfair that no one from your office bothered to consult with any elected official or officer of the county regarding the factual accuracy of the information that your resolution is based on prior to its introduction. As a matter of courtesy, I would have expected to receive some kind of communication from you to discuss this matter, as Marina del Rey is wholly owned by the county and is located in my supervisorial district, and given that my history with the Marina extends well over two decades,” Knabe stated.
BACKGROUND AND COMMENTS FROM OROPEZA’S WEB SITE —
Oropeza said that the Marina del Rey LCP has not been updated since 1996, and that on January 8th, 2008, the Coastal Commission found that the LCP was out of conformity with CEQA and the Coastal Act.
The commission then voted unanimously to recommend that the county undertake a comprehensive update of the LCP, addressing the overall direct, indirect and cumulative environmental and social impacts of the redevelopment proposals.
As of June 30th, there are 19 individual pending redevelopment proposals in the early stages of the regulatory process, and two approved 500-plus unit apartment complexes spread out over 15 buildings yet to commence construction, all in an area of less than a square mile.
The redevelopment proposals have not been considered in their entirety pursuant to CEQA and the Coastal Act. Further, many of the proposals do not adhere to the certified Marina LCP, which defines appropriate land use for parcels, sets maximum height and density allowances and protects key viewscapes.
The County of Los Angeles continues to move forward in a piecemeal approach with amendments that do not necessarily comply with the LCP and/or Coastal Act policies.
Given Marina del Rey’s importance to the region and its environmentally sensitive habitat areas, strategic and thoughtful action is necessary, the site states.
Information and a link to SCR 56 are online. On the site home page, scroll down to “Jenny calls for compliance with state, local goals to protect coast.”
KNABE’S LETTER TO OROPEZA —
Knabe’s letter continues with a background on the unincorporated area of Marina del Rey; an explanation of the approval process and public meetings for every Marina redevelopment project; the environmental documents in compliance with CEQA; and requirements for the environmental impact report (EIR) when required.
The Marina Local Coastal Program Periodic Review details and clarification of “inaccurate information in SCR 56” are also included in the letter.
Knabe’s clarification points include:
— each Marina development project is required to comply with CEQA;
— the California Coastal Commission recommended in January that the county only prepare a comprehensive update or amendment to the LCP consisting of all proposed or anticipated developments that require an LCP, and the Coastal Commission acknowledged that it should not include in this recommendation those projects consistent with the certified LCP;
— in this regard, of 19 projects mentioned in SCR 56, only six require LCP amendments, none of which are to increase development beyond the existing LCP cap, but only to change or move uses between parcels or development potential across development zones; and that all other projects are in compliance with the existing certified LCP;
— because of the Coastal Commission’s desire for one LCP amendment relevant to Marina redevelopment projects, on September 1st, the Board of Supervisors considered commission staff’s recommended three-prong “roadmap” for the county’s periodic review response.
David Barish and Nancy Vernon Marino, co-founders of the group We ARE Marina del Rey, said they were put in touch with Oropeza through a local resident because they felt that “since Marina del Rey is a state asset, public land, and has an ecological connection to the Ballona Wetlands, the state legislature should be aware of the ramifications of development in the Marina.”
County officials have one year to respond to the LCP recommendations from the Coastal Commission, and if the county doesn’t comply with the recommendations, the Coastal Commission has the ability to go to the state legislature.
Barish and Marino said they decided to go to the legislature because “our local representatives (the supervisors) were not listening to the public, so we felt the need to go to a higher level.”
Santos Kreimann, director of the county Department of Beaches and Harbors, referred to information on the California Coastal Commission Web site, “to dispel any notion that processing amendments through the commission is a highly unusual event, as alleged by members of We ARE Marina del Rey. The practice of processing amendments is a normal course of business, with more than 1,500 amendments being submitted by jurisdictional agencies throughout the state and processed by the Coastal Commission through June 30th, 2008.”
“Accordingly, we believe requesting a moratorium on all development in the Marina until a comprehensive update is completed is impractical and unfair to the county, which has been negotiating in good faith with the development community based on the entitlements allowed under the current 1996-certified LCP,” said Kreimann.