The dual project Woodfin Suites Hotel and Timeshare Resort/Neptune Legacy Marina Apartments and Anchorage in Marina del Rey was approved by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission Wednesday, March 10th.

Approval included certification of the final environmental impact report (FEIR), adoption of the environmental findings of fact and statement of overriding considerations for the project. The commission additionally approved the coastal development permit, the conditional use permit, a variance and a vesting tentative tract map.

The dual project, which shares an EIR, is scheduled to go before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for final approval at a future date.

Opponents of the project will have a final opportunity at that hearing to voice their concerns before the Board of Supervisors.

The Woodfin hotel project has consistently drawn sharp criticism from local Marina del Rey residents and boaters for the size and scope of the project since the public scoping meeting in May 2007.

Local residents have spoken out at each meeting where the Woodfin project was discussed, citing a wide range of issues that they said needed to be addressed before approval is given, such as the size of the structure and the recirculation of the EIR.

“With this [Woodfin/Neptune] initial approval, the county would not only place a 19-story hotel smack in the middle of a low-rise residential area, it would steal an additional two-plus acres of public recreational land for private use,” alleged Nancy Vernon Marino, co-founder of the group We ARE Marina del Rey.

“This is only the first of over 40 acres zoned for public park that the county wants to gamble on questionable projects to benefit well-connected developers. If the public does not speak out now, future generations will be the biggest losers,” Marino alleged.

David Barish, co-founder of We ARE Marina del Rey, said, “Once again, the Regional Planning Commissioners glossed over new evidence provided by the public that should have forced, at the very least, a recirculation of the EIR, if not the flat out denial of the project.

“We hope that the Board of Supervisors and/or California Coastal Commission will take very seriously the substantial evidence on record against this project.”

Local boaters said the buildings’ size would severely affect the wind pattern for sailboats.

The project applicant had initially planned for construction to begin at the end of 2008 and be completed at the end of 2010, Markland Rousseau, president of Woodfin Suite Hotels, LLC, said at a presentation to the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce in August 2007.

The Woodfin project would consist of a 19-story, 225-foot- tall, 288-room hotel and timeshare resort, with an assortment of accessory resort uses/facilities and a six-level parking garage containing 360 parking spaces. The project also includes a waterfront pedestrian promenade and other facilities on the northerly approximately 2.2 acres of the parcel, east of Via Marina between Marquesas and Tahiti ways.

The Neptune Legacy Apartments and Anchorage is a redevelopment project west of Via Marina and would be on both sides of Marquesas Way.

The existing 136-unit apartment complex and adjacent private boat anchorage on Parcel 10R (which abuts the Woodfin parcel to the north and is located southeasterly of the intersection of Via Marina and Marquesas Way) would be demolished.

Construction would consist of 400 new apartment units in three buildings, including a total of 62 affordable housing units, landscaping, hardscape, garage parking, a waterfront pedestrian promenade, as well as other site amenities, appurtenant facilities and a new private boat anchorage.

A public wetland and upland park would be constructed and maintained on a 1.46-acre area located on the southerly portion of the Woodfin parcel. Woodfin and Legacy plan to fund the park, with maintenance provided by the county.