Small Craft Harbor Commission chair Harley Searcy said he questions whether treatment of tenants by the Archstone- Kingswood Village Apartments-Marina del Rey management has “been raised to a level of forcible violation, or if management has only exhibited callousness.”
Searcy asked County Department of Beaches and Harbors director Stan Wisniewski at a Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting Wednesday, January 6th, to send a letter to Archstone management inquiring about alleged unfair and rude treatment of tenants.
“A saga continues here, and I feel personally put off,” said Searcy in reply to two tenants complaining about Archstone management. “There seems to be a tremendous amount of continuing issues with Archstone.”
The commission heard from one tenant who has resided at Kingswood for over 31 years about alleged rude treatment and total disregard for tenants.
The tenant reported receiving an eviction notice and being asked to relocate to a similar apartment due to renovation of her apartment.
The elderly tenant said an Archstone management representative assigned a parking space at the end of the building to her, but she is unable to insert the key in the gate lock without getting out of her vehicle, and then trying to reenter her vehicle and drive in before the gate closes.
The tenant said that when she told management about the problem and requested an upper garage parking space, Archstone management told her, “We can’t rearrange everyone else just to accommodate you.”
She said she returned to the management office the next day, and a young man told her she could park in the upper garage and use a remote control to open the gate.
Wisniewski said Archstone management had acted in a “cavalier” manner, and promised to follow up on the issue.
Another tenant read to the commission from an Archstone brochure that promises treating tenants with dignity and respect, and making them feel at home.
“The ad and the Archstone Web site speak about ‘company values’, but I guess those are saved for higher-paying, new tenants,” she said.
The tenant said that, in a presentation by Archstone, she and other tenants were told that a block of apartments that were “more than adequate as comparable units” were available while apartments were being renovated.
She alleged that Archstone then put out a sign advertising that long- and short-term leasing was available, and that suddenly there was a scarcity of apartments for tenants whose apartments were undergoing renovation.
“I then received a letter from Archstone telling me I had to move,” she said.
“Archstone has turned us into second-class citizens by asking if we plan to stay after renovations are completed, and if we don’t, they are less than accommodating,” she alleged.
“My mother, who lives a block away, suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and I can’t afford to pay increased rents of $400 to $600, and will have to move,” she tearfully told the commission. “I received a letter from Archstone promising a second ‘one-time’ rent concession because apartments that had been promised to me were rented to other individuals.”
“Why don’t you sue us?” she alleged an Archstone representative asked her when she objected about the loss of a second apartment.
“It’s not the fault of the tenants if the previous management didn’t raise rents over a long period of time,” the tenant told the commission.
Wisniewski said that good management practice dictates courtesy, and that there should be no abuse of tenant communications.
Archstone representatives had not responded by press time.
WOODFIN SUITES AND
VACATION OWNERSHIP — The developers of the proposed Woodfin Suites and Vacation Ownership — proposed for the northeast corner of Via Marina and Tahiti Way on the west side of the Marina — are paying all costs associated with soil testing to determine if a wetland exists on the property, said Roger Moliere, deputy director of Department of Beaches and Harbors Asset Management and Planning Bureau.
Moliere said that after testing has been reviewed, a public hearing will be scheduled.
Moliere said that rainfall was necessary to thoroughly test the soil, and the recent heavy storms had aided the testing.
Some of the testing has been completed, and some is still ongoing, he said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — which has jurisdiction over the property — the California Coastal Commission and the Department of Fish and Game will review the tests after they’ve been completed, said Moliere.
An alternative would be off-site mitigation if a large amount of redesigning would not be practical for the developer, said Moliere.
HARBOR ORDINANCE — A Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station deputy told the commission that the term “unseaworthy” has been replaced in their monthly reporting with “impounded.”
The deputy said the County Sheriff’s Department has “never impounded vessels for being unseaworthy.”
The deputy explained that vessels are impounded only if left unattended and are not at a legal mooring.
Marina del Rey resident Carla Andrus complained about what she alleged are the poor conditions of some docks in the Marina, saying, “There is a direct correlation between rotten docks and boats coming unmoored.”
Boat owner Hans Etter asked why the County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t go after dock operators that run “degraded docks.”
Wisniewski said his department had contacted the California Coastal Commission to speed up dock maintenance permits.
Coalition to Save the Marina president Don Klein asked why no public postings of slip vacancies are available.
Wisniewski said public posting of vacancies was a good idea, and that information should be posted on the Beaches and Harbors Web site, along with the phone number of the dock master, to inquire about slip vacancies.