Information about affordable housing in Marina del Rey and the mediation and complaint filing process for boat slip tenants and Marina tenants was presented at the Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting Wednesday, November 8th, at the Burton Chace Park Community Building, Marina del Rey.

The presentation was made by representatives from the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission and the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs, who had been invited by the Small Craft Harbor Commission after some local residents had requested information about affordable housing and the mediation process.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION — In response to local residents’ questions about affordable housing in the Marina, Blair Babcock of the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission presented information on the development commission’s role in administering affordable housing in Marina del Rey.

Babcock said the development commission administers federal and local funds for unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and for the housing authority for the county.

The development commission monitors affordable housing and enforces the “CC&Rs” (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions), a document which establishes limitations on how a par- ticular property can be used, Babcock explained.

Babcock said the number of affordable housing units that must be available and the qualification for those units (based on income levels) is part of the conditional use permit which is issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning for a development.

This conditional use permit information is part of the “Old Marina Policy,” said Babcock, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is conducting surveys to reformat a “New Marina Policy” that would help determine the number of replacement units required for affordable housing in a development.

County counsel Tom Faughnan advised that there are currently two surveys being conducted, and that the number of replacement units is determined by the Department of Regional Planning during the entitlement process and may be subject to change.

DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS — Mediation program manager Debra Williams of the county Department of Consumer Affairs explained how the mediation and complaint filing process works, and answered questions on services relating to the department.

Marina del Rey apartment boat slip tenants have been requesting information about mediation services for their grievances relating to landlords.

Faughnan said Marina leases do not require the lessees to submit to binding arbitration with tenants, and there are no arbitration provisions in the leases.

The county’s mediation service is free and mediators are located throughout Los Angeles County, with some mediators living in the Marina area.

Mediation can cover a wide variety of subjects — tenant/ landlord disputes, real estate transactions, consumer product purchases, contracts, loans — related to any possible disagreement, and parties can bring their attorneys to the mediation.

Williams said that mediation brings both parties together, although no one can be compelled to participate, but lawsuits can often be prevented by the mediation process.

“Mediators will hear the real essence of the dispute,” she said.

In a courtroom situation, judges may make quick decisions and not be focused on the minutiae of the disagreement, but if mediation is sought, the mediator is there to listen to all aspects of the situation, said Williams.

The Consumer Affairs Department deals with identification theft, real estate fraud, a small claims advisory program and many other services.

Information, consumer-affairs