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L.A. County supervisors OK new apartments in Marina del Rey

March 20, 2012 |  6:01 pm

Photo: A boater leaves Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey in 2010. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved plans Tuesday to convert parking lots into apartments and senior housing at the Marina del Rey harbor.

The plan calls for changing the zoning of two parking lots into housing -– a 526-unit apartment complex and a 114-unit senior citizens facility, which will include 3,500 square feet of retail space, said Michael Tripp, planning specialist for the county Department of Beaches and Harbors.

The plans also will reduce docking spaces in the harbor for boats to accommodate the construction of space for larger boats and to comply with standards on wider docks to meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, Tripp said.

There will be about 9% fewer wet boating slips, from 4,761 to 4,349. But the number of dry slips will rise from 817 to 1,114. Overall, the total number of boat slips will decrease by about 2%.

The county’s strategy of redeveloping Marina del Rey, led by Supervisor Don Knabe, has drawn strong criticism from a group of residents, who argue the county is moving the marina away from being dedicated to public recreation.

Bruce Russell, a consistent critic of the county’s marina plans, told the supervisors Tuesday that “the marina was not built for the several thousand well-heeled apartment dwellers the county wants to shove in there. It was built for the 10 million residents of the county, and they need and deserve their public park and public access parking."

Added Jon Nahhas, another critic: “The intent [of the founders of the marina] was never to exclude … boating enthusiasts in order to provide a luxury playground for the more affluent citizens, or be a revenue generator for the county.”  

County officials, however, assert that the marina is aging and needs to be revitalized. The marina is also a valuable piece of property whose lease revenues help fund the county budget.

“In addition to adding these housing units, we’re also adding 10 acres of open space,” Tripp said. “The marina was built in the 1960s, and many of these buildings are getting old. They’re past their prime." He added: “Housing in West Los Angeles is in short supply.”

Tripp said the plans approved Tuesday also permit the construction of a 1.46-acre wetland park on Via Marina, will expand Burton Chace Park, and convert a parking lot and trailer lot that houses county workers into a dry-dock warehouse where boats can be stored.

County officials decided to shelve the more controversial aspects of the plan, including a 19-story hotel and a proposal that would have removed parking spaces on the northern edge of Mother’s Beach, which is popular with kayakers and boaters.

The California Coastal Commission also opposed a proposal for a 116,000-square-foot retail and restaurant complex and another that would have allowed the construction of a new Department of Beaches and Harbors office. Currently, the agency is housed in two buildings about half a mile apart. The county removed those plans from the ordinance that passed Tuesday.  


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-- Rong-Gong Lin II at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration

Photo: A boater leaves Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey in 2010. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For the Los Angeles Times