The Los Angeles Department of Regional Planning will hold a scoping meeting on lease-holder Marina Admiralty Company’s (aka E.S. Ring) proposed renovation of Mariner’s Village, an apartment complex at 4600 Via Marina. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 from 6 to 8:30pm in the Community Room at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey.
Residents of Mariner’s Village with the support of the Ballona Institute (http://www.ballonainstitute.org) and concerned members of the Marina del Rey community have succeeded in forcing Marina Admiralty Co. to come up with a revised Environmental Impact Report on the project. Members of the public will have an opportunity to address the DRP with their concerns. If you are unable to attend, you can send a comment to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments will become part of the public record. The deadline for public comment is September 26, 2014.
Mariner’s Village, Marina del Rey, California. Architect and landscaping design Peter Kamnitzer, AIA. Completed in 1972. Photo courtesy Ludivine V on Yelp
One of the ponds at Mariners Village: Courtesy Alec Solo
Why it matters:
1) Mariner’s Village, a 23 acre apartment complex built in the 1972, has 1000 mature trees, now 40 years old, which have provided ideal nesting habitats for the Great Blue Heron and many other bird species for decades. Marina Admiralty Company (aka E.S.Ring), which leases the property from Los Angeles County, had proposed to demolish the existing landscaping, including trees with active nests, waterfalls, ponds with fish, turtles and ducks and replace it with zero-scape plantings. The company has already been cited for violating the code by removing Heron nests on the property without proper permits. Note: mature trees like the pines in Mariner’s Village are extremely drought tolerant requiring very little water.
Great Blue Heron with Chicks in Mariner’s Village: Photo Lina Shanklin, Courtesy Save the Great Blue Herons in the Ballona Valley page on Facebook.
The Great Blue Heron is the largest North American bird of its kind. In Southern California they usually produce 3 to 6 eggs a year, They build large nests from sticks and favor sites near water, including MDR harbor, the Ballona Lagoon and the Ballona Wetlands. Although the birds have some natural predators, in urban situations it is human intervention which poses the greatest threat to the population. These herons are already on the decline in Southern California due to destruction of their habitats by developers. The County, in its obsession with building new hotels, huge apartment complexes and retail centers, doesn’t seem to realize it that birding is a major tourist attraction in the Marina. It is one of the few locations in the city where birders can see shorebirds up close and personal.
2) Marina Admiralty is also planning to “modernize” the exterior of the complex. Mariner’s Village and its landscaping were designed by the late Peter Kamnitzer, AIA, one of Los Angeles’ most distinguished architects. There are less than 4 developments of historic importance in Marina del Rey. Mariner’s Village is one of them. Kamnitzer’s project exemplifies the idea of providing urban residents with a sense of living in a lush, sylvan-like setting complete with ponds and waterfalls, a rarity in Los Angeles. The exterior of the apartment complex is executed in a Cape-Cod style of architectural design which compliments its waterside setting. In addition there are picturesque walkways, a charming area with a cafe and other services and a lovely community room reminiscent of the grand lodge hotels in Yosemite and other national parks.
Community Room at Mariner’s Village, Marina del Rey. Courtesy Mariner’s Village Apartments.
The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, with the support of the Department of Regional Planning and the Design Control Board has aggressively pursued a policy of “upgrading” and “modernizing” Marina del Rey in order to make it a tourist destination, Well and good. However, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. One could say that Venice, Italy, Provincetown, Massachusetts or the beautiful small harbor towns on the west coast of Ireland and Cornwall, England could use some upgrading. What a tragedy that would be. These are places that attract many tourists precisely because they have not been “upgraded” or “modernized.”
To visit Mariner’s Village you can park in the lot across the street and just walk in and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the grounds which include beautiful views of the harbor. You can make a donation to the group working to save the Village by visiting: http://www.gofundme.com/protectlascoastalforest