The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors has decided to postpone once again voting on approving a lease option to Samuel Hardage and his proposal to erect 2 Marriott hotels on Via Marina until 2015. No specific date has been mentioned. The Board was originally scheduled to vote on this on November 18, 2014, but it required a vote of 4 out 5 Supervisors to pass and a quorum was not present. It was then postponed until December 9, 2014. It has now been postponed until 2015. Marcia Hanscom of The Ballona Institute communicated and confirmed this with Supervisors Don Knabe, Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas. The Agenda for the December 9 lists this as Item 23 and states that the Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors has requested that this item be referred back to them before the BOS votes. The Department of Beaches and Harbors, along with County counsel, is in charge of negotiating and approving agreements between the County and lessees, prior to submission the Board of Supervisors.
The lease option, along with new documents connected with it, was only made public on November 6, and then only online and with very limited notification to those affected. Final approval will now have to go before the Department of Beaches and Harbors, the Department of Regional Planning and finally the Board of Supervisors. No doubt many factors were involved in Knabe’s decision including the fact that many residents and organizations wrote the Board of Supervisors objecting to the project and the lack of timely notification to the public. The Los Angeles County Small Craft and Harbor Commission, which held the first and so far only public hearing on the lease option and new documents associated with the project (totaling several hundred pages), was asked to vote on the lease option in early November. It voted to approve, however the one dissenting vote was by Chairman Allan Rifkin, Zev Yarovosky’s appointee, who appeared to feel that the vote was being rushed through prior to the seating of Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl. Another Commision member, Russ Lesser stated that the Commission was not being given enough time to review the many pages of new documents and also expressed dissatisfaction with the lease option (he nevertheless voted to approve).
It is expected that organizations including the Ballona Institute and the Sierra Club, along with the public, including residents of both MDR, the City of Los Angeles, and recreational users of the Marina del Rey harbor will keep up their efforts to keep Hardage’s project from coming to fruition. The is a wide-spread view that a far better use of this site, the last and largest remaining undeveloped parcel with uninterrupted views of the harbor, should be developed as a public park. The Silver Strand News will keep you posted re any upcoming Los Angeles County meetings on the this issue.