LOS ANGELES COUNTY--One of these Tuesdays the LA County Board of Supervisors plans to vote on whether to grant a 60-year lease to MDR Boat Central, L.P. and so remove the final obstacle to that company’s construction of an 80 ft. high automated dry stack boat storage facility which will extend 11,600 square ft. over the water. (Photo of proposed project above.)
The vote should be continued until after the forthcoming election and subsequent installation of District 4’s next County Supervisor. It’s the people of District 4 who will be most directly affected by the project.
The dry stack boat storage facility is an ineffective solution in search of a problem. As we reported in an earlier CityWatch piece, Marina del Rey doesn't happen to have a shortage of affordable dry stack facilities and boat slips; and contrary to what the Coastal Commissioners were led to believe (during a festival of ex parte meetings with the applicant,) there's only one operational, fully automated dry stack boat storage facility in the world. It's associated with the neighboring luxury condominium complex and does not even have the ability to store non-luxury sized boats. We could go on.
Far more important are the voices of the people who use and love Dock 52. No one is more eloquent on the topic than one of the public speakers at a recent public hearing on the project. What follows are the words of Dr. Patrick O'Heffernan, edited only for space:
“Dock 52 is more than a parking lot and a boat ramp. It is a community resource used by people from around the county. On any given Sunday morning you will see my club there with thirty or forty people. You will see other bike clubs, many who are African American, as is my club. You will see groups of people in buses and vans from Koreatown to go fishing. You will see church groups who use this as a stage for their fundraising. This is more than a parking lot. It is a community resource.
“I did a little survey of my own and found that people come from at least five different congressional districts in Los Angeles to be here. They come from Menlo Park, from west Adams to east Compton to the Valley, all over. One of the reasons that they come here is this is the only free parking lot in the Marina and there are many, many families and many, many groups that get together to come down there with their children and can spend the day over on the bridge, over by the Ballona Creek fishing, teaching their children how to fish, and they won't do it if they had to pay for parking.
When you look at social benefits of Dock 52 and begin to calculate those, and there are many of you that do that, you see that any benefits that might accrue to the 235 people that might possibly use some of the slips in this, some of the storage in this -- there is no question. It fails a cost benefit analysis for the same reason it fails the social benefits. The social benefits accrue to 200 people or less, depending or whether or not the facility is used and to the investors, but thousands of people use Dock 52 over the year. They use it for parking to go into the path. They use it for fishing. They use it for boat launching. Thousands of people use it, so when you balance that against the possible utility of 200 people with their boats, there is no question."
(Eric Preven is a CityWatch contributor and a Studio City based writer-producer and public advocate for better transparency in local government. He was a candidate in the 2015 election for Los Angeles City Council, 2nd District. Joshua Preven is a CityWatch contributor and a teacher who lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.