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Marina del Rey Redevelopment allegedly violates Los Angeles County Laws

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is the governing body of the County of Los Angeles. As such, it has the unique function of serving as the executive and legislative head of the largest and most complex county government in the entire United States. One of the many functions of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in it’s role as serving as the Executive Board for the County of Los Angeles is the administration and management of Los Angeles County owned land. The land located at 13900 Marquesas Way and 4242 Via Marina, located in Marina del Rey, is owned by the County of Los Angeles. On December 7, 2000, Supervising Regional Planner, Frank Meneses, signed a contract with the County of Los Angeles, on behalf of James E Hartl, Director of Planning, Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning approved the Costal Development Permit No.98-134(4). Conditional Use Permit No. 98-134(4), Parking Permit No. 98-134(4), and Variance No. 98-134(4) for a two phase development of multi-unit apartment complexes to be located on .

Section 2.180.010(A) of the Los Angeles County Code reads as follows; ". . . The County shall not contract with, and shall reject any bid or proposal by. . . public agencies for which the Board of Supervisors is the governing body." The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors is the governing body over the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, and it is therefore a conflict of interest and a violation of Los Angeles County Code Section 2.180.010(A), for the Department of Regional Planning to enter into a contract in the form of the above mentioned permits with the County of Los Angeles. The Department of Regional Planning Permit No. 98-134(4) goes with the land not with the tenant/developer.

Los Angeles County Code Section 22.56.400; Expiration date of unused variances, states "A variance which is not used within the time specified in such variance . . . becomes null and. void and of no effect. . . " Permit No. 98-134(4) was granted on December 7, 2000.for a two phase development. Phase 1,.located at 13900 Marquesas Way, consists of demolition o f 120 residential units, 464 boat slips, and 5,600 square feet of commercial office space, and construction of a 437 unit apartment complex, 969 garage parking spaces, 227 boat slips, and 2,000 square feet of commercial space. Phase 2 was never built. Condition 10 states; "This grant will expire unless used within 2 years from the date of approval. A one year time extension may be requested before the expiration date." The County of Los Angeles has decided, fourteen years later, to use said permit, which is now null and void.

Further, as provided under Los Angeles County Code Section 22.56.330, the variances granted under Permit No. 98-134(4) must substantiate all of the following findings;

1. That because of special circumstances or exceptional characteristics applicable to the property, the strict application of the code deprives such property of privileges enjoyed by other property in the vicinity and under identical zoning classification; and

2. That the adjustment authorized will not constitute a grant of special privilege inconsistent with the limitations upon other propertied in the vicinity and zone in which the property is situated; and

3. That strict application of zoning regulations as they apply to such property will result in practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship inconsistent with the general purpose of such regulations and standards; and

4. That such adjustment will not be materially detrimental to the public health, safety or general welfare, or to the use, enjoyment, or valuation of property of other persons located in the vicinity.

Said application for a variance does not meet the findings and should have never been granted. I wonder if the fact that the land in question is owned by the County of Los Angeles had something to do with the granting of zoning variances that don’t meet the findings? I also wonder if the fact that the land where a great deal of the apartments in Marina del Rey are located is owned by the County of Los Angeles might explain why Marina del Rey is one of the few areas in Los Angeles County that does not have rent control?


marina chick March 29, 2014 at 11:34 PM
I'd like the writer to interpret the ordinance, not just cut and paste it...I read it but have no idea what it means.. example is "That strict application of zoning regulations as they apply to such property will result in practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship inconsistent with the general purpose of such regulations and standards; and" What does that mean to mdr residents? thanks
Robert Cherno March 31, 2014 at 04:04 AM
Many years ago, the California Supreme Court expressed its concern that if variances were routinely granted without satisfying the legal prerequisites, administrative boards, such as planning commissions, could undermine the legislative role of a city council by essentially rewriting the zoning code on an ad hoc basis. Therefore, the court announced new, more stringent standards for variances to ensure that variances are the exception rather than the rule. The court stated that judicial review of variances could no longer be "perfunctory or mechanically superficial.” Instead, the court required agencies to adopt written findings, supported by substantial evidence in the record, that demonstrate compliance with each of the statutory criteria for a variance. In essence, Los Angeles County law requires that the property be unique in some way, unlike any other property in the area, and in order for it to be developed, requires changes in the zoning laws. The property in question is one of the most valuable properties anywhere in Los Angeles County, and clearly does not require zoning variances to be developed. In addition, the Los Angeles County Conflict of Interest law prohibits the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning from granting zoning variances and conditional use permits to properties owned by Los Angeles County. These properties not only don't meeting the requirements of granting a zoning variance in Los Angeles County, but clearly, the properties are owned by Los Angeles County and therefore the Department of Regional Planning is violating the law by granting said zoning variances and conditional use permits!
budd smith May 06, 2014 at 09:03 AM
Actually the County of L.A. does not own Marina del Rey. They have been trying to swindle it from the true owners for several decades now. In 1984 a case went before the US Supreme Court which reaffirmed that there is no Public Trust Lands inside of any area that was ever part of a Mexican Land Grant. [See SUMMA CORP. V. CAL. STATE LANDS COMM'N, 466 U. S. 198 (1984) ] This is the key to having justice in Marina del Rey.

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