(Editor’s note: Responding to Councilmen Mike Bonin and Mark Ridley-Thomas’ motion to place the homeless at Will Rogers and Dockweiler Beaches, Westchester and Mar Vista Parks, the L.A. Westside Municipal Building, LAX, Marina del Rey Boat Ramp, Dockweiler RV Park and a site in Culver City, a City feasibility study dismissed the Municipal Building, the beaches and parks as infeasible. Still under consideration are the Marina del Rey public boat launch parking lot, the Dockweiler RV Park, LAX and Culver City. In an August 16 story (“Dockweiler RV Park is a Popular Destination for Legitimate Tourists/Travelers”), CTN noted that using a RV park for the homeless would take that site away from children and families. Here’s information we received today about why using the Marina boat ramp would also take away resources from the public and pose safety issues.)
Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau’s CEO Janet Zaldua issued the following statement last Friday:
“The tourism and hospitality businesses in Marina del Rey strongly believe that temporary housing or a safe sleep site in the Marina near visitor attractions such as the public boat launch ramp, dining establishments, retail shops, the Visitors Center, or any of the Marina’s eight hotels will have a damaging effect on business and deter visitors and business travelers from coming to the Marina for recreation, business, or social celebrations.
“We believe Parking Lot #2/Marina del Rey Public Boat Launch ramp is not a suitable alternative location for homeless housing, namely because a safe sleeping site or temporary housing would 1) serve as a barrier to its use for recreational boating activities, 2) negatively impact local businesses that rely on tourism, especially during their recovery efforts from the pandemic, and 3) utilize space that is currently designated as a site for emergency disaster response and helicopter emergency landing zone.”
The statement notes that this is the only public boat launch ramp between Ventura and Redondo Beach and it “provides coastal access to tens of thousands of boaters who do not have or cannot afford boat slips.”
The letter also explains that people towing boats need larger direct pathways to the launch ramp, and this would be a safety concern to homeless who would have direct access to the ramp. “This location poses a risk to public safety.”
More importantly, “This parking lot is the only area within the Marina that provides a launch ramp that can be used in the event of a major emergency or catastrophe . . .it is included in the LAX Airport Emergency Air/Sea Disaster Plan and would be used for various staging needs in the event of a disaster. It is also designated for use as an emergency landing zone for helicopters and ambulances to airlift life threatening trauma patients to nearby trauma centers. For this reason alone, the lot should remain clear and available for use in the event of emergency operations.”
The letter points out that the City had never reached out to local businesses to discuss the impact. It asks that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors require a feasibility study to include the impact on constituents, tourism and the Marina del Rey community at large.
“Los Angeles County is enormous in size. Surely there are a vast number of alternative sites that would be better suited for homeless housing than the parking lot of a boat launch ramp surrounded by tourism businesses, attractions, and the many locals, visitors and families that utilize the parking lot to gain access to the coast and enjoy water recreation.”