Skip to main content

Aerial view of Marina del Rey

Hunter Kerhart Architectural Photography

L.A. County explores changes to Marina del Rey Vision statement

The unincorporated community has been called L.A. County's "crown jewel"

July 15, 2022, 10:30AMSteven Sharp 32 Comments

Los Angeles County's redistricting process moved Marina del Rey into the 2nd Supervisorial District, which is now represented by former state legislator Holly Mitchell. And with that new representation comes new priorities for redevelopment of the unincorporated community, which County officials have described as the region's "crown jewel."

Built in the mid-20th century, the Marina today ranks as the second largest manmade harbor in the world, consisting of 401 acres of land and 403 acres of water. The surrounding land, all owned by Los Angeles County, has been redeveloped through long-term ground leases into a mixture of boating facilities, multifamily housing, hotels, restaurants, and other civic spaces.

Hunter Kerhart Architectural Photography.

"Since its inception, [Marina del Rey] has largely been developed on a parcel-by-parcel basis, with the County leasing its land and water to individual private developers," writes Mitchell in a motion introduced at the July 12 meeting of the Board of Supervisors. "Given the evolution of [Marina del Rey] and the needs of the County’s growing and diverse population, continued development according to this piecemeal approach is not sustainable and would forestall a historic opportunity to make [Marina del Rey] accessible to the broadest and most diverse spectrum of visitors and residents since its creation."

Since 2014, development in the unincorporated community has been dictated by the Marina del Rey Vision statement, which aimed to revamp the area as more of a regional and tourist destination. While recent years have seen the construction of new housing, hotels, and public open space to the neighborhood, a widespread overhaul has proved elusive.

Mitchell, as the new County level representative for the community, sees an update to the vision statement as an opportunity to not only shape a more cohesive vision for the Marina, but also to address historic issues such as historic redlining and racist practices in coastal communities, such as limiting the access of communities of color to the beach.

"By strategically planning for the long-term use of County property, we can help achieve important Board policies and initiatives, including equity, inclusion, and poverty alleviation, as well as environmental justice, the provision of affordable housing, and enhanced tenant and workforce protections," writes Mitchell. "In addition, we have an opportunity to effectuate DBH’s strategic goals, including enhanced public access to [Marina del Rey], sustained coastal vitality, and environmental stewardship."

Mitchell's motion, which was adopted by the Board, directs County staff to report on potential strategies for amending the 2014 vision statement. Potential additions outlined in the motion include:

  • Increased inclusivity and accessibility of Marina del Rey and its waterside amenities for all County residents and visitors, including via public or multi-modal transportation;
  • Increased focus on community-serving amenities and the opportunity to incorporate youth-serving programming;
  • Sustainable and equitable development and business practices, including LEED Gold certification, payment of Prevailing Wage, and compliance with applicable County policies like Local and Targeted Worker Hiring and Labor Peace Policy;
  • A community aquatic center that is open to the public;
  • A community-serving one-stop civic center and plaza, to potentially
  • A new consolidated [Department of Beaches and Harbors] headquarters, an enhanced library facility, and other County resources;
  • Increased or enhanced park and open spaces for public enjoyment;
  • Expansion of public recreation spaces at Mother’s Beach and Burton Chace Park;
  • Activation of a more vibrant waterfront with an array of free and low-cost recreational and community programming accessible to all;
  • Incorporation of public art elements;
  • New and improved visual identification of Marina del Rey as a destination/community, including monument, wayfinding, placemaking/landmark, and informational/interpretive signage, etc.;
  • De-emphasized use of County property for surface parking lots;
  • Enhanced tenant and workforce protections;
  • Increased provision of affordable and "missing middle" housing;
  • Protection and expansion of wildlife habitats, especially marine bird rookeries; and
  • Protection and enhancement of strategic scenic resources, especially marina and ocean view corridors.

A report back is scheduled to occur within approximately 180 days.

Entry pavilion and water featureLos Angeles County