Los Angeles-area marina gains approval

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A marina was recently approved for the Los Angeles area's Balboa Peninsula.

A plan to transform a portion of the area into a marina and park received the go-ahead, but the approval will not allow a 71-foot lighthouse that was planned as the focal point, according to The Orange County Register.

The California Coastal Commission, which met last week in Huntington Beach, voted 6-6 to deny a request to remove a restriction on the project's proposed lighthouse tower. Commission staff opposed the height of the tower, saying it was excessive and out of character for the surrounding area.

It also exceeded height limitations in the city’s Local Coastal Program. Other commission members said the lighthouse tower could serve as a landmark for sailors to find the marina.

The park will feature a public marina with 23 visitor vessel slots for boat docking, an 11,000-square-foot community center, a 13,000-square-foot sailing center, a restroom with a 35-foot lighthouse aesthetic feature and park space. The site is on a 10.4-acre portion of land on the bay side of the peninsula. The park also will include 157 parking spaces and increased access to a portion of the bay, officials said.

Councilman Michael Henn said the city is willing to spend close to $25 million on the project and has already spent $13 million on water quality-related aspects of it.

The project will be built on a site that 57 mobile homes now occupy. The city and the residents have agreed on a settlement, so the homes can be removed when the project gets its final approval, officials said.

Many residents spoke in favor of the project at Wednesday's meeting, including some residents of the mobile home park. Others expressed concern that the project would increase traffic and slow emergency response times.

Don Schmitz, development consultant for the city, said there will have to be more discussions about how the city wants to handle the commission's denial of the lighthouse tower.

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