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Future of Redondo Marina Still Uncertain

Thursday, November 30, 2006
By James Longton

King Harbor renovation plans have been formulated; however, voter approval will most likely be necessary to move forward.

Guest Hoisting - A hoist in King Harbor provides limited access to the water for trailerable boats. Plans for a launch ramp are being discussed in conjunction with plans to renovate the harbor, but a local petition could subject the ramp idea to public vote.
Photo by: James Longton
By James Longton

REDONDO BEACH- The second annual Redondo Beach Economic Development Summit was held last month at the Portifino Hotel overlooking the waters of Redondo Marina.

Officials such as mayor Michael Gin, city manager Bill Workman and harbor commi Alex Banderman gathered to discuss the continually delayed and neglected plans to renovate the aging King Harbor.

Alongside proposals to improve local water quality and secure a community visitor's center, Mar Ventures president Alan Mackenzie presented initial plans for a waterfront revitalization that his firm has been preparing for years.

The private company currently holding the lease on the marina is focusing on projects like a boutique hotel, time-share condominiums, and a conference center facilitating as many as 500 people. In addition, Mackenzie continues to assure the boating community that a public access boat ramp is a secure part of the plans.

"The city thinks it critical, and we think it's critical," Mackenzie said. "In our development plans, we have provisions for a boat launch designed and built to the Department of Boating and Waterway standards."

Located at the south end of the property and facing northwest into the turning basin, the new launch would be two lanes wide and development would include parking for a minimum of 40 cars.

Earlier this year, the city appeared to be making progress with harbor renovation plans only to meet with the same kind of bureaucratic delays that have hindered marina development for decades.

The harbor continues to operate two public boat hoists and many boaters continue to complain about their limitations, therefore supporting the new launch. Others voice concerns about the possible problems associated with a new ramp.

"Granted, the hoists aren't exactly perfect for the marina," said longtime Redondo Beach resident and lifelong boater Jack Shelton. "But this new, easy access launch could attract more cars and boats than we want down here."

While the project again seems to be gaining some momentum, progress with any harbor development could come down to an initiative that would require voter approval. A petition is currently being circulated by Building a Better Redondo (a political action committee) to put all major land use changes to a public vote. Mackenzie is concerned that the initiative will sink his plans and deter any renovations from progressing in the near future.

"No major investors will spend money to process these plans if it still needs to go to the voters," Mackenzie said at the conference. "If the petition passes, we will cease planning until the outcome is known."
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