The Redondo Beach Marina will get a $2.7-million face lift this fall, including construction of a gourmet restaurant and several removable docks for visiting boats, under a plan approved this past week by the City Council.
Charles Johnston, who holds a long-term lease with the city for 30 acres of land and water just north of the International Boardwalk, said the renovation project "completes the concept" of his leasehold, which already includes several restaurants, boat slips and a mooring area. He said he hopes to have the improvements completed by the summer of 1986.
Johnston is also building a 353-room Sheraton hotel on the so-called Triangle redevelopment site across the street from the leasehold property. Construction of the hotel, expected to begin next week, is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 1986.
"In keeping with development of the entire area, I wanted the Redondo Beach Marina to be something more handsome than it presently is," Johnston said, adding that he hopes the marina will become a "focal point" for hotel guests.
Picnic Area, Landscaping
In addition to the 150-seat restaurant and guest docks, the plan calls for a public picnic area, landscaping of parking lots, construction of a ships' chandlery, an addition to the marina office building and renovation of facades at the sportfishing pier. Johnston said he also hopes to establish a water taxi service to mooring areas and open a small post office.
The Redondo Beach Marina Master Improvement Plan, as the project is called, was approved by the city's Harbor Review Board in March but was brought before the council on an appeal by Councilman Ray Amys, who represents the harbor district. The council voted 3 to 1 Monday night to uphold the harbor panel's decision, with Amys casting the sole dissenting vote.
Amys said he appealed the review board's ruling because of complaints that the board did not conduct a fair public hearing before voting. Amys cited a letter from Tim Lavalli, who lives near the harbor, and a statement from an unnamed board member alleging that members of the public were "intimidated" by board president Randy Kimose at the hearing.
"While you are openly in support of the master plan by Mr. Johnston, that does not give you a forum to squelch debate on the issue, particularly during a public meeting," Lavalli wrote in the letter to Kimose. Kimose has denied the charges.
'Jamming' Harbor Area
At Monday's council hearing, Amys asked Johnston numerous questions about parking provisions in the plan and charged that the construction would amount to "jamming" more businesses into the harbor area.
"You have restaurants in there right now that are efficient and doing a good job," Amys said. "By putting in a new restaurant, you aren't stealing customers, you are stealing parking places."
Mayor Barbara Doerr, who later said she had no choice but to support the plan because it conforms with city ordinances, also questioned the parking provisions and asked for assurances that a public walkway would be maintained along the entire length of the waterfront property.
City Harbor Director Sheila Schoettger assured Amys and Doerr that the plan includes sufficient parking, adding that Johnston actually plans 36 more spaces than required by city ordinances.
Schoettger also said the plan meets proposed zoning changes included in a citizens' initiative that calls for more restrictive development standards in the King Harbor area, such as a 15-foot setback along the waterfront.