To ensure that the public is informed of the county's plans for using the improvement fund, the county needs to more clearly communicate its intentions and then update such communications as its plans change. The county's communications could be as simple as a public notice and a posting to its Web site that include the following:
- Information on the specific projects and parcels in Marina del Rey where it intends to spend money from the improvement fund for the development of open space (or a time frame for making such a decision).
- The time frame for the expected start and completion of such projects.
The County has clearly communicated with the public its intent to use the Coastal Improvement Fund (CIF) to fund the Marina del Rey wetland park. Revised site plans have been posted on the County Department of Beaches and Harbor (DBH) website under the webpage Possible Future Uses of the Coastal Improvement Fund. The webpage provides updated site plans of the wetland park as well estimates for construction commencement (Spring 2016). In addition, in November 2015 the County held a community meeting to provide the community with additional information about the upcoming project. The meeting was held on November 19, 2015 and approximately 80 people attended, the meeting notice was posted on the County website, published in the Argonaut Newspaper and notices were mailed to residents on the DBH courtesy list. The County discussed the purpose of the park, the planning behind it, the possible construction impacts, funding of the park though CIF dollars and answered any questions that the public wanted to ask.
The Coastal Improvement Fund (CIF) webpage has specifics on two projects where CIF funds are intended to be used. The webpage shows draft site plans and renderings of the proposed plans. A time frame is not listed because it is not known. As time frames become available, the website will be updated to reflect the most up to date information.
Until the Department of Regional Planning updates its website to include information on the expected start and completion dates of proposed projects, or provides a time frame for when this information will become available, this recommendation will remain only partially implemented.
The Department of Regional Planning has created a new public webpage, specifically for information pertaining to the Coastal Improvement Fund. The webpage includes Coastal Improvement Fund annual reports, current fee rates and a link to possible future projects using the Coastal Improvement Fund. The link to the website is as follows: http://planning.lacounty.gov/marina/fund.
Although the county Department of Regional Planning's website includes information on the specific projects where the county intends to spend money from the improvement fund for the development of open space, it does not provide information for the expected start and completion of such projects.
To better ensure that developers do not obtain building permits before they pay the fee to the improvement fund, the county needs to finalize its improvement fund management procedures regarding the collection of the fee and the reporting of that collection to Public Works.Specifically, such policies should include a protocol for how Regional Planning communicates the amount due to Beaches and Harbors.
The Department of Regional Planning has established Coastal Improvement Fund Management and Implementation Guidelines which specifically address how Regional Planning will communicate with the Department of Beaches and Harbors the CIF amount due for each approved project.
To better ensure that developers do not obtain building permits before they pay the fee to the improvement fund, the county needs to finalize its improvement fund management procedures regarding the collection of the fee and the reporting of that collection to Public Works. Specifically, such policies should include a protocol for how Beaches and Harbors informs Public Works that the developer has paid the fee to the improvement fund.
The Department of Beaches and Harbors now has a stamp that informs the Department of Public Works that the Coastal Improvement Fund has been paid or is not required for a project.
The county had established formal guidelines specifying the Department of Beaches and Harbors' role and responsibilities in the management and implementation of the Coastal Improvement Fund (improvement fund), which includes informing the Department of Public Works that the improvement fund fee has been paid or is not required to ensure that developers do not obtain building permits before they pay their respective improvement fund fee.
To ensure that developers do not receive project credits to which they are not entitled, the county should develop a mechanism that will allow its enforcement unit to verify that the developer actually earned the credits it received.
The Department of Regional Planning has developed new language to include in all future Marina del Rey projects subject to the Coastal Improvement Fund. This language will be included as a condition of approval will specifically state the total CIF contribution due and/or how much project credit was received. This new language along with our existing condition for permit inspections will allow our enforcement team to verify the developer actually earned the credits it received.
The applicant is developing XX net new residential units and the CIF fee is calculated at a rate of (specify current rate). The total CIF fee due, prior to any project credit is $XXXX. The applicant is providing XX square feet of improved public open space (include description of improvements, i.e. promenade, landscaping, etc.). Project credit is calculated at a rate of (specify current rate). Based on the total square footage of improved public open space, the applicant has a CIF credit of $XXXX. Therefore, the applicant fulfills the CIF requirements through the on-site provision of public open space. - OR - Therefore the applicant fulfills the CIF requirements through the combination of an on-site provision of public open space and a CIF contribution in the amount of $XXXX.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.