Byline: Taylor Hill
VENTURA — Following the California Coastal Commission’s April approval of a major landside redevelopment project in Ventura Harbor, the commission met Aug. 8 and signed off on a new 104-slip public marina that will be built adjacent to the 23-acre site.
The unanimous approval gives project developers Sondermann-Ring Partners and the Ventura Port District the necessary adjusted lot lines surrounding the residential development at Schooner and Anchors Way drives to add 3.1 acres of water area to the current 3.2 acres — to develop a 44,000-square-foot marina that will include 104 slips ranging from 30 to 80 feet.
The additional slips will increase Ventura Harbor’s slip total from 1,248 to 1,352. The project will add six transient berths in the harbor, a 90-foot-long dock designated for personal watercraft — including paddleboards and kayaks — and a water taxi stop.
With the landside approval in place, the marina will accompany the planned 300 apartments, 2-acre park and 21,000 square feet of commercial space.
According to Sondermann-Ring Partner’s plans, the marina will have amenities at each berthing space — including water, shore power, telephone and television hookups, and Wi-Fi service. An in-slip pumpout service — operated by dock personnel — will also be available to boats in each berth.
“The community is 100 percent in support of this project,” said Commissioner Brian Brennan during the meeting. “I’m really excited to see the public get to activate and utilize the 90-foot-long dock and transient slips.”
Brennan went on to say that during his time on the commission, the agency has worked to put guest slips in Newport Beach and Marina del Rey, creating a series of transient slips available to boaters along the coast.
“Small-boat owners can launch their trailerable boats, and get around to different harbors; kind of gunkhole your way up and down the coast,” Brennan said.
According to the report, the six transient dock spaces will be available for visiting boaters on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, for stays up to 120 days in a calendar year.
Upon completion, the marina will add six 30-foot slips, 34 slips for 35-foot boats and 57 slips for boats 36 to 80 feet in length. An additional six end-ties and side-ties measuring 270 linear feet will be included, and one 35-foot slip will be set aside to be used for a nonprofit organization, such as a sailing school.
While the new marina only features six slips in the small-boat range, Ventura Harbor’s slip ratio only changed slightly, with the total percentage of slips smaller than 30 feet in Ventura dropping from 29 percent to 27 percent.
The harbor’s slip percentage designated for midsize vessels (31 to 35 feet) increased from 21.4 percent to 22 percent of the harbor’s total slips. The slip ratio for larger vessels (longer than 36 feet) increased from 49.7 percent to 50 percent. Developer Michael Sondermann noted during the meeting that both the Port District and Sondermann-Ring Partners were in agreement with the Coastal Commission’s requirements that included the transient boat slips, water taxi designation and pumpout service.
Sondermann will be working on both the waterside and landside portions of the project located at the harbor’s northeast end. At the April 12 meeting, the Coastal Commission approved an amendment to the area’s Local Coastal Plan that allowed for a changed in land-use designation from Harbor Commercial to Coastal Mixed Use, allowing for the 300-apartment project to move forward.
“We’re thrilled to see this important project take a big step forward,” said Ventura Port District manager Oscar Peña, following the April meeting.
The port chose Marina del Rey-based developer Sondermann Ring Partners in 1999 to help bring new facilities to the vacant waterfront site. Disagreements in the project’s original design, the economic recession and the death of Sondermann’s partner Douglas Ring in 2009 caused serious delays in the project, but the Coastal Commission’s approval marks a big step forward, Peña said.
“This project will ensure the creation of a unique, high-quality place for people to enjoy and it also promotes open space for the public’s benefit,” Peña said.
Because the land-use change reduced the area’s potential for visitor-serving uses, public amenities and water-oriented recreational facilities, Sondermann-Ring Partners in conjunction with the Coastal Commission staff offered several mitigation measures that included improvements to Ventura Harbor’s Leo Robbins Community Sailing Center as well as the additional public boating amenities included in the marina plan.