Alamitos Bay public pier and dock float to be replaced

Upgraded infrastructure expected to benefit Long Beach’s Leeway Sailing Center.

VENTURA — The California Coastal Commission approved proposed changes to a pier and dock float at Long Beach’s Leeway Center Dec. 8, paving the way for improved public access for recreational activities on the water.

Long Beach city officials will be able to move forward with plans to replace a public pier, dock float and gondola tour office over public tidelands at Alamitos Bay.

The city’s planned changes would benefit Leeway Sailing Center, according to commission staff.

Upgrading the infrastructure adjacent to Leeway, which is owned by the city, would allow Long Beach to offer low-cost coastal recreational activities, such as canoeing, kayaking, gondola rides and standup paddleboarding, to the public.

“The proposed project is intended to enhance existing public access and recreation activities by extending the life of a popular public facility that serves a variety of coastal visitors,” a commission staff report stated. “The existing pier is open to members of the public for general access and scenic views 24 hours per day.”

Boaters and coastal visitors would benefit from improvements to the public pier and dock float, according to the commission staff report.

“[Long Beach city staff] indicates that the proposed new facilities will better serve boaters and coastal visitors because it will replace deteriorated infrastructure, meet current building and seismic codes, improve access for people with disabilities, and provide space for additional educational support,” commission staff stated. “While the size of the new pier, dock float, and gondola tour office will be similar to that of the existing facilities, the city indicates that the new facilities have been designed to maximize recreational opportunities based on current equipment and programs.”

California State University Long Beach’s sailing program uses the dock for boat storage and classes, commission staff added in its report to commissioners.

A private vendor leases space at the pier and dock to offer gondola rides to the public. Public access to the local beach would also be improved once the project is completed, commission staff continued.

Leeway, which is currently closed, would likely be remodeled as part of the city’s plans.

“The Sailing Center is currently closed in a state of disrepair, but will be remodeled by the City in the near future subject to a local coastal development permit which may be appealed to the Coastal Commission,” commission staff stated.

Construction would take 10 months to complete, city staff estimated. Public access would be affected during construction but city and commission staff both indicated the effects would be minimized.

“Construction of the proposed project will temporarily affect public access to and along the shoreline. During construction, the dock float will not be available to store sailboats and other recreational equipment and the gondola tour office will be displaced. Additionally, construction activities will require partial restrictions to sandy beach area,” commission staff stated. “The city indicates that construction will last up to 10 months but that it will sequence activities to minimize disruptions and provide maximum access during the summer months.”

Commission staff added the new pier and dock float would “slightly increase water coverage over Alamitos Bay.”

Infrastructure improvements at Leeway would, according to commission staff, “avoid adverse impacts to marine resources and … withstand the effects of natural hazards including severe storms, high tides, and sea level rise.”

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