Parimal M. Rohit
LOS ANGELES — Nonprofit organizations that rented boat slips at Marina del Rey’s Anchorage 47 and were allowed to remain at the docks as landside construction began earlier this year will be given financial relief, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors agreed on July 14.
Supervisors unanimously backed a plan to waive slip fees the nonprofits accumulated during the past few months but did not pay to the county. The organizations were apparently operating on agreements the county did not permit to exist.
Specifically, an employee from the county’s Department of Beaches and Harbors unlawfully told nonprofit organizations, such as Fairwinds Yacht Club and Santa Monica Windjammer Yacht Club, to remain at Anchorage 47 without any authority. The organizations, relying upon the county employee’s unauthorized agreements, accumulated $106,000 in slip fees.
“Starting last year, a department employee (although without authority to do so) allowed certain nonprofit organizations to keep their vessels at slips at either a reduced fee or without cost,” Beaches and Harbors Director Gary Jones told supervisors in a letter. “The organizations had a good-faith belief that the employee had authority to allow them to occupy the docks at reduced or no cost. It would place an undue burden on these nonprofit organizations to pay the outstanding accumulated fees.”
Los Angeles County identified at least five organizations impacted by the false agreement: Challenges Foundation, Fairwinds YC, Kurmalliance Foundation, Santa Monica Windjammers YC and Sea Scouts.
Sea Scouts were negatively impacted by a separate error.
“When the Sea Scouts’ docks at the nearby Chace Park anchorage were demolished and replaced in 2014, a number of the organization’s vessels were temporarily relocated to Anchorage 47,” Jones said. “In this instance, too, the same employee neglected to execute or ensure execution of a tenant permit or secure payment for Sea Scouts’ use of the Anchorage 47 slips.”
Jones added his department needed flexibility to adjust slip fees during the construction of Anchorage 47.
“The department is not able to accommodate all existing tenants at the anchorage during construction and must move some to the nearby Chace Park transient docks,” he said. “Charging these tenants the transient dock fees would be prohibitive. Allowing the department to adjust fees as appropriate during construction will help minimize the loss of tenants during the renovation process.”
Adjusting and waiving slip fees would allow the nonprofit organizations to continue its operations and programming without financial harm while minimally impacting the Department of Beaches and Harbors’ budget, Jones added.
“There is no detrimental impact on the department’s … adjusted budget from waiver of accumulated slip fees, given an anticipated year-end surplus of $16.6 million,” Jones said. “Adjusting slip fees during construction will help minimize the loss of tenants, as well as prevent any deleterious holdover in docks slated for replacement, which would result in higher construction costs.”
County supervisors approved plans to renovate Anchorage 47 in July 2014. Landside construction began in January; as reported by The Log in mid-July, waterside construction is expected to begin with dock demolition on Aug. 1. The renovation project should be completed by spring 2016, according to a Beaches and Harbors spokesperson.
The new Anchorage 47 will feature 11 reconfigured docks and accommodate 253 boat slips.