Supervisors OK higher parking, docking fees at L.A. County beaches

Knabe: it's "residents and visitors who pay the price when we increase our fees to 'keep up with the Joneses'"

Fees for parking, special events and boat docking will increase at many of Los Angeles County's beaches and marinas following a vote Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

Fees at facilities operated by the Department of Beaches and Harbors were last increased in 2009. The department proposed fee increases that would have brought in $1.2 million in added revenue each year, but the board scaled back some of the proposed increases.

"I understand that some surrounding communities charge as much or more than the proposed fees, but they didn't necessarily get to those levels all at once," board Chairman Don Knabe said. "Even then, we need to remember it is our residents and visitors who pay the price when we increase our fees to 'keep up with the Joneses.' "

At Knabe's suggestion, the board voted that parking fees should increase by no more than $2.50 per lot entry for the next year -- rather than the $5 increases that had been proposed at some of the lots -- with parking at Fisherman's Village in Marina del Rey remaining at $1 for every 20 minutes, and that fees for a sailing and ocean sports camp geared toward disadvantaged youths should increase no more than $35.

The parking fee increases only apply to weekends during the summer. They must also be approved by the California Coastal Commission before taking effect.

A handful of residents argued against the fee increases.

"Public lands of Marina del Rey were intended for all the county residents to enjoy access to the water," said Jon Nahhas, a Marina del Rey boating advocate. "More fee increases on people that cannot afford the fees would further limit citizens' options to get to the cooler climate during the summer."

The rate hikes apply to beaches operated by the county, including some in Malibu, San Pedro, Marina del Rey, Venice, and Dockweiler State Beach. They do not apply to beaches operated by cities, including Santa Monica, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.

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