Representatives from the state Coastal Conservancy met with Marina Peninsula residents Monday night to begin planning increased public access to the beach south of the Venice Pier.

Los Angeles City Council President Pat Russell asked the conservancy to study the peninsula area to try develop a solution to the beach access problem. The the final decision will be made by the City of Los Angeles and the state Coastal Commission.

For years, the peninsula, sandwiched between Marina del Rey and the beach, has been the subject of controversy. The state Coastal Commission has rejected the area's local coastal plan, in part because of a shortage of parking in the area.

Ruth Galanter, a consultant to the conservancy, told about 50 area residents that the agency will draft plans in the next few months for addressing the beach access issue and increasing parking without harming Ballona Lagoon, an environmentally sensitive habitat, or disrupting the residential community.

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