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Six-story Marriott approved over objections from Marina del Rey residents

The sunset illuminates the sail as a crew of sailors glides across the water in Marina del Rey. Residents are at odds with Los Angeles County officials over a planned hotel development.

The sunset illuminates the sail as a crew of sailors glides across the water in Marina del Rey. Residents are at odds with Los Angeles County officials over a planned hotel development.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Over the objections of Marina del Rey residents upset about the pace of development in the coastal area, Los Angeles County supervisors approved plans to lease county land for a new six-story, 288-room Marriott hotel building.

The planned project, which would consist of two hotels operating in a single building, has been downsized from an original proposal for a 19-story facility. But many area residents argue that it will worsen traffic and parking issues and endanger people who might need to evacuate in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.

A portion of the land will be set aside as a wetland, but environmentalists want to see the entire now-vacant parcel turned into a wetland park.

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Marina del Rey resident Sharie Green asked the board to create a “planned community, not a piecemeal one.”

“These are projects driven by greed, not by need,” she said.

Union members came out in support, favoring the project because the developer has agreed to a “labor peace” deal that will make it easier to organize the hotel’s workforce.

And Janet Zaldua, chief executive of the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau, said hotels are in high demand in the area and that the project “will strengthen the Marina’s position as a premiere travel and tourism destination.”

The supervisors voted unanimously to move forward with the project and with an agreement with MDR Hotels, giving the company the option for a 60-year lease of the property.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl had a testy exchange with some of the Marina del Rey project opponents following the vote.

After voting on the hotel proposal, the supervisors moved on to a proposal by Kuehl to hire a consultant to look for ways to better serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths in the county’s foster care and probation systems and those receiving services from other county departments.

Kuehl, the first openly gay supervisor to serve on the board, said those youths are overrepresented in the child welfare system and “face unique challenges and barriers to finding positive outcomes and permanent homes.”

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Many of the hotel critics remained in the board room, vocally registering their displeasure as the board moved on to the next order of business, spurring Kuehl to accuse them of “rudeness” and “selfishness.”

“This may seem like just another thing to you, but it is not to me,” she said. “These children need this attention.”

The board voted unanimously to approve that proposal as well.

Follow Abby Sewell on @sewella for more county news.

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