When Irv Okovita purchased the site known as Cluster Pines in 1981 he envisioned a family park. “It was a Hell’s Angels space,” Okovita said. “I wanted a place where I could live. Now, it’s a place that maybe my kids’ kids can live.”
Okovita’s first vision of the Marina Point development was a 133-unit condominium resort. Several lawsuits and plan changes later, Okovita’s Marina Point project in Fawnskin has been trimmed to 110 condos, or 10 condo units per building and 11 buildings, along with 10 home sites on the western edge of the property. The latest design is still under San Bernardino County Land Use Services review.
The county-approved plan includes 133 units in 17 buildings. In January, the county approved a substantial conformance development plan that removed a tennis court and added bioretention basins to help keep sediment out of the lake.
According to Chris Warrick, senior planner in the county Land Use Services Department, the documents submitted by the developer in January conform with the original approved plan. “This plan is consistent with their grading plan,” Warrick said of the January submission. “It wasn’t a new titlement.”
Warrick said that documents submitted by the developer on March 11 are still under county review. He does not know how long it will take for the county to finish its review of this latest request. When asked about the changes, Warrick said that technically by definition, the 10 home sites still qualify as condos.
Okovita said the changes will utilize less space and give the development more open space. “There is 30 feet between the units creating view corridors,” Okovita said.
It’s a significant change to go down in size instead of going bigger, added Mark Sobczyk of First Team Real Estate, the Realtor associated with the project.
The development includes a restaurant, spa, health club and marina facilities. The clubhouse features a large plaza area to hold events and concerts. Plans are to provide ferry service to the south shore to connect with a shuttle to service to the Village and local ski resorts. These amenities will be open for public use, Okovita said. The public will also have access to fishing and picnic spots on the jetties, he said.
Okovita said no matter what rumors are out there, this is not a time share project. “It’s a sale,” Okovita said. “I want the support of the communities. I do not soldier houses. I keep things natural.”
There have been about 30 emails and letters opposing the latest changes, Warrick said. “There have been a lot of protests,” he said. “We also received a petition in favor of the project with about 50 or so signatures.”
The petition was organized by the developer. Sobczyk said they went door-to-door and found 50 to 60 people living in the general area who were in favor of the project. “The arguments against it was that the revision requires a new EIR (environmental impact report),” Sobczyk said. “When you reduce density and reduce environmental impact, why would you need a new EIR?”
Sobczyk believes county officials are stalling because of the protests. “We’ve waited the past three months for the county to act on this minor revision,” Sobczyk said. “In reality it should just be a substantial conformance. It’s the same site plan,” he said. “This is not about a minor revision. This is about people wanting to stop the project. There’s a handful of people going to county trying to open an old case.”
Grading is being completed. Work on the marina is scheduled to begin sometime in July. If the county doesn’t approve the latest revision, the developers will proceed with what has been approved. “It’s time,” Okovita said. “To me, this is about jobs for the community, a good positive impact. You’re going to see Fawnskin get revitalized. I’d personally like to see Fawnskin go back to being an artists’ colony.”
Sobczyk said all the permits are up to date, and the project is funded. He estimates the county will receive $1 million in tax revenue each year once the project is finished and condos are purchased.
Warrick said the Marina Point developer has all the permits needed for the work currently being done, but more will be required before the project moves into the next phase. “There’s still a plan check and review, and whatever Building & Safety needs to do,” Warrick said. “They (the developers) do not have building permits yet.”
Construction began on the Marina Point development in 2002 but was halted in 2004 when the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of Fawnskin filed a lawsuit against the developer. The court ruled in favor of the environmental groups in 2006, but the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals reversed that decision in 2008. To see the latest Marina Point documents and floor plans, visit the website