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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

106 Units for Yard; 260 for Venice Median Says RFQ/P

Yard 5.02.55 PM
City Maintenance Yard on Thatcher getting new, 8-foot, blue wrought-iron fencing.

Venice Parking
Venice Median between North and South Venice Blvd at Pacific. Present parking to be maintained.

There will be 106 units on the City Maintenance Yard on Thatcher and 260 on the Venice median parking lot between north and south Venice Blvd, according to the Request for Qualifications/Proposal (RFQ/P) sent out by the City Administrative Officer (CAO) to prospective builders.

Prospective builders will be visiting the Venice median and Thatcher Yard Wednesday morning.

The “Yard” will be rezoned from public facility to RD1.5, and with 93,347 square feet and two 35-percent density bonuses, will have 106 units. The “Venice Median” will be rezoned from Open Space to R-3, and with 122,171 square feet and two 35-percent density bonuses, will get 260 units.

Bonin May Sell the Two Projects

Councilman Mike Bonin said he would check the figures for both projects as to whether one or both would be more feasible for selling, taking the money, and building elsewhere.

One would only think this would be the case since both are less than a 1000 feet from the ocean. How could one justify putting the homeless there,  when the taxpayer paying for this,  could not afford living there.

Both Projects Would Require Changes to General Plan

Both would require changes to the general plan. The general plan takes into consideration infrastructure to support such a change (sewers, roads to accommodate, traffic to bare the brunt, effects on neighborhoods as well as the total scene, and whether the other zoning was more important for the City, etc.

In the case of the Thatcher Yard, an extra hundred units increases the present neighborhood 30 percent from 350 to 450. And with only ingress/egress access via Washington for 450 dwellings plus being next to Lincoln, is a receipe for disaster. Balanced with those infrastructure problems and the fact that a facility might be more feasible for the location, may deter any rezoning.

An additional 260 units at Venice Blvd would probably deter people from coming to the beach at all. There is the Expo line in Santa Monica which makes Santa Monica more accessible. Venice can be reached by bus and by car. Access to the Venice Beach parking lot is critical for Venice Beach. Venetians all know what the beach is like in the summer. Rebuilding of the lot would contain the present number of parking spaces. But with all the activity of 260 more units would people have access to the Venice parking lot?

RFQ/P Defines Affordable Types

Bonin did say that the Venice Median would be for homeless and the Yard for affordable housing. The RFQ/P defines the housing to be built and refers to them all as affordable.

The following housing types have been identified for the Affordable Housing Opportunity Sites:

Permanent Supportive Housing

This is a type of Affordable Multifamily Housing that is directly targeted to formerly homeless individuals or others who need intensive services. Permanent Supportive Housing is targeted to people who are homeless or chronically homeless. A homeless person is typically living on the streets, in a car, or in a shelter. A chronically homeless person has been homeless for a year or more or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years and has a disabling condition. These disabling conditions include physical health conditions, mental health issues, and substance addiction. Permanent Supportive Housing is characterized by significant operating subsidies that allow residents to pay no more than 30% of their income in rent, even if their income is low or nonexistent.

Another characteristic of Permanent Supportive Housing is that each resident has a case manager who connects the resident with existing programs in the community. A third characteristic is that some services are delivered on site. On site services may include life skills training, job training, and mental health counseling. Usually Permanent Supportive Housing does not require sobriety, participation in counseling is usually voluntary, and the housing is usually intended to be permanent, not time-limited or transitional. Permanent Supportive Housing has been shown to successfully stabilize residents, and it reduces the need for high-cost crisis care.

Typical financing sources for Permanent Supportive Housing include 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit, County NOFA funds, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, HUD or County operating subsidy, and grant-funded services.

Affordable Multifamily Housing

For this type, Developers should propose housing that is affordable to households with a range of income levels. For housing that is targeted to families, at least 25% of the units should have 3 or more bedrooms. Unit sizes must be as follows:
Unit Type Minimum Size Minimum Number of Bathrooms
One Bedroom 500 s.f. One-bath minimum
Two Bedroom 750 s.f. One-bath minimum
Three Bedroom 1,000 s.f. One-bath minimum
Four Bedroom 1,200 s.f. Two-bath minimum

This housing type may also include housing for seniors, people with disabilities and/or people with special needs. Amenities must include outdoor play / recreational facilities, appropriately sized common areas and laundry facilities. See the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee’s 2016 9% Competitive Tax Credit Application for reference.

Mixed-Income Housing

Mixed-income housing developments include both market rate and subsidized affordable units. Unit sizes for the affordable units must follow the minimum size guidelines for Affordable Multifamily Housing. There is no minimum unit size for the market rate units. Amenities must include appropriately sized common areas and laundry facilities.

Affordable Homeownership

Developers should assume all subsidized units have covenants or other mechanisms to ensure that the subsidy remains with the project. There are no minimum size requirements or amenities for this building type.

Innovative Methods of Housing

Micro Housing, Stacked Modular Housing and Manufactured Housing are examples of types of innovative methods that would be considered under this RFQ/P. All innovative methods must meet City zoning code and building standards, as well as State codes where applicable.

Comments (4)

  1. RESPONSE FROM COUNCILMEMBER MIKE BONIN

    The idea of 106 units of housing at Thatcher Yard and 260 units at the Dell and Pacific lot is nuts and simply never going to happen. It is not what I have proposed and it is not something that I would ever support.

    The unit counts that were featured in this morning’s Venice Update reflect a technical reading of the absolute maximum upper limit of what could be legally possible if each project applied for and received every possible density bonus and allowance. The numbers do not reflect a practical reality — and those numbers are simply not something I will allow to happen at these sites. These are city-owned properties, and we have the authority and ability to limit either project to far below the maximum allowed density.

    We desperately need both affordable and supportive housing to reduce homelessness in our neighborhoods, but I have said from the beginning that the size and density of projects on city-owned properties must fit in with communities and must be the products of robust public input processes. There is no way that projects of the size mentioned in the Update would fit into the surrounding neighborhoods and I would aggressively oppose projects of that scale and density at these sites.

    Currently, the city is accepting concepts and qualifications from potential affordable housing developers. Some of those developers will be allowed to make specific pitches or proposals for city-owned properties. If allowed to do so, they will be required to do extensive community outreach through an open and transparent process, and the projects will be vetted publicly at multiple levels — by the neighborhood, by the Venice Neighborhood Council, by the City of Los Angeles, and by the California Coastal Commission.

    -Mike Bonin
    Councilmember, 11th District

    • reta

      Thanks, Mike. All of Venice can breathe a little better now. Those numbers are general-plan busting numbers. But those are the figures for the two projects according to RFQ/P with bonuses. Thank you for clarifying such and stating publicly that those figures are too high for the areas.

      The Oxford Triangle, where the yard is located, is zoned R-1. Will you consider keeping the yard R-1 for affordable housing? At 2.11 acres, which would be close to 92,000 square feet, it would provide 18 affordable houses (LA lot size 5000 sq ft). Is that something you had in mind? Rezoning to RD1.5, which you mention in the RFQ/P, equates to 61 units without bonuses. That is a 17 – 18 percent increase in Triangle occupancy. That is still too heavy an increase in traffic for the Triangle and for Washington, near intersection of Lincoln Blvd.

      Where do we go from here? Mike, you need to define for the community and the developers what you want or have in mind.

  2. Would this go before the Coastal Commission? And, if so, would they approve either one of the projects?

  3. Angela McGregor

    Good piece in today’s L.A. Times suggesting that this new emphasis on permanent, supportive housing may actually be making the situation worse: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-transitional-housing-cutbacks-20160815-snap-story.html

    According to Bonin, almost half of the transients currently living in Venice Beach are mentally ill. Another 30% are substance abusers. They need outreach — psychiatric social workers and emergency shelters — to get clean and/or stabilized. Instead the city wants to spend millions on beachfront apartments in residential communities and storage near elementary schools. Their approach could not be more wrong-headed, or wasteful.

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