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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Thatcher Yard — Residents Want to Know What is Happening

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(Photo courtesy of Linda Vaughan.) Thatcher Maintenance Yard. Soil tests for an Environmental Impact Report?

Neighbors really want to know what is going on with the Thatcher Maintenance Yard.

The Yard, 93,000 sq feet, was designated as one of the first City salvage projects. It was to be rezoned to RD1.5 and designated for affordable housing. City Administrator put out RFQ/P to developers. Thomas Safran Associates were selected for the Yard with their dual proposal of 86 to 152 units with a mix of 60 percent market rate, 30 percent affordable, and 10 percent permanent supportive housing.

That was November. Plans are supposedly to be presented to City in March. It is March. No one has approached the Oxford Triangle members regarding this project. Blake Coddington of Safran group was supposedly talking with individual residents regarding the project at one of the Venice public meetings.

Meanwhile, proposition HHH was passed which would provide funds for building 100 percent affordable projects on the Yard — no market rate. A neighborhood request by a small group of residents went thru the LUPC and the VNC requesting that the Yard stay City maintenance or be rezoned R-1. VNC almost unanimously voted that down and asked for “multi-housing” use.

March 7 is an election for City council seat and a Measure S. Measure S would stop spot rezoning projects… except for affordable housing projects unless project requires general plan changes. Both these projects require both spot rezoning and general plan changes. So a “YES” for Measure S supposedly would stop both projects for at least two years. A vote “No” would mean business as usual, spot rezoning and changing the plans.

Incumbent Mike Bonin is for developmening the two lots. He wants Measure S to be defeated so he can build affordable housing on both. Mark Ryavec is not for developing either property for homeless. He is for Measure S. In the case of the Yard, he wants property zoned R-1 and sold to a developer. Robin Rudisill supports Measure S. She says keeping the Yard for maintenance should be reconsidered; otherwise, the community has spoken for R-1. The Venice Median she says she would honor the Land Use Plan certified by the California Coastal Zone, which means it would not be developed. So incumbent is only candidate for developing both lots and Measure S.

To add confusion to the pot, Councilman Mike Bonin, who is for developing the properties, answered a Venice Update question regarding the sale of the properties and using the monies for homeless in other areas as follows:

It is also important to note – despite repeated assertions to the contrary – that the City has not decided what or even whether to build on these properties. The City has only allowed affordable housing developers the opportunity to propose at these sites. At this point, there are no actual proposals. The housing developers who were assigned to each of the Venice sites are conducting community and neighborhood outreach before they propose something. Then, those proposals must be reviewed by the Land Use and Planning Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council, the full Venice Neighborhood Council, and then the City planning approval process and likely the California Coastal Commission.

Meanwhile, a local resident and architect, wrote to Councilman Mike Bonin and all the council members:

You have bypassed not only the VNC and their LUPC, but also your constituents. None of the documents regarding site selection, contractor selection or RFQ submissions have been made available to the public. The development is being fast-tracked with virtually no public review, and without open and transparent procedures that the City would demand of any developer.

Tent with occupant in front of  Yard.

Tent with occupant in front of Yard.

Meanwhile, a tenter was happy living in front of the Yard for about a week until the rig disturbed his solitude or someone moved him on. Residents asked if the tenter was first in line for a place.

Residents really want to know what is happening? Residents know the rules, yet things are happening without their knowledge, input, or due process.

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