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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

SurveyLA Motion and Audience Comments Dominated VNC Meet

Note: What was to be a survey of historic structures in Los Angeles has apparently turned into an obstacle for those wanting to upgrade their properties, refinance, or sell in Venice. The information has not gone thru Los Angeles Planning, yet effects projects in Venice as though it had. Taylor Bazley said last night that Councilman Mike Bonin has tried unsuccessfully so far to disassociate the Survey from normal Planning procedures.

By Angela McGregor

Between 2010-2015, SurveyLA, part of the Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources, conducted a survey of properties in Venice to determine which of them were “significant” in accordance with criteria established for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and California Register of Historical Resources. Surveyors photographed properties they deemed “historic” and these properties were then gathered into a report.

According to SurveyLA’s own website, these “contributor” properties “are not designated resources; designation is a separate process that requires public hearings and property owner notification.” Nevertheless, Survey LA’s findings have been used as the basis to require an additional, expensive, layer of permitting and research during the development and renovation process of older homes.

In January of 2016, LUPC recommended a motion in response to complaints from Venice homeowners “complaining of an arduous, lengthy, and unpredictable approval process for properties labeled as “contributing structures” or even just located within “proposed historic districts” (see: http://savevenice.me/site/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/lupc-impact-surveyla.pdf). In October of last year, LUPC conducted a community outreach meeting for homeowners impacted by the report, hosted by Ken Bernstein, head of the Dept. of City Planning’s Office of Historic Resources. At that time, Bernstein told the VNC to wait on taking action until Councilman Bonin’s office introduced its own motion. After 9 months, no motion has been forthcoming.

Tuesday’s Venice Neighborhood Council meeting played to a packed house full of stakeholders wishing to weigh in on the Board’s motion to demand that the City of L.A. adopt a policy that, contrary to current usage, would, in terms of its impact on development and renovation of existing properties:

1. State that SurveyLA’s results do not constitute substantial evidence of “potential significant impact to historic resources”.

2. Use SurveyLA’s results only as a planning tool when used to update community plans, not on an individual, case-by-case basis.

3. Place the burden of proof on the City to provide evidence of significant impact on historic resources.

4. Stop requiring SurveyLA clearances on permits unless the City proves that “substantial evidence” exists above and beyond that given by the SurveyLA report.

Public comment on the matter was heavily in favor of this motion. Homeowner after homeowner rose to speak about the hardships they had encountered in attempting to renovate their properties. Many questioned the legality of SurveyLA’s newfound control over their property rights, which had not been previously noticed.

Mr. Bernstein (or any other representative of SurveyLA) was invited to attend and present an argument of their position to the Community and the Board, but according to VNC Board member Ilana Marosi, Mr. Bernstein couldn’t make it “on only six days notice”. She then introduce a motion to delay the matter until the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee put forth their own motion, but this motion failed for lack of a second.

The Board voted in favor of the motion, 12-0-1.

Comment (1)

  1. Nick Antonicello

    Another example as to why we need home rule and city hood for Venice

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