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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Planning Commission’s Staff Report on PSH Ordinance Debunks VCHC Falsehoods

By Fight Back Venice (FBV)

For months, the Venice Community Housing Corporation has been leading Venice residents to believe that the PSH Ordinance does not apply to the Venice Median Project; that space will be reserved in the Venice Median Project for “local” artists and homeless; and that, at 140 units, the size of the Venice Median Projects is appropriate. As set forth below, the Recommendation Report prepared by the Planning Department Staff in connection with the PSH Ordinance proves none of that is true.

• The PSH Ordinance Does Apply to the Venice Median Project: As set forth on A-8 of the Staff Report and in the Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration for the PSH Ordinance, the PSH Ordinance affects “all parcels in the City of Los Angeles zoned for multifamily residential use and located within High Quality Transit Areas (HQTA).” As unbelievable as it may seem, virtually all of Venice falls in an HQTA (see Staff Report at A-8) and the Venice Community Housing Corporation has already indicated that it intends to rezone the Venice Median from “open space” to RAS3, a high-density, mixed-used designation that allows for “multifamily residential use.” Thus, the PSH Ordinance does apply to the Venice Median Project. Indeed, page A-11 of the Staff Report admits as much, stating disingenuously that “[i]t is not clear the extent to which the proposed ordinance may apply to any projects proposed for [the Venice Median or Thatcher Yard] sites,” without denying that, depending on the parameters of each project, the PSH Ordinance could very well apply to both. Indeed, the one and only reason provided in the Staff Report as to why the PSH Ordinance would not apply to the Venice Median Project is that the Venice Median’s current “open space” zoning does not allow for residential development, but as noted above, that zoning is going to be changed.

• By Law, No Space in the Venice Median Project Can Be Reserved for Venice “Locals”—Homeless, Artists or Otherwise: The Venice Community Housing Corporation talks about setting “POSH” lofts aside for “local artists” and reserving (smaller and less hip) apartments for members of the local homeless community, but page P-6 of the Staff Report expressly states that space cannot lawfully be reserved for Venice residents to the exclusion of people who reside elsewhere and that supportive housing developments, like the Venice Median Project, that receive “funding from local government will be required to utilize the Coordinated Entry System” to ensure “centralized intake” from “all service providers and outreach teams in the County.”

• Even in New York City, the Median Size of PSH Projects Is Just 48 Units: The only evidence cited in the Staff Report to show that permanent supportive housing does not adversely affect property values is a 2008 study of housing projects in New York City. As set forth in that study, however, the average size of the 123 supportive housing projects that opened in ultra-high-density New York City between 1985 and 2003 is just 48 units—slightly larger than public housing projects in Santa Monica (35 units) but just one third the size of the Venice Median Project (140 units), the Thatcher Yard Project (150 units), and, most likely, the MTA Lot Project (which will sit on 3.5 acres and is likely to be 100% affordable/PSH Housing). Needless to say, the study provides no meaningful information at all as to Venice property values, but it shows, yet again, that despite assurances from the Venice Community Housing Corporation, all of the projects planned for Venice are way, way too big.

FBV calls on the Venice Community Housing Corporation to come clean on all three of these crucial issues so the free people of Venice can make informed decisions about the future of their community.


According to the Staff Report, the Planning Department “received more than 670 public comment letters” in connection with the PSH Ordinance—80% of which were opposed to the ordinance and the “vast majority” of which pertained specifically to the Venice Median and Thatcher Yard Projects.

So the good news is that our “Be Heard” email platform—through which more than 250 emails in opposition to the PSH Ordinance were delivered to the City—is working. Our friends at the Oxford Triangle Association submitted a similar number of emails through their platform, bringing the Venice total to more than 500 emails in opposition to the PSH Ordinance. Thank you, again, to all who participated in this important effort.

The bad news, though, is that opponents of the PSH Ordinance have apparently been outnumbered by supporters—largely paid activists with lots of free time during the day— at hearings by more than 2 to 1.

We can’t let paid activists dictate the future of our communities! Please join us on December 14!


“It is important that all areas of the City provide a fair share of PSH.”

Department of City Planning, Recommendation Report, Case No. CPC-2017-3136-CA, page A-9.

Comments (2)

  1. Marcus Elman

    Please keep me informed. Hmmmnnn. Residents vs. Paid Activists? I guess I am an unpaid resident activist against the PSH ordinance as singly applied to Venice!

  2. Angela McGregor

    Good write up. And yet at the last VNC Board meeting, Bonin’s spokesperson Taylor Bazley specifically and emphatically stated that the PSH Ordinance would not apply to any of the proposed Venice Projects. Given that the the staff report states that this is “not clear”, either he was lying or knows something we don’t. I’m going with the former. To paraphrase John Lennon, “All we want is the truth. Just give us some truth”.

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