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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Mildred, The Sidewalk Stops Here?

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Sidewalk stops here.

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All the new houses on Mildred except these four have sidewalks.

Latest is that “Coastal Commission says builder has to remove the walls, doesn’t say he has to put in sidewalks,” according to Debbie Dyner-Harris, district director for Councilman Mike Bonin.(See Comments by Rob and comments inputed by Reta for Rob and Debbie.)

The four new houses on Mildred in the 600 block have no sidewalks. All the other houses have sidewalks. Rob Mitchell first discovered such and contacted the City Council office.

“Rob Mitchell, of the Silver Triangle, first discovered the problem and has worked diligently, tirelessly and adeptly on getting it corrected,” said Robin Murez.

Jude Epstein, of the Silver Triangle, also noticed that the four new houses on Mildred had no sidewalk in front.  Setbacks seemed to be the same.  Just no sidewalk.  He contacted Councilman Mike Bonin’s office and following is what he was told.

Thank you for reaching out about the new development of houses at 639, 641, 647, and 651 Mildred Ave. and specifically the Venice Neighborhood Council’s concern that these homes are being constructed without a sidewalk. I completely understand and fully agree with your position that any new development should be required to have pedestrian and disability access.

I directed my staff to investigate the issue with the Department of City Planning, and get an answer as to why the homes were planned and approved without the necessary sidewalk. We found that, when  this project was approved in 2007, there was no city requirement for the development to include a sidewalk, and there were no appeals filed against the project. Also, there was no Mobility Plan in place at the time to encourage pedestrian amenities, which today would have taken precedence.

In short, the project was approved years ago without requiring a sidewalk. While I’m very disappointed, as I’m sure you are, that it was allowed to move forward under those conditions, the City does not have the authority at this juncture to retroactively require it. Going forward, it’s my expectation that this won’t happen on future projects, as the City’s priorities towards sidewalks and mobility have since changed dramatically for the better.

Again, thank you for reaching out to me on this issue. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

MIKE BONIN
Councilmember, 11th District

Comments (4)

  1. Rob

    Angela, I believe the previous owner had the plans approved back in 2007, as city planning definitely has approved plans from that year. What was left out of this post is that the floor plans submitted in 2007 showed a sidewalk in front of these properties. You can find these plans on the City’s website, but here’s one set of plans with the sidewalk reference highlighted:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/8bpv35cz2r4qb0f/639-Mildred-Plans-Approval-8-15-07-1.jpg?dl=0
    I believe the erroneous plans that indicate a sidewalk are likely the reason the City failed to require a sidewalk dedication. Not to mention, all the renderings I’ve seen for this project show what appear to be sidewalks in front (definitely no walls in front of these homes). You can see the renderings in the CCC staff report you linked to.

    But Reta and all, the good news is that apparently the California Coastal Commission has just ruled these walls must come down. Unsure if the developers will appeal, or if the they will remove the walls but put in landscaping that also blocks pedestrians from walking by and/or accessing parked cars. We will see…

    • Richard Feibusch

      Back in the “old days” we would have just neatly painted “obstruction” in large letters on each wall…

  2. reta

    This is inputted by Reta for Rob Mitchell of Silver Triangle and Debbie Dyner-Harris, District Director for Councilman Mike Bonin:

    Hi Rob. I wish I could explain how this happened. As it was so long ago and the parties involved on the City side and I believe the original applicant as well, it is hard to figure out. I don’t know if the City previously required the sidewalks on other projects, it could have been that the previous developers felt that this was an important amenity and added it to the project. It’s just hard to know. As for dedications versus the plans- the Bureau of Engineering is the body that requires things like sidewalks, and in this case they did not. I have reached out to them to learn why and once I have any information I will share it. We also heard today that the Coastal Commission has let the developer know that the walls they constructed are not allowed as per their Coastal approval, and will have to take them down. While that doesn’t make them install sidewalks, it would certainly make it easier if they wanted to.

  3. Angela McGregor

    Here’s the Coastal Commission’s Staff report on the project:
    http://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2014/8/W23a-s-8-2014.pdf
    I don’t see anything here about the lack of a sidewalk, and in fact there’s a lot to do with curb cuts and allowing for adequate parking. Furthermore, this document is dated 2014. Which makes sense, since the property didn’t sell until 2014 (see: https://www.redfin.com/CA/Los-Angeles/651-Mildred-Ave-90291/home/6734950).

    Bonin must be “confused”? How could the project have been approved 7 years before the developer bought it?

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