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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Audet Feted, Aarons Elected & LA Louver Change of Use Approved at VNC Meet

By Angela McGregor

Wednesday’s Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Board meeting opened with a tribute to former VNC Board President, DeDe Audet, who is retiring from local politics. After accolades from various admirers and friends, DeDe stood and recalled her role in forming the first neighborhood council in Venice. “Venice shaped me,” she stated. “You gave me the opportunity to learn…You can learn to stand and speak. Right now, I feel complete. But without an audience, what is a neighborhood council?”

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The Board next made its selection among 7 candidates to fill the vacated Community Officer seat. Their choice was Brad Aarons, an entertainment executive and 15-year resident of Venice whose focus is community health, development and environment.

The VNC Board will allocate $1,000 to the purchase of translation equipment in order to make its meeting more accessible to its Spanish language constituents.

Venice’s next Town Hall, the Green Venice Festival, will be held June 10th at the Oakwood Community Center and will feature green vendors, kids’ events, speakers and even a solar DJ.

In response to the passage of AB2299 and SB1069, two California state measures which allow for the legal conversion of garages into dwelling units without addition parking, the Board voted to support this measure in the Venice Coastal Zone in order to alleviate the current shortage of affordable housing and to lift the stigma of long time units deemed illegal through their lack of parking.

This measure did not pass unanimously or without discussion — it was pointed out that it could be abused by homeowners simply looking to increase their homes’ resale value, and would ultimately worsen Venice’s dearth of parking. The measure passed 14-1-1.

By far the most contentious item on the Board’s agenda was the request by LA Louver Gallery (45 N. Venice Blvd.) for a Coastal Development Permit which would allow its change of use from an art gallery to a general office without restrictions on hours of use. Speaking in favor of the measure, a gallery representative stated that there are no immediate plans to convert the gallery to office space, and pointed out that the privately owned LA Louver currently has exhibit plans in place into 2019, as well as incidental offices on site.

Residents speaking out against the use expansion felt that the conversion of an art gallery into office space was indicative of Venice’s changing culture — from artistic haven to technical office park. Several VNC Board members also spoke in favor of maintaining L.A. Louver as a gallery space in order to preserve our dwindling number of galleries. In the end, though, L.A. Louver prevailed and the measure passed, 10-5-1.

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