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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

“Road Diet” and “Weed” Restrictions Featured at VNC Meet

By Angela McGregor

The July Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) board meeting was well-attended, mainly because of two controversial agenda items — cannabis restrictions, better know as “weed” restrictions and the Venice Blvd “Great Streets” initiative, also known at the “Road Diet.”

“Great Streets,” “Road Diet”
Agenda Item 9B, on the General Consent Calendar, called for Mike Bonin to hold a “Venice” Town Hall meeting on his “road diet” right away, in light of the fact that less than 450 people, none of them Venetians and many of them non-drivers, were surveyed prior to the implementation of the Venice Boulevard reconfiguration. This measure, submitted by Parking and Transportation Committee Chair Jim Murez, passed by acclamation.

A second road-diet related measure was put on the New Business Calendar, for much later in the evening. Called “Non-support of Transportation Projects”, it stated: “The VNC does not support any transportation project that negatively impacts traffic conditions in Venice”.

Murez recused himself from voting on the measure due to having forwarded an email he had received regarding the matter to his fellow Board members (a violation of the Brown Act). Prior to leaving the room, he spoke for a couple of minutes on the matter, stating that the engineering and configuration problems with it were “absolutely ludicrous”.

Public comment was entirely against the so-called “Great Streets” project. Longtime Venice activist Yolanda Gonzalez brought up the fact that in 2009, following a motion by the VNC, the City of Los Angeles posted signs all over Venice instructing residents to use Venice Blvd as their official tsunami evacuation route. Now, as other speakers pointed out, even paramedics and fire trucks are significantly delayed in the backup caused by the loss of the lanes.

Finally, Mike Bonin’s Field Deputy Taylor Bazley rose to speak on behalf of the “Great Streets” project, inviting all present to attend the upcoming LADOT Open House at Windward School 22 July between 1-3pm, at which data on the project’s first month will be presented. After that, he said that data would be presented after three months, and “six months…if it lasts that long”.

After public comment closed, Community Board member Ilana Marosi entered a new motion to replace the original, which called for immediate restoration of the 6-lane configuration on Venice Boulevard.This new motion failed to pass — 5-6-3. The original, less specific motion did pass, however — 8-3-1.

Cannabis Regulation
In June, the VNC Board put out a call for interested parties to participate in a task force to make recommendations to the VNC (and thereby, the City Planning Office) regarding the regulation of commercial cannabis in Venice. In just a few weeks, the committee came together and produced a 45-page document (seen here: http://www.venicenc.org/docs/34484217-6912.pdf).

Board and public discussion focused primarily on ensuring that these businesses were sufficiently distant from residences, and whether or not they should permit onsite consumption. The recommendations, which, in keeping with state law would outlaw marijuana sales on Ocean Front Walk, passed in its original form, 11-3-3.

Other matters:
Dax Kimbrough was elected to replace Lauri Burns as a Community Interest Stakeholder. Kimbrough is the owner of Arsenal Film & Creative Studio in Culver City and an Adjunct Instructor at USC’s Thornton School of Music. He is also a Board Member of the Venice Symphony Orchestra.

A motion made by Parking and Transportation calling for Smart Bikes (rather than Smart Docking stations) which would be compatible with those used in Santa Monica and Culver City and would not remove any public or off-street parking, passed.

Comments (2)

  1. Cindy Chambers

    Thank you for posting information about the VNC’s Commercial Cannabis Task Force (“Cannabis Regulation” post). As the VNC Commercial Cannabis Task Force Chair, I want to correct an inaccurate statement. The VNC Commercial Cannabis Task Force members were selected by the VNC President, and we had a total of 8 DAYS to review information, request public comment, discuss Venice-specific issues, and draft our report. We did all that in 8 days, not a few weeks, in order to present to the VNC Board and meet the City deadline for community input. Again, thank you for sharing our report with your readers.

    • reta

      Yes, eight days is short, really short when doing what you folks did. Thanks for volunteering to do this and doing such a good job.

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