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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Murez Wins Abbot Kinney-Venice Blvd Appeal


This is the corner of Abbot Kinney and Venice Blvd.  The area where the trees are is the land in question.

By Jim Murez

With almost no help from the community (except from Stewart Oscars showing up), Robert Aronson and I were able to defeat the applicant.  The hearing went really late, did not end until about 10:30p with a 4:30 start time (although our two cases which were heard as one did not start until about 8 pm as the second item on their agenda).

My appeal which included over 100 pages of backup materials about this site gave us and the commissioners a lot of good arguments to sink our teeth into.  The Commissioners in their findings could not make the minimum requirements to allow the applicant to take this 5200 SF of land out of the public sector.  And with all of the claims the applicant made about ownership rights, it was still not enough to fool the majority of the commissioners.   …interesting, Commissioner Heather Rozman voted the opposite on every point and was trying to help the applicant with their case throughout the hearing, almost as though she was a shill planted by the Mayor to meet some hidden agenda!  There was no reason or rime to her points of view in my or any of the other three commissioners opinions.

One has to wonder why the City has allowed this to go this far… the coastal commission had already denied a similar request in 2006 at this same site.  This again came up last night and gave Commissioner Joe Halper a very good argument to deny the CDP request.  He stated this is a precedent when the CCC has made a prior ruling.  Commissioner Esther Margulies and President of the commission made several good findings why they could not support the requests, she really did her research… and even went on to point out when she had visited the site, she observed several people on bikes using the site as a resting place (within the  area which would be fenced off if the proposal were approved).

The council office chief of staff Tricia Keane got up and asked the commission to help try to settle with some sort of approval with the intent that if they conceded to these applicant requests, it would lead the way to settling the pending law suit the applicant has with the City. (Court case is currently scheduled for March 2018.)

LADOT got up and spoke for the applicant too.  In their words, this was going to be the first off-street Metro Bike Share location.  When asked by Margulies if the reduced sidewalk width because of the proposed bike rack location would be encroaching into the existing pedestrians sidewalk, they commented they did not know what the sidewalk size should be for an intersection of this nature.  The proposed request by LADOT for the bike racks is only four feet knowing the balance of the bike would hang out over the sidewalk.  And keep in mind, this corner already hosts two bus routes and is considered by the CCC and most visitors as the primary path to Venice Beach!

The applicants primary argument was the land was theirs and the easement that has been in place for well over 100 years has been interpreted incorrectly.  What they said in not so few words, all of the properties along Venice Blvd (43) that have had surveys over the past 100+ years were done wrong… this would include the Caltrans surveys that relinquished California State Highway 147 to the City in 1992 and made it possible for me to plant the 650 native trees that now line the streetscape.  The council office commented offline this was Ruth Galanter wishes too, leaving out the part about during the 16 years she was councilwoman and brokered the deal with the State to give up the land, she was never able to make this leap to privatizing the open space on Venice Beach.  And for that matter, she supported my 1992 tree planting efforts with a Council Motion back when I needed help getting through the City permitting process.  Makes no sense…

So where do we go from here…?  More to come.

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