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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Robin Says Tesuque Market Proposal is Detrimental to Community

To all interested, RE: 600 Mildred/Tesuque Market Proposal

I am writing you to clarify my understanding of the proposed project for 600 Mildred/Tesuque Market… and why the presentation to, and vote by, the Venice Neighborhood Council was misleading, completely flawed and why the proposed project would be overwhelmingly detriment to the community.

1. A BAR not a mere corner cafe: The presenters referred only to this being a change of use from a market to a cafe restaurant. They omitted the fact that it is to be a bar. It’s to serve alcohol 7am-10:30pm and can increase that to 2am if they wish.

Over the past several years, the owners have always presented their Mexican Food Bar / Restaurant in Santa Fe as the model for what they want to create here. Googling that property we see something akin to Baja Cantina, and surrounded by parking.

In their presentation to the VNC they likened their project to Flake. The two could not be more dissimilar. Flake is only open 7am – 3:30pm. They do not serve alcohol. It is a tiny (maybe 20 seats) breakfast and lunch cafe on a major commercial street, Rose.

2. Insurmountable & Dangerous Traffic Problems: Most of the VNC Board and all of Tesuque’s speakers seem to be completely unaware of the uniquely problematic and insurmountable traffic issues posed by this site:

Once an unsuspecting patron drives onto Mildred from Ocean, as many people will, (apart from Tesuque’s speakers who do not own cars and live 10 blocks from the site)s, there is no way out. The Silver Triangle is referred to as The Bermuda Triangle. Once you turn in, it takes about 10 blocks to find your way back to Tesuque.

Mildred, the alley, and the whole Silver Triangle has sub-standard width streets. It’s not possible to make a U-Turn to get back to Tesuque.

The intersection of Mildred @ Ocean is the site of NUMEROUS traffic accidents. It’s a busy, skinny street with high volume traffic, particularly at rush hours… which is dinner time. I personally know a couple neighbors whose lives were severely, adversely affected by traffic accidents in that intersection

Frequently, only one car can pass through the intersection at a time. If SUV or trucks are parked on Mildred, as is frequently the case, only one car can pass through the intersection.

No one is blaming Tesuque for this problem, as some of their speakers said, but it’s not something that should be exacerbated, as a 44 seat bar/restaurant would do. Tesuque’s speakers all said that they bike or walk over and have never witnessed traffic at this site. Even if most patrons were in that unique category, the number of patrons that Tesuque would need 7am to 10:30pm, 7 days a week, to turn a profit would greatly exceed those few unique neighbors who spoke at the meeting.

This is a reason the the California Coastal Commission cited, PRIOR TO THE OWNERS PURCHASE, for it being impossible to build a restaurant (not to mention a bar) on that site.

There’s no space for delivery & trash trucks to stop on Mildred nor the tiny alley, nor on Ocean. There’s no space for a dumpster. The Owners representative said that there would be no increase in the number or frequency of delivery and trash trucks from its current situation. That’s not logical; and if it were, if they are not selling more food and drink, why create a bar/restaurant? They currently have very little business. I’ve never seen more than 4 customers inside, (even with their currently illegal patio seating). They are hoping to fill and turn over tables of this proposed 44+ bar/restaurant longer hours, and with 20 times the volume of customers.

3. Noises – Set Up, Clean Up, Delivery Trucks Beeping, Trash Trucks Banging, Patrons chatting, Patrons on cell phones strolling through the neighborhood, music playing over patron voices… That’s all normal for bars and restaurants. And it’s ok when they’re located on commercial streets that absorb the sound. This site is fully surrounded by residences, and in extremely close proximity. Also, sound travels. Neighbors on Ocean don’t want to hear the noise, nor do residents on the Canals and in the Silver Triangle. All would be subject to the noise. That’s not building community; it’s merely building the personal profit of one business owner.

4. Parking – It sounds cool to have a neighborhood cafe that we can all get to walking, on bike or scooter. I ride my bike, a lot. Maybe that will be the reality in the future. It’s not, now. Now, the site will attract automobile commuters on Ocean Ave – HEAVY TRAFFIC!!! and beach goers along Venice Blvd. They won’t know that there’s no parking. So the traffic issues described above will happen, constantly, and dangerously, day and night.

Additionally, there are no parking spaces on site, (a fact that the Owners tried to hide from the City) and none are offered, anywhere. The City will not permit the Owners to use the City parking lots, despite the Owners requests over the past 4 years. At the VNC meeting, that was left as an option. It’s obviously not.

Meanwhile, the Coastal Commission will not allow any restrictions on parking on the neighboring residential streets, because their mandate is to keep the beach accessible to all. So residents in the Silver Triangle, Ocean and East end of the Canals are rightfully concerned that they would lose all of their street parking. Many residents rely in part on street parking, as is the case in most residential neighborhoods of Venice. For this reason, too, to put a bar / restaurant in the residential neighborhood is an unfair burden on the neighbors.

The Bermuda Triangle problem, coupled with no parking lots available, also makes Valet Parking impossible.

5. Smells – Standard restaurant practice: Cooking and cleaning smells are emitted from 2 hours prior to opening to 2 hours after closing. There is zero buffer to residences which are 100% of the neighbors. Some residences are within 6 feet of the Tesuque.

6. Loitering, Loud Voiced Patrons, Urinating, Vomiting, Littering, Cell Phone Chatter… all are common to bars. A commercial street, with parking, can restrict these activities and clean up after them. This corner site in a small residential neighborhood cannot. That’s not a reasonable burden on the neighbors.

7. Community – All of Tesuque’s speakers at the VNC meeting said that they love Tesuque because it’s a great community building venue. NO ONE is questioning whether it can remain as it is!!!! Even with its current illegal patio seating and food preparation on site (as stated by Tesuque’s rep), neighbors have let that exist. But that is far from the 44 seat bar / restaurant open 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no parking. Allowing this project would undermine the community’s interests.

8. Commercial vs Residential streets – One can walk three block in any direction to get to bars and restaurants: Zinque, French Market Cafe, James Beach, Canal Club, to name a few. Note: they are all on commercial streets and have parking and are great community neighbors

All Venice restaurants, including Gjusta on Sunset, are NOT in 100% residential neighborhoods, are not at a Bermuda Triangle no outlet street, are not at sub-standard width intersections with extremely high volume traffic…

9. Prior to purchasing the property, the Owners of Tesuque (who are not locals but rather shrewd business partners who have built bars in NYC and Santa Fe), were told by the VNC and Coastal Commission that the site is strictly not suitable for a restaurant (not to mention a bar).

None the less, the Owners have used every sort of tactic to try to slip their project through. It has only been through the diligence of neighbors on Ocean, the Canals and the Silver Triangle, working together, that false documentation and misleading information about the site has been brought to the attention of City Planning. (This only passed LUPC because we did not know of that meeting so more misrepresentations were allowed to go uncorrected).

That too is a far too great a burden to place on neighbors!!!!!

The owners can sell the property at a profit and build a restaurant on a commercial street in Venice. Or, as some neighbors have suggested, they can sell good coffee, like Blue Bottle or Groundworks and have a popular profitable business in compliance with the current zoning regulations.

10. The VNC Board process was completely flawed. They allowed the Owners to make a presentation, of any length, and to bring in their bus load of “neighbor” speakers, while no rebuttal nor correction of inaccurate and misleading information was allowed.

I am told that the most recent LUPC presentation was similarly, completely, flawed. Most neighbors did not know of the presentation; no changes were made to the plan yet LUPC changed it’s vote from unanimously opposed, (when neighbors had been present to correct information), to supporting of the project (when we didn’t have a voice).

It was unclear that VNC Board members who voted on this project have ever driven to the Bermuda Triangle, much less on Ocean at rush hour nor most any time of the day. Nor do they seem to have any background in assessing the burden that a bar / restaurant would have on neighboring residences.

An important concern that was raised by Jim Murez, VNC Board member with experience (and, disclaimer, my brother who I have not conferred with) but disregarded by too many Board members: IF a permit is to be issued, it should have all restrictions to prevent “the worst case scenario.” This vote was carte blanche to do anything. Maybe these owners are wonderful loving people who will lose their shirts so as to make a quiet neighborhood hangout that does not negatively impact the neighborhood…. but what if they sell to someone else? Or what if they decide to increase their hours to 2am (as their representative said they could) and do not provide any parking nor valet (as they said they wouldn’t), and what if they do not or cannot clean up after messy, noisy patrons in the neighborhood?

No matter their intentions, I believe that no one could make a bar / restaurant at this 100% residential site that would not unduly burden the community, exacerbate traffic issue such that severe bodily injury becomes a real risk, and all due to the unique problems of this site.

THE DETRIMENTAL BURDENS AND RISKS TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD FAR EXCEED ANY POSSIBLE BENEFITS.

We all want wonderful neighborhood cafe’s, but not to the extreme detriment to neighbors’ quality of life and safety.

Sincerely,

Robin Murez
Current Canal Homeowner
18 year Silver Triangle Homeowner
Creator of the Corner Ball Park on Ocean @ S. Venice & Mildred – across from 600 Mildred – made to make the already dangerous busy intersection safe and engaging for the whole community.

Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous

    Robin you really need to get a life. If I were you I would be more concerned with the encampments directly across the street. They pose the greatest threat to the neighborhood. As a result crime is up in Venice.

    • reta

      Please do not call someone else names while hiding behind “anonymous.”

      • 2afraid2postmyname

        Amen.

        I often disguise my name online, usually because I’m rather outspoken about LAPD and do not wish to have my 911-calls ignored for the rest of my L.A. tenure; however, I do stand behind every word I post.

        BTW, Reta, those increasingly-cryptic comments over by the AirBnB thread are getting a bit too surreal, agree? Please be careful, my friend– don’t allow too many Trolls onto this site. They’re exactly what brought down Yo!, and they IMHO seem to already be building again now.

        As Admin, I reckon you obviously, already have access to my various names/emails/ISPs here. Please do hit me up on the side if ever I can help with wrangling your workload here. I love VB, I love to write, I appreciate this site, and I’ll do what I can, whenever I can, to help.

        • reta

          Every morning I remove a few trolls. For sometime I approved prior to publication. I don’t enjoy that and feel it hinders freedom of the site. People have been told to be temperate and act like ladies and gentlemen with an issue.

      • Anonymous

        Telling someone to get a life isn’t name calling.

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