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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

No Reconsideration of 720 Rose, New Board members Elected at December VNC Meet

New VNC board members– Michael Greco and Jamie Paige

By Angela McGregor

A larger than usual crowd was present at the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) board’s last meeting of 2018, mainly to express their opinion of the motion to reconsider the Board’s decision last month to approve Venice Community Housing’s proposed project at the site of their current offices on Rose Avenue.

The motion to reconsider was put forth by Ilana Marosi, who stated in her comments on the motion that the discussion of the project last month felt more like a “referendum on affordable housing” and less like a discussion of the project’s neighborhood compatibility and land use issues, which, given that it was on the LUPC calendar, felt inappropriate and inadequate. She said she had also become aware, since the vote, of a number of adjacent neighbors who had not had the opportunity to engage the developers with their concerns. Despite her vote to support the project, she was left feeling “torn.” For parliamentary reasons, no public comment was allowed. Board comments focused on the issue of whether or not the project’s compliance with the Venice Specific Plan was adequately discussed at last month’s meeting. The motion, which required two thirds of votes in favor to pass, failed — 11-7 in favor.

The Board also voted to elect two new board members from a slate of 8 candidates. New board member Michael Greco is president and COO of the Venice Restaurant Group, the owners of the Venice and Santa Monica Whalers, Slice of Venice, and Venice Terrace. His fellow new board member, Jamie Paige, is a founding member of the nascent Rose Avenue Merchants Association with prior government experience in her home state of Wisconsin.

The Parking and Transportation Committee put forth several motions, including two which, if implemented, would have implications for the City’s plans to build affordable housing on both the Venice Median and the MTA Bus Yard. According to committee chair Jim Murez, some 30 years ago the Coastal Commission approved a land use plan for Venice which allowed for parking structures on those locations which, if constructed, would allow the Coastal Commission to implement permit parking in Venice (as they have done in Santa Monica). One motion proposed a 600-car structure on the median, along with an adjacent park, while the other proposed sufficient parking on the MTA lot to offset parking in North Venice.

Opposition from both the Board and public focused on the motion’s incompatibility with the City’s plan to build PSH and affordable housing on the median while merely preserving the existing 188 parking spaces, and a motion was proposed to table the motion until LUPC’s consideration of VCH’s Reese-Davidson project. That measure failed, and both motions ultimately passed.

The next meeting of the VNC Board was rescheduled to the fourth Tuesday, 22 January at 7pm.

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