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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Three VNC Committees Meet to Broaden Scope of Venice Median Project EIR

By Angela McGregor

Last month, Venice Community Housing and Hollywood Community Housing requested an Environmental Impact Report on their proposed Reese-Davidson Community Center for the Venice Median Lot (the initial proposal found here: https://planning.lacity.org/eir/nops/ReeseDavidson/InitialStudy.pdf).

With public commentary due by January 21st on the scope of the report, three VNC committees — LUPC, Neighborhood and Parking & Transportation — met to gather input on the scope of the EIR.

The meeting was chaired by Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Vice Chair George Francisco and VNC Budget advocate Jay Handel opened the meeting with an explanation of the EIR process. Public speakers were encouraged merely to request that the City examine potential issues specific to the proposed development, and not opine on the project’s suitability or economic cost. Melissa Diner, VNC Secretary, typed up the commentary as it was offered. Major concerns included:

1) Lost open space (over 30 mature trees will be cut down, and only 13% of the project is open).

2) Overwhelming mass and scale, with an over-concentration of low-income residents in one densely populated facility, too similar to failed housing projects like Cabrini Green, in Chicago. In the opinions of many residents, the building is simply “overwhelming” with far too many (140) units.

3) The traffic impacts on an area already prone to absolute gridlock in the summer months will be catastrophic. Any traffic studies should include trip counts for residents, visitors and employees. Furthermore, the damp, coastal atmosphere coupled with so much additional traffic makes air quality a major concern as well.

4) The developers have stated the project will take up to four years to build. Three major concerns stemmed from this: 1) Noise levels for adjacent residents during construction 2) The impact of de-watering the site (placing the foundation into the water table) on the adjacent canals and 3) the loss of the existing 188 parking spaces on the site for the duration of construction.

5) The project is in a flood zone, and recent flooding from the canals into Windward Circle imply that the loss of open space with this project might have impacts on flood relief and drainage. It is also in a tsunami zone, and might impair evacuation. Finally, recent projections of sea level rise due to climate change would indicate that the site may well be underwater within a few decades.

6) The surrounding infrastructure is already under stress and could prove inadequate to service a project of this size. There have been recent sewer leaks, for example.

7) Negative impacts on tourism were brought up, as the mass, scale and architecture of this project are contrary to the character of the surrounding neighborhood. The project’s impact on the historical significance and overall character of the nearby canals should be addressed.

At the end of the meeting, after Board comment had ended, these concerns and others were compiled into a motion which will be voted on at a special VNC Board meeting on January 15th.

In addition, a representative of VCH announced that another EIR scoping meeting will be held Monday, 14 January  at 5 pm at the Oakwood Community Center.

Comment (1)

  1. VeniceNeedsSolutions

    Hoping that they find good solutions for this.

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