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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Homeless Projects Scheduled for Venice

You’ve seen the signs “Stop Dumping on Venice” , “ Stop The Monster”. They have reference to the projects being “imposed” on Venice by the City government. No other city in Council District 11 has a comparable situation; no other city in LA has a comparable situation. ” Only in Venice. That is why Venetians are crying “No, stop, enough is enough.

It is not the purpose of this article to explain why. It is the purpose to present some background, some thoughts in minds of Venetians in Venice, types of homeless, and the projects. Fight Back Venice has an illustration depicting the projects forthcoming for Venice in a flyer. The group Fight Back Venice is also suing the City regarding the proposed project for Venice Median set to be built between North and South Venice Blvd, west of Pacific to Dell, formerly a beach parking lot.

(Flyer courtesy of Fight Back Venice.)

This edition, article only discusses the Venice Median, Thatcher Yard,  the MTA sites, and the Westminster Senior Center. The Venice Median (now called Reese-Davidson Community) and the MTA sites both have lawsuits with the City against what the city proposes.  Thatcher Yard did have a law suit but it has been dropped.  Westminster Senior Center is settling their law suit, which means they could pick it up later but are happy with City’s solution.

More homeless in Venice based on population and size of Venice
Venice is approximately 3.1 square miles with 40,000 citizens.  Venetians claim that the number of homeless to be housed and are even now housed in Venice is out of proportion to the size of the Venice’s physical boundaries with any other city.  And the claim is it is out of proportion in numbers with the population of any other area in the Los Angeles City system.  It other words Venice has more homeless housing per capita and more per square miles than any other area in the LA City system

Is it wrong for the City of LA to impose this disproportionate set of figures on a small community by the sea?  Venetians think and say “Yes.”  Enough is enough.  Venice houses both St. Joseph Center and Venice Community Housing which push for more services in Venice, more housing in Venice.  Venetians are made out to be the bad guys when they show this disproportionate selection.

Some cry that the next door neighbor Santa Monica has more.  They are larger in physical size and have different zoning and have many more citizens.  They are not comparable.

Prime, close-to-ocean properties; elsewhere get more for the buck to house more homeless
All four of the projects are within 1000 feet of the ocean.  Prime land.  Many wanted the Venice Median, Thatcher Yard sites sold and money taken elsewhere to provide even more homeless housing.  That ship has sailed.  Apparently, the City will not consider the figures.

Venice homeless are doing “right of passage,”  here for the weather, other reasons
The beach and many of the streets and sidewalks are filled with homeless youth expressing their “right of passage” to something, which certainly includes alcohol and drugs. This invites gangs and drug dealers to the area.  Vandalism is rampant. Stolen bikes are displayed throughout Venice. Many of the homeless party at night and sleep during the day.  Many of those who live in vans and motor homes do not respect the roadways or their neighbors.   One can be homeless but still be clean and respectful.

Yes, there are people who come to Venice who are truly in need of help.  One man, not on drugs or alcohol,  was asked why he and his girlfriend came to Venice and he said he Googled the best place to be if one is homeless and bingo the place was Venice.  So he hot footed it to Venice from some southern state and Regina Weller found him lodging.

Will these projects get rid of homeless on Venice Beach, sidewalks, streets
Will these projects get rid of the homeless on the Venice Beach, sidewalks, streets? Not necessarily.  The selection process for living quarters will be the coordinated entry system (CES).  People will be selected from a larger area than Venice on a “most need basis.”  Most of those on alcohol or drugs do not want housing even though the availability for housing is not dependent on one getting off drugs or alcohol.  Yes,  one will be able to get housing and stay or drugs and/or alcohol.

Both projects will be for homeless and permanent supportive housing 
Both the Venice Median and the Thatcher Yard will each contain 50 percent affordable and 50 percent permanent supportive housing.  In both cases affordable will be for the low, very low and extremely low incomes.  The permanent supportive housing is further divided into two types one is for homeless and the other is for chronically homeless.  The chronically homeless have what is termed, in addition to being homeless,  a disability such as alcohol, drugs, being a senior citizen, having to be in a wheel chair, having a mental condition etc.  The list is long.

Thatcher Yard

(All illustrations are courtesy of Oxford Triangle Association and Thomas Safran and Associates.)

The Thatcher Yard project in the Oxford Triangle consists of 98 units of which half will be affordable and half Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). The site is 93,347 sq ft.

Thomas Safran Associates (TSA), the selected builder, further defines the breakdown as 68 units for seniors and 30 units for families. Half of 68 units will be for PSH homeless and half for low, very low and extremely low incomes. The 30 units will be half for PSH homeless and half for low income.A senior is at least 62 years old.

There will be 128 bedrooms so at least 30 units will be two-bedroom but it is known that some of the units will be three bedrooms.There will be 82 parking spaces. There will be an apartment for a live-in manager.

The PSH units will have supportive services. The Coordinated Entry System (CES) and lottery system will be used for tenant selection.Safran management will run credit, criminal, and income verification checks.

At one time it was shown that a one-bedroom would be 600 sq ft; two bedroom 850 sq ft; and three-bedroom at 1100 sq ft.

The project will consist of 16 one- or  two-story houses and 9 buildings that will be two or three stories and a community room. The only deviations from the Venice Specific Plan are the 8-foot passage ways and the clock tower which will be 40’6”.

The complete project perimeter facing R-1 housing will be fenced with a four- foot fence and with landscaping.

Thatcher Ave street will be closed at the site’s northern boundary to prevent all vehicle access from site into the Oxford Triangle. Access to the site will be off Jefferson-Marina Way at Lincoln. Harbor Crossing houses at the south end will enter and exit via Jefferson-Marina Way onto Lincoln or the Oxford exit, which is to be changed to be an entrance/exit.

The project is approaching the stage of reaching the Venice Neighborhood Council Land Use and Planning Committee for approval.A neighborhood outreach will be the next step and should be announced shortly and is scheduled to happen before the end of February.Building is scheduled to commence second quarter of 2020.

Venice Median (now called Reese-Davidson Community)


(First illustration is  courtesy of Fight Back Venice and the other renderings are courtesy of Eric Owen Moss Associates.)

The Venice Median project, now called Reese-Davidson Community,  will consist of 140 residential units in two buildings located between North and South Venice Blvd, between Pacific and Dell.  There will be commercial on the ground floor.  The site is 112,171 sq ft.

The project will have 68 units for formerly chronically homeless individuals.   The other 68 units will be 34 for low-income artists and 34 for low income households.

This is a joint development project for Venice Community Housing (VCH) and Hollywood Community Housing with design by Eric Owen Moss, architect.

The site will also have a community arts center, small scale retail, public parking, residential and commercial parking, wide setbacks from the sidewalk, various open and green spaces, and multiple opportunities for public art.

The project will consist of two main buildings that will span the property.  Each building will have a varied roof line and will be between two and three stories with a maximum height of 35 feet.  The northwest corner will sport a campanile that will be 59 feet.  The first floor will be commercial.

Commercial space on the first floor will total 8,000 sq ft including Gregory Hines Art Center of 3155 sq ft.  When asked if VCH would use any of the commercial space, Becky Dennison, director of VCH,  wrote  “Probably not, but the commercial uses have not been determined.”

Property originally used as a beach parking lot had 188 parking spaces.  These spaces will be incorporated into the additional spaces required for the units and commercial.  According to Dennison there will be 395 to 436 parking spaces in total — 188 required replacement public parking; 128 required residential and commercial spaces; and 79 to 120 non-required spaces.  

“The range on non-required is because we don’t yet know whether the City will pursue conventional or automated parking for the public parking lot,” said Dennison.   Automated creates more spaces.

Dennison said that there will be eight staff members.  Four will be social service providers for the chronically homeless.  Four will be property management staff.  The property management members will live on the property.

Square footage for the units is as follows:

Studio: 281 to 405 sq ft

Art loft: 350 – 480 sq ft

1 br:     502 to 687 sq ft

2 br:     755 to 902 sq ft

Breakdown of how many of each type unit is as follows:

Studio           51

Art Loft         34

1-Bed           32

2-Bed           23

The status of the project is that the project is close to being presented to Venice Neighborhood Council.  There is also a law suit that is requesting a full Environmental Impact Report.


MTA Site for Bridge Housing


The MTA Site (also referred to as Metro Site, Project 6, former Bus Lot) is proposed for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Bridge Housing” in Venice.  Its site is located on Sunset between Pacific and Main and is a little over 3 acres.

It is proposed that a temporary community for rapid rehousing will be constructed to house 154 homeless individuals — 100 adults and 54 people between the ages of 18 and 24.

The claim is that the project will be used to house and process the homeless on Venice streets to permanent housing, jobs, rehab centers, etc.  The promise is that this will clean up the beach, sidewalks, streets in Venice that the homeless are inhabiting.  The protocol for accomplishing this has not yet been announced other than that  there will be increased sanitation and increased police.  This same protocol was announced for the first Bridge at El Pueblo in downtown Los Angeles.  The ACLU immediately wrote a letter to the Mayor, the protocol outcome of which no one knows.

Venetians feel this will create more homeless in Venice.  The Council Deputy has stated that the first homeless will come from those on the streets, sidewalks  and beach of Venice.

The three plus acres is further scheduled for development by the Metropolitan Transit Authority within three years but Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin are both on the board. 

At present time there is a law suit to accomplish a full Environmental Impact Report.

The project is best described by Councilman Mike Bonin.



Westminster Senior Center

The latest for the Westminster Senior Center was published 12 February and is reprinted here.Venice Kids Count is settling their suit with the City. The City will not be converting the Westminster Senior Center into a storage facility for homeless.

Spokesman for Venice Kids Count said “The agreement outlines that should the City decide to reverse their direction and move forward to convert the Senior Center, they will notify us in writing 60 days prior and we can then immediately revive our legal effort. We have agreed to essentially put our lawsuit on hold.

“Councilman Mike Bonin has announced to the group that the Senior Center will be used for recovery meetings hosted by the Venice Recovery Center. Venice Recovery Center was on Lincoln Blvd.

Spokesman for Venice Kids Count stated that the group hopes the Westminster Senior Center will be used by community organizations, such as arts groups, civic groups, hobby groups, senior groups, etc so the park will be a positive presence in Venice.

Ref: https://veniceupdate.com/2019/02/12/21373/

Comment (1)

  1. Danny Harris

    You lost me in the first sentence when you referred to Venice as a “city.” Venice is not a city. Thewre are no cities in District 11 other than the City of Los Angeles. Venice is a neighborhood, just like Mar Vista is a neighborhood. When you refer to Venice as a “city” you lose all credibility and make reading the rest of this piece a complete waste of time.

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