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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Thatcher Yard Project Approved at the Current VNC Board’s Last Meeting

By Angela McGregor

Election season was the mood of the evening at the May 2019 meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC).

A table at the back of the room was covered in flyers, postcards and door hangers from various candidates as well as a big stack of 2019 VNC election guides, containing the pictures and statements from 47 candidates, 34 of them running for one of the 13 Community Officer at Large positions.

In his remarks, Election Committee Chair Ivan Spiegel stated that the election social media campaign has begun, election guides are being distributed around neighborhoods, and lawn signs are soon to follow. The election is 2 June from 10 am to 6 pm at the Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California.

Thatcher Yard Project
Although the agenda was a long one, the marquee item, for which the majority of attendees in the packed auditorium had come, was the presentation on Thomas Safran & Associates’ (TSA) PSH/Affordable Housing project at Thatcher Yard. For details.

Tyler Monroe of TSA gave power point presentation of the 98 unit [68 seniors, 30 families; half seniors with low to extremely low incomes and half formerly homeless with 25 percent of that half being permanent supportive homeless (PSH)], coastal-craftsman style development, and also detailed the extensive interaction that TSA had over the past three years with residents in the Oxford Triangle which resulted in the project being scaled down from the initially proposed 152 units.

In public commentary, members of the #shedoes movement, current, formerly homeless residents of Safran’s Del Rey development and representatives from Venice Community Housing (both Linda Lucks and Becky Dennison) all rose to speak in favor of the project, although a few affordable housing advocates felt the project should be more dense. Three Oxford Triangle residents also spoke in favor of the project and reiterated Monroe’s description of the extensive public outreach that resulted in the neighborhood’s general approval of Safran’s design.

Board commentary was also generally positive. Jim Murez pointed out a couple of flaws — that the trees proposed for the project would, in this climate, never reach the tops of even the shortest structures, and so should be replaced with hardier and taller varieties. Also, he expressed concern that the front doors of the family townhouses that face the single family homes on Princeton and Oxford were facing inward rather that to the street, discouraging neighborhood interaction.

Ira Koslow felt the clock tower (a signature of every Safran development) was an unnecessary waste of space, given that “nobody tells time anymore, they all look at their phones”, but Ilana Marosi disagreed, pointing out that both the seniors and children who would be living at the Yard were “able to tell time”. Matt Royce — the lone dissenting Board vote — said he admired the project and commended TSA on their extensive outreach, but could not approve the project because, in his opinion the project is worth “at least a 40 or 50 million dollars” and funds from the City sale could have been used to build far more housing in a denser, less expensive development. In the end, the project pass 16-1-1.

The meeting did not adjourn until well past 11pm, and the next meeting, on June 18th, will feature the swearing-in of an entirely new Board, the first in three years.

Comment (1)

  1. Vote Trump 2020

    Vote TRUMP 2020 and this won’t happen to you

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