web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Marathon VNC Board Meeting: From Contentiousness to Consensus

Westminster Elementary School was filled with members of the community that surrounds Kim’s Market at 600 Mildred, Tesuque’s proposed project. At one time President Ira Koslow asked residents in the audience who planned to speak to stand.  Shown are those who planned to speak for the motion which was against the  project at the corner of Mildred, Ocean, and almost Venice Blvd. There were 56 comment cards filled out. Many could not stay. Each person had one minute to speak. All comments were for the motion. The comment period started at 10:20 pm and ended at just after 11 pm. The board then voted. So past 11:20, the vote for the motion, which was against the project, was 13 to 1.

By Angela McGregor

Tuesday’s five-hour Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Board meeting had something for everyone, with the exception of the usual, live-stream on Facebook, which wasn’t functioning due to technical problems. 

It began with a request to pull from the agenda its most contentious item — the motion to deny a conditional use permit and require a traffic study for the proposed restaurant at 600 Mildred.  This request came from Boardmember Robert Thibodeau, the project’s architect, on the grounds that the motion constituted an illegal “reconsideration” of the project.  However, as previously reported in the Update, members of the community had successfully petitioned the Board to vote on the motion, so it remained the last item on the very long agenda.

When the time came for public comment, dozens of Silver Triangle and Canal residents voiced their opinions on the project’s inappropriateness for the neighborhood based upon its very close proximity to residences and lack of noise abatement, the dangerous traffic conditions at the corner of Mildred and Ocean, and the narrowness of Mildred, which has a sidewalk on just one side.  At the end of evening, the Board voted nearly unanimously in favor of passing the motion, which meant a “no” for the project.

Board President Ira Koslow announced, at the start of the meeting, that he had chosen co-chairs for the newly formed, ad-hoc homeless committee.  They are long-time Venice resident and developer Frank Murphy and VNC Boardmember Charles Rials.  Boardmember Matt Fisher, who had first proposed the new committee, said he would appeal the decision, stating that the appointment of co-chairs violates Roberts Rules of Order and was meant to deny him his rightful place as chairman.  President Koslow said there was not anything appealable.

General comments focused on the need for more transparency in Board decisions, centering around the decision to pull item 13B off of the agenda, which would have issued a VNC recommendation to re-zone various properties to commercial use along Ocean Front Walk.  This item was pulled because a member of LUPC who voted on the motion should have recused himself.

There were two motions on the agenda regarding the proposed Enhanced Infrastructure Finance District (EIFD) for Venice.  This proposal, first made by Councilman Bonin in 2015, would allow a portion of city property tax revenue to be used for projects in Venice.  Just which projects would be funded would be determined by a five-person “Public Financing Authority” — three mayor-appointed City Council members and two members of the public appointed by the City Council.  The combined motion from both LUPC and Parking and Transportation, which was ultimately approved, would issue a Community Impact Statement mandating that the governing body be instead a majority comprised of Venice stakeholders chosen by the VNC.

An ad-hoc committee to oversee the dog park at Westminster Park as well as “assess the current needs of dog owners in Venice” was created.  It will be chaired by Boardmember Jamie Paige.  There will also be an ad hoc “Verdant Venice” committee to oversee the preservation of Venice’s biodiversity and tree canopy.  This committee will be co-chaired by local landscape architect Isabelle Duvivier and  Noel Johnston, who is a certified arborist.

There were two motions on the agenda regarding the issue of parkways and planters.  The first, which failed by one vote, would have urged the Bureau of Engineering to support any applications allowing for the removal of concrete over parkways in order to facilitate the planting of these parkways for “the purpose of beautification, rain infiltration and containment”.  The second motion, which encourages similar concrete removal for purposes of planter boxes, was passed despite public comment which called these actions “defensive architecture” designed to prevent the formation of encampments and a comment from Boardmember Matt Fisher calling it “illegal” and a violation of the ADA.

The meeting concluded at approximately 11:30 pm after the vote on 600 Mildred.  The VNC Board will next meet on September 17th at 7 pm.

Comments (5)

  1. Chris Plourde

    Did Mr. Ryavec vote on either of the planter items?

  2. Nick Antonicello

    Ira did a good job running the meeting by using good humor to diffuse certain issues. It is a difficult task running a meeting in Venice and I appreciate his service and volunteerism for the community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *