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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Abbot Kinney Blvd Will Not be Getting Parking Meters

Los Angels Department of Transportation (LADOT) says they will not be  installing parking meters on Abbot Kinney Blvd based on feedback from residents.

LADOT gas agreed to move forward with other, more popular projects to improve parking and relieve traffic congestion on the Abbot Kinney corridor.  Right now Abbot Kinney has the largest variety of painted curbs in Venice.  When question, the Venice Update was told that a store can have whatever color they want in front of their store.  They have green, yellow, white and red without rime or reason, other than, as they claim, preference.

LADOT’s revised plans for the Blvd now include:

  • Marking 203 parking spaces along Abbot Kinney to maximize parking efficiency;

  • Installing parking sensors to collect real-time parking data and guide motorists to available spaces with smartphone apps;

  • Standardizing posted parking time limits at 2 hours between 8 AM and 8 PM;

  • Installing nine new parking corrals for dockless scooters and e-bikes;

  • Preserving two existing bike parking corrals and maintaining the existing Metro bike share station;

  • Adding a series of several motorcycle parking spaces, spread out along the boulevard; and

  • Reorganizing passenger and commercial loading zones to allow traffic to flow more smoothly on the street.

“LADOT is doing this work because I asked the agency to come up with proposals to address the issues neighbors, visitors, and merchants raise with me all the time: a lack of parking, too much traffic, scooters blocking the public right-of-way on sidewalks, and other related issues,” wrote Councilman Mike Bonin.  “The initial proposal called for the installation of 196 new parking meters, but LADOT has dropped that part of the proposal after hearing so many public concerns and objections.”

More Questions than Answers at Town Hall on Abbot Kinney Smart Meters

By Angela McGregor

In its announcement on proposed changes to parking on Abbot Kinney of a Venice Community Town Hall held 9 January at Westminster Elementary, LADOT/LA Express Park stated: “Eleventh District Councilmember Mike Bonin and the Abbot Kinney Merchants Association requested LADOT to review the parking policies for Abbot Kinney Boulevard.”

The Councilmember and the Merchants Association desire to introduce parking meters to make the curb more attainable and accessible for the public, to increase parking turnover in the area, and to encourage more visitors to their shops.  In response to this request, LADOT developed a plan to install parking meters on Abbot Kinney and along commercial frontage on all the intersecting streets.”

The plan, as described by LADOT reps at the Town Hall, would involve the installation of so-called “smart meters” on both sides of Abbot Kinney from Venice Blvd, as well as the two lots behind the businesses, on Irving Tabor Court, which don’t already have meters. Time limitations and pricing on these meters would vary, with a two-hour limit imposed during “high demand” hours, between 8 am and 8 pm. Meters would be payable by credit card and smartphone. It would also include new parking corrals for both bicycles and e-scooters.

When asked whether the Abbot Kinney Merchants Association and the Venice Chamber of Commerce had been consulted, one rep stated that representatives from both organizations had expressed strong approval for the project. In fact, the LADOT website on the project only specifically mentions the Merchants Association, and, as reported in the Venice Update back in February, the Merchants held a meeting to explore a proposal from the City regarding metered parking installation that stated “the restrictions would be the same as existing” (whereas those proposed appear to be far more than what currently exists).

The Town Hall featured explanatory posters from LADOT and reps from that agency answering questions from the two dozen or so concerned Venetians who stopped by. Among the concerns of residents who live nearby was spillover traffic from the businesses from customers and employees who needed to spend more than two hours on AK. Prior to the installation of meters behind the businesses on AK, employees of those businesses had ample spaces to park while they worked. One resident suggested at least an un-metered, permit only lot for those employees. As for Abbot Kinney’s famous food trucks, the Council Office is proposing new regulations which would govern where they park, and allow for trucks to receive more than one parking ticket when they are in violation of the two-hour limit, a measure which would discourage them from simply adding the cost of a ticket to the price of doing business.

VNC Board member and head of the Parking Transportation Committee, Jim Murez and VNC Parliamentarian Ivan Spiegel both voiced their dissatisfaction with the fact that these changes had never been brought to the VNC, which Murez maintained was in violation of the City’s charter. Murez went on to state that they were also in violation of the Venice Specific Plan and should have been brought before the Coastal Commission. With the VNC on hiatus this month for a planned Board Member Retreat, it is unclear whether they will have the opportunity to weigh in on this plan prior to its scheduled implementation in late February.

Although one LADOT rep stated the new parking restrictions were “on the books”, those who attended who had suggestions and concerns were advised to fill out comment cards. Residents of streets near Abbot Kinney worried about being overrun by tourists eager to park for free were handed pamphlets titled “Preferential Parking Districts” explaining how residents could contact their Council Office to set up permit parking in their Neighborhoods. This despite the fact that the California Coastal Commission has repeatedly denied Venice residents’ requests for permit parking in their neighborhoods, most recently in 2013, on the basis that, in light of the lack of unrestricted parking in Venice, such limitations would unfairly limit beach access.

For the history of preferential parking see the Venice Stakeholders history.

LADOT reps also said that these new meters were to go into effect in late February of 2020. When asked whether the City had plans to bring this new scheme before the VNC or Coastal Commission, one rep informed said that this was unnecessary because the Venice Local Coast Program specified the installation of parking meters on Abbot Kinney Blvd.

In fact, the relevant portion of the Venice Local Coastal Program Land Use Plan states:

“Policy II. A. 7. Metered Parking on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The City shall install 4-hour parking meters in the commercial district along Abbot Kinney Boulevard to encourage turnover and discourage long-term beach parking, which in turn should help to increase parking availability for short-term commercial customers.”

It is unclear how the City and LADOT have resolved the clear discrepancy between the VLCP’s stipulation of four-hour parking meters on Abbot Kinney with their upcoming installation of two-hour meters during daylight hours.

 

The Venice Place Development — One Block of Abbot Kinney — to be Heard 1 August


This is a rendering of the Venice Place presented in 2016.

(11 July 2019) The redevelopment of one block of Abbot Kinney across from Westminster Elementary School, called the Venice Place, will be heard by the zoning administrator 1 August, 10 am, West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 South Corinth Avenue, Los Angeles.

The project was heard in 2016, rethought, and now is being re-presented. This is a joint project by Dan Abrams and Steve Edwards, of Wynkoop Properties, LLC. Architect is David Hertz.

The site currently contains 12,560 square feet of existing development comprised of three restaurants totaling 7,444 square feet, a 1,572 square-foot private school, 3,544 square feet of office space (of which 1,344 square feet will be retained), 2,963 square feet of existing outdoor landscaped area used as a retail nursery (the Sculpture Garden), and a 60-space surface parking lot.

The project proposes the demolition of one 2,442 square-foot restaurant, the existing private school, 2,200 square feet of office space, and the surface parking lot; and the construction, use, and maintenance of a 70,310 square-foot, mixed-use development (includes existing and new floor area).

The mixed-used development is comprised of two existing restaurants and a new 3,810 square-foot hotel restaurant having 2,514 square-feet of Service Floor area, a new Apartment Hotel with four dwelling units and 78 guest rooms, 2,935 square feet of ground floor retail space including a market with 170 square feet of Service Floor area, a 1,735 square-foot spa, and 2,027 square feet of office use.

The project will construct three (3) new three-story mixed-use buildings, each with a maximum of 30 feet in height, and one (1) new two-story building, approximately 25 feet in height; all new structures are connected by pedestrian bridges.

The project provides a total of 175 parking spaces, at grade and within three subterranean levels and will provide an on-street loading area on Broadway, limiting the use of the space for loading during the hours of 7 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday; a loading zone is also provided onsite.

The project also requires excavation, grading, and approval of a haul route for the export of approximately 24,591.65 cubic yards of dirt.

1. The Zoning Administrator shall consider the information contained in the Environmental Impact Report prepared for this project, which includes the Draft EIR, No. ENV-2016-4321-EIR (SCH No. 2016061033) dated, January 10, 2019, and the Final EIR, dated July 3, 2019 (Venice Place Project EIR), as well as the whole of the administrative record.

2. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.24-W,1, a Conditional Use Permit authorizing: (a) the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcohol beverages for on-site consumption in conjunction with a proposed hotel restaurant having 195 indoor seats and 65 outdoor seats, operating 24 hours and serving alcohol between the hours of 7 am to 1 am, (b) the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcohol beverages for on-site and offsite consumption in conjunction with a market within the hotel, operating between the hours of 7 am to 1 am (c) a full line of alcohol beverages provided in individual hotel room’s liquor cabinets, (d) the sale of a full line of alcohol beverages by hotel guest room services, (e) and the on-site consumption of alcohol in the hotel lobby, outdoor courtyard, hotel lounge areas, and hotel business center.

3. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.24-W,24, a Conditional Use Permit to allow an Apartment Hotel located within 500 feet of a Residential Zone.

4. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.20.2, a Coastal Development Permit for the Proposed Project in the Single Permit Jurisdiction of the California Coastal Zone.

5. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 16.05-C,1(b), a Site Plan Review for the construction of a mixed use project comprised of more than 50 guest rooms.

6. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 11.5.7, a Project Permit Compliance Review for a project within the North Venice Subarea of the Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan.

7. Pursuant to Sections 65590 and 65590.1 of the California Government Code, a Mello Act Compliance review for a project located within the Coastal Zone.

8. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.37-I,3, a Waiver of Dedication and/or Improvements to provide a 4.5-foot dedication on Electric Avenue in lieu of the 7.5 feet otherwise required and to provide a 2-foot dedication on Westminster Avenue in lieu of the 5 feet otherwise required.

All comments should be sent to Juliet Oh, City Planner, 200 North Spring Street, RM 721, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Email: juliet.oh@lacity.org; (213) 978-1186. All correspondence should reference ZA-2012-3354-CUB-CU-CDP-MEL-WDISPP-SPR and ENV-2016-4321-EIR (SCH No. 2016061033).

Murez to Appeal Easement Give-Away at CCC

The 5193-foot easement of the property at 538 Venice Blvd, 1156 Abbot Kinney Blvd, which was approved by the City of Los Angeles, is being appealed by Jim Murez and Robert Aronson at the California Coastal Commission that will meet in San Diego 12 June.

Appeal No. A-5-VEN-19-0021
Venice Investors, LLC, Venice, Los Angeles wants the front 5193 feet of the easement that has been reserved for city road widening, beautification etc. For the history of this situation, go to story.

Submit comment or submit email to the CCC at Southcoast@coastal.ca.gov. List appeal number. All correspondence must be received no later than 5 pm 7 June. Submit comment.

 

Abbot Kinney Blvd Merchants to Explore Possibly of Getting Parking Meters

A letter was sent to surrounding neighbors stating that the Abbot Kinney Merchants Association was exploring the idea of meters to increase turnover and allow for bikes, motorcycles, scooters.

A meeting will be held Tuesday, 12 February 7 to 9 pm at Extra Storage, 658 Venice Blvd, to explain the proposal

Many in surrounding areas are not happy with this idea because patrons already park on neighboring streets leaving no place for residents without garages to park.

Take me out to the old ball park …

ball park

Take me out to the old ball park …

Robin Murez has finished the pocket park she dubbed “ball park” at the corner of South Venice Blvd, Mildred, and Ocean Ave. This little parklette became a 12-year obsession for the Murez Magic. It was a dangerous intersection that had become blind because of an illegal enclosure of City property.

“We went through a legal battle and a huge encampment,” wrote Robin. “Even the naysayers applauded this Venice Ball Park. It has all come together recently because of help from Taylor Bazley, Venice representative from the council office. He helped unsnarl the bureaucracy, get the palm trees trimmed and finally get the project done.

“It’s a contemporary ‘Ball Park’ with drought tolerant, no-mow grassy mounds, decomposed granite pathways, tall trimmed palm trees and giant mosaic balls, to climb or sit upon.

“The ‘Ball Park’also pays homage to the Venice Tigers, a professional minor league baseball team. Their ballpark, for a couple of years during prohibition, was just up the road on South Venice Blvd at Abbot Kinney Blvd.

“The imagery on the mosaic balls are favorite Venice things: Italian Architecture — the faces of the capitals on the columns along Windward; a camel — because we once had live camel rides in Venice; sea kelp and a sea anemone — as we have today.”

Psychedelic Orchestrations by the Masters, 17 March

masters

Sholem to Preview Bar and Bat Programs

jews
A preview of Sholem’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah program will be presented 25 February, starting at 10 am at the Westside Neighborhood school campus, 5101 Beethoven, 90066.

Guests are invited to stay for Sholem’s family-friendly Purim Carnival from 11am-12:30 pm. Featured will be a playful dramatization of The Story of Esther, games & treats. (Dressing in costume encouraged!)

Brass Sextet Feature of Masters in the Chapel, Friday

Masters in the Chapel will feature a Brass Sextet from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Friday (16 Febrary) 7 to 8 pm at the First Lutheran Church,815 Venice Blvd.

They will play Bach to Britten. Concert is free.

Murez Wins Abbot Kinney-Venice Blvd Appeal

AbbotK

This is the corner of Abbot Kinney and Venice Blvd.  The area where the trees are is the land in question.

By Jim Murez

With almost no help from the community (except from Stewart Oscars showing up), Robert Aronson and I were able to defeat the applicant.  The hearing went really late, did not end until about 10:30p with a 4:30 start time (although our two cases which were heard as one did not start until about 8 pm as the second item on their agenda).

My appeal which included over 100 pages of backup materials about this site gave us and the commissioners a lot of good arguments to sink our teeth into.  The Commissioners in their findings could not make the minimum requirements to allow the applicant to take this 5200 SF of land out of the public sector.  And with all of the claims the applicant made about ownership rights, it was still not enough to fool the majority of the commissioners.   …interesting, Commissioner Heather Rozman voted the opposite on every point and was trying to help the applicant with their case throughout the hearing, almost as though she was a shill planted by the Mayor to meet some hidden agenda!  There was no reason or rime to her points of view in my or any of the other three commissioners opinions.

One has to wonder why the City has allowed this to go this far… the coastal commission had already denied a similar request in 2006 at this same site.  This again came up last night and gave Commissioner Joe Halper a very good argument to deny the CDP request.  He stated this is a precedent when the CCC has made a prior ruling.  Commissioner Esther Margulies and President of the commission made several good findings why they could not support the requests, she really did her research… and even went on to point out when she had visited the site, she observed several people on bikes using the site as a resting place (within the  area which would be fenced off if the proposal were approved).

The council office chief of staff Tricia Keane got up and asked the commission to help try to settle with some sort of approval with the intent that if they conceded to these applicant requests, it would lead the way to settling the pending law suit the applicant has with the City. (Court case is currently scheduled for March 2018.)

LADOT got up and spoke for the applicant too.  In their words, this was going to be the first off-street Metro Bike Share location.  When asked by Margulies if the reduced sidewalk width because of the proposed bike rack location would be encroaching into the existing pedestrians sidewalk, they commented they did not know what the sidewalk size should be for an intersection of this nature.  The proposed request by LADOT for the bike racks is only four feet knowing the balance of the bike would hang out over the sidewalk.  And keep in mind, this corner already hosts two bus routes and is considered by the CCC and most visitors as the primary path to Venice Beach!

The applicants primary argument was the land was theirs and the easement that has been in place for well over 100 years has been interpreted incorrectly.  What they said in not so few words, all of the properties along Venice Blvd (43) that have had surveys over the past 100+ years were done wrong… this would include the Caltrans surveys that relinquished California State Highway 147 to the City in 1992 and made it possible for me to plant the 650 native trees that now line the streetscape.  The council office commented offline this was Ruth Galanter wishes too, leaving out the part about during the 16 years she was councilwoman and brokered the deal with the State to give up the land, she was never able to make this leap to privatizing the open space on Venice Beach.  And for that matter, she supported my 1992 tree planting efforts with a Council Motion back when I needed help getting through the City permitting process.  Makes no sense…

So where do we go from here…?  More to come.