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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Metro is City and Can Develop Their Property, Revised

Note: If you have been following the story, first the Council Office said property was County, but it is City, and Metro has the right to develop their own property.
Council office answers the question posed by the Update regarding changing Metro Bus Depot in Venice at Sunset to affordable housing and usurping the Surplus Requirement.

David Graham-Caso, communications director and policy advisor for Councilman Mike Bonin, answered that joint development is nothing new for Metro and one can see a full page of their website dedicated to the joint development process and current projects here: https://www.metro.net/projects/joint_dev_pgm

The Communications Director Graham-Caso wrote that the Metro does not have to follow the City requirements for surplus property because it can enter into joint development. The following is his explanation.

Regarding your question about the bus yard – the site did not get declared “surplus property” and offered to other governmental agencies or auctioned off to the highest bidder because Metro decided instead to enter into a joint development process for the site. This means Metro retains ownership of the property, allowing Metro to set the terms for the process and the terms for how they wish to see the property used. This is good for the neighborhood for a few reasons.

First, because of the high value of the land, it is unlikely another government agency would be able to afford the site, which means it was very likely that it would have been auctioned off for commercial development to the highest bidder. This would have resulted in a lot of traffic and not a lot of affordable housing.

Instead of allowing the site to go to the highest bidder, Mike’s proposal (which was approved unanimously by the Metro Board on Thursday), means that Metro will be involved in the development of the site, and Metro’s policy of community-driven development will allow thorough neighborhood involvement as the development proceeds.

Also, the development must be consistent with Metro’s policy for affordable housing, which says that at least 35% of the housing units in Metro’s total portfolio must be affordable to people earning 60% of the area median income. (Note that 35% is a minimum – it could be much more than that).

County Removing Dead, Diseased Trees

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Tree in need of removal.

Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors is in charge of trimming all the trees in Marina each year. They also remove all dead and diseased trees in Marina. Shown is a diseased tree yet to be removed.

Councilman Speaks of Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

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Park Avenue, off Ocean Front Walk, just past 6 am Saturday.

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Market Avenue, off Ocean Front Walk, just past 6 am Saturday.

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3rd Avenue at Rose, just past 6 am Saturday.

Oxford Basin Progress Reported

By Los Angeles County Department of Public Works

Note: This update of Oxford Basin progress is part of the commitment made by the LA County Department of Public Works to keep interested parties apprised of the Oxford Basin progress. All photos are also from the LA County Department of Public Works.

The Oxford Basin Multiuse Enhancement Project is designed to enhance flood protection and reduce storm water pollution while improving the quality of the ecosystem and adding passive recreational amenities to the facility. For more information, visit the project website at dpw.lacounty.gov/go/oxford.

Construction continues on the Oxford Basin Project and the project is on track for an on-time completion in Spring 2016. Significant progress has been made in recent weeks. Visit the project website for the latest developments.

Project construction commenced in June 2015 and is scheduled for completion in Spring 2016. Working hours are currently scheduled for 7 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Friday.

The new tide gates have been successfully installed and are now operable and ready to handle winter storms. The structural components of the circulation berm have also been installed. Other work inside the basin continues. Intermittent lane closures and moderate traffic impacts are anticipated on Admiralty Way and Washington Boulevard. For the duration of construction, the sidewalk along the project perimeter on Admiralty Way will be closed to pedestrians.

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The new tide gates at Oxford Basin have been installed and are operable to accommodate the current storm season.

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The structural components of the circulation berm have been properly installed.

EMD to Have Town Hall Meet 9 December

The City’s Emergency Management Department will have a Town Hall meet to specifically address El Nino and the severe weather conditions predicted. The meet will be held 9 December from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Westchester Recreation Center, 9100 Lincoln Blvd, LA 90045.

Representatives from Los Angeles Fire Department, Police Department, Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation, and County Department of Public Works will all be present to explain what each department will do in case of an emergency. They will also answer questions.

Court Rejects City and County Motions for Summary Judgement; Venice Beach Public Nuisance Case Heads to Trial

(Venice, CA/10/21/15) This morning Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon denied motions by the City and County of Los Angeles to dismiss the Venice Stakeholders Association lawsuit which alleges that the City and County have maintained a public nuisance on their park land, parking lots and the Boardwalk at Venice Beach.

In the decision the Court cited legal authority which included:

“Government liability under Government Code section 815 et seq. may be nuisances per se,… Such an action would not force the City to prosecute others for nuisance on private property, but rather require the City to take action as is necessary so that it no longer suffers a nuisance on its own property.”

Today’s Court decision was applauded by the Venice Stakeholders group:

“We are heartened by the Court’s support of our position that the City and County have a legal responsibility to abate the nuisance which they are allowing to exist in the Venice Beach Recreation Area (VBRA),” said Mark Ryavec, president of the Stakeholders. “Just like all other owners who are responsible for their property, the City and County need to be held responsible to residents for the harm we experience.”

Ryavec noted that an award of monetary damages could even be used to allow residents to hire private security to protect themselves and their families from assaults, break-ins, trespass and defecation and urination on their private property which result from people illegally living in or storing their possessions on public land.

Neighbor Effects Drug Arrest

All Photos and Story by David Thomas

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Early this Saturday about 11:15 am, while taking a walk, I spotted two individuals loitering between bike path at Oxford Basin and Oxford Triangle wall. The wall is the border between the City and County.

I discretely watched both subjects prepare heroin and shoot it into their arms with syringes. Knowing the goings on of BFMV (burglary from motor vehicle) and residential burglaries in the Oxford Triangle, as well as the bona-fide link between drug users and crime, I called and directed LAPD officers to the subjects. By then they had made their way to the Del Taco on Lincoln Blvd near Washington Blvd.

LAPD detained and ultimately arrested the two for possession. The guy in the orange shirt tried to run and ultimately discarded tar heroin and syringes from his backpack while being pursued by the officer. The orange shirt guy also spit out a baggie of tar heroin from his mouth upon arrest, which was also recovered. I found out that the guy in the black shirt is on probation for robbery. Officers also found burglary tools (e.g., screwdrivers, etc.) in their backpacks.

Parks and Sidewalk Changes Become Laws 18 July; Enforcement When?

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Both ordinances dealing with Los Angeles Municipal Codes 56.11 and 63.44 were enrolled as law 15 July and will be effective 18 July, according to Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association. Ryavec got the information from the City Clerk’s office this morning.

When they will be enforceable is another story.

These are the laws Mayor Eric Garcetti said he would not sign but City Charter rules can bypass a Mayor’s signature. Mayor Garcetti also said he would not enforce such unless there were amendments to preserve prescription drugs and identification information.
Police Commission can trump Mayor’s enforcement capability.

Steve Soboroff, head of the Police Commission, indicated to Ryavec this morning that he wanted the two amendments as fast as possible so that officers can be trained with the information contained in the two amendments, regarding prescription drugs and identification information. Ryavec also said that Soboroff indicated he would honor the Mayor’s request to have the amendments first.

The ordinances deal with cleaning up the City parks and public areas, such as sidewalks, parkways, streets and alleys. The main points are:

    Both ordinances change the times for notification from 72 hours to 24 hours for abandoned items. Items removed will then be stored as before.

    Bulky items that will not fit into a 60-gallon garbage can be removed without notification.

    Tents on park grounds will not be allowed unless a permit is obtained. Tents on sidewalks will be allowed from 9 pm to 6 am.

Council Passes Ordinances Affecting Venice Homeless

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Tents–No, in the parks; yes, on public sidewalks. One can erect a tent in a park only if permitted, but otherwise, no. Tents on public sidewalks can be erected between 9 pm and 6 am only. In either case, if rule is not followed, item can be considered a bulky item and not require notification for confiscation.

Two ordinances were passed this week by City Council. Both will affect the Venice homeless and their possessions in parks and city areas. Both ordinances will become effective early July when Mayor Eric Garcetti signs them and they are published.

Basically, both ordinances define bulky items and establish that they may be removed and destroyed without prior notice.

    Bulky item or Bulky items means any item, with the exception of a tent, that is too large to fit in one of the City’s 60-gallon trash containers with the lid closed, including but not limited to a mattress, couch, chair or other furniture or appliance.

    A tent is considered a bulky item, unless permitted, in a park area and will be removed and destroyed. A tent in a public area must be there only from 9 pm to 6 am. Other than those hours it will be in violation.

Personal property placed in a public area for 24 hours or more shall be considered stored and subject to removal. In addition it cannot be temporarily moved and put back on a regular basis.

    Moving Personal Property to another location in a Public Area or returning Personal Property to the same block on a daily or regular basis shall not be considered to be removing the Personal Property from a Public Area. The City may remove and impound such Stored Personal Property after providing 24-hour written notice.

Both ordinances define that notification of personal property removal will be 24 hours rather than the present 72 hours. Personal items remaining after 24 hours will be removed to storage at a designated place for 90 days as they presently are.

This ordinance, amending subsections B and I of Section 63.44 of Chapter VI of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC), will restrict the possession of non-permitted bulky items and tents, and prohibit storage of personal property within the limits of any park, including a Park consisting of beaches and water recreation areas. All City parks will be affected, as will Venice Beach Park, which also includes Ocean Front Walk.

This ordinance, which repeals and replaces Section 56.11, Article 6, Chapter V of LAMC, will prohibit the storage of personal property in public areas.

Trees are County’s; Will Address in October

Beach Foliage

Trees belong to County. It is settled. Last week there was discussion as to whether the trees growing on the beach side of the jetty belonged to City or County. Carol Baker, division chief, community and marketing services for Department of Beaches and Harbors said she would look into it and get back to Update. This she did.

“The trees are in an area maintained by our Department and are the result of windblown seeds,” wrote Baker. “We’ve included them in the Marina’s tree inventory and will address them — likely by pruning or removal — when the bird-nesting season is over in October, and we have environmental clearance to proceed.

“If there’s an obvious nuisance-level issue that arises between now and the end of nesting season, we’ll address it.”