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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Baptist Church in Venice Might be Revisited for Historical Status


LA Times columnist Robin Abcarean, who happens to live in Venice, has a column on “The mansionization of a Black church in Venice.” She claims Councilman Mike Bonin has second thoughts about the “historical importance” of the church and might consider possibly revisiting its historical status.

LA Times article.

Parking Restrictions Relaxed Because of Coronavirus

Japanese American Memorial Monument Dedicated

By Darryl DuFay

Community members overflowed the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Blvd Thursday morning to celebrate the ten years of work that resulted in the dedication of the Japanese American Memorial Monument.

There were City Council, County Supervisors, Mayors, National Park Service, and Board of Public Works members or their representatives.   Speeches were given by members of the community and by city officials who helped with the monument as well as people who were in the interment camp who shared some  of their experiences.

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Phyllis Hayashibara at the podium.

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Recognition of the monument committee members.

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Surviving locals who were interned. Then and Now. Yosh Tomita passed away earlier in year.

Activists Protest the Tabor House Compound Renovation

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Protesters, Venice preservationists, and relatives of Irving Tabor family gathered in front of the  former home of Irving Tabor at 605-607 Westminster Ave Saturday to tell press and other members of the community that they were unhappy with the “redevelopment” occurring on the  property without a California coastal permit.

There were 33 individual permits instead of a redevelopment permit encompassing all the work, which would have required a coastal permit.  Many were also concerned about the historical preservation of the site.    The California Coastal Commission started investigating the project last week.  The following was handed out at the protest.

California Costal Act states: According to sections 13250 and 13253 of Title 14, Division 5.5 California Coastal Commission administrative Regulations, improvements to existing single-family residences or other structures that changes the intensity use of the structure requires a coastal development permit because they involve a risk of adverse environmental effect, adversely affect public access, or involve a change in use.

Irvin Tabor was the personal assistant and friend to Abbot Kinney, the founder of Venice. The plaque tells the story of Tabor and his house and was put there by a former owner. The property had six or eight bungalows and all were occupied by members of his family.

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The above picture is the back of the property. It shows one or two of the bungalows on the left and roof of another dwelling on the right.  A roofing contractor, who was on site, was amazed at the group gathering in the front.  He couldn’t understand the protest.  He said buildings were filled with termites. He noted that it was built in the 20’s.

Sue Kaplan in the video gives more of the history of the house and the neighborhood.

Robin Rudisill, who ran as a candidate for the CD11 council seat, explains that there were 33 separate permits instead of a permit to renovate  the whole project that would  have required a California Coastal development permit.

Answer to Housing Shortage?

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This young man seems to have taken over the historic gondola placed in Wndward Circle by the Venice Historical Society.

Hama Sushi Raises Funds for VJAMM

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Hama Sushi Restaurant, 213 Windward Avenue, has been instrumental in the fund raising for the Japanese American Memorial Maker (VJAMM). Their latest is a $20 Bento Box Lunch and all box lunch proceeds will go to the marker fund. Ten percent of evening meal will go to marker.

The roundup of Japanese Americans for displacement to Manzanar for incarceration took place at the northwest corner of Venice Blvd at Lincoln Blvd 72 years ago on 25 April. They were from Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu.

A memorial marking that site has been in the making for two years now and is nearing completion. The marker will be placed there “to remind us to remember our history and to be vigilant about our future.”

The marker is a black obelisk and will be placed at the northwest corner of Venice Blvd at Lincoln to commemorate where approximately 3000 Japanese Americans departed by bus for Manzanar War Relocation Authority Camp near Lone Pine, CA.

February 19, 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized U.S. Military to designate areas “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” That order began the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans from Washington, Oregon, and California. Although never charged with any crimes, these people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated during World War II.

They were allowed a small suitcase and the clothes on their backs. A complete Manzanar barracks is in the Japanese Museum in downtown Los Angeles along with other memorabilia.

Ryavec Addresses CCC About “Historic Preservation”

Mark Ryavec addressed the California Coastal Commission (CCC) about “Historic Preservation” Friday at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

He also addressed the commission members about obstacles at Venice Beach to the visitor-serving mandate of the Coastal Act. See story “Ryavec Speaks at CCC Regarding Venice Beach.”

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(Photo courtesy of Mark Ryavec.)

On the subject of historic preservation, I have some standing. I have restored my 1905 Islamo-Byzantine house, which was built by one of Abbot Kinney’s senior craftsman, and have remodeled the 1949 structure behind it in the same historic vernacular.

While I love the Craftsman and California Bungalow residences of Venice, there is now a pernicious move to lock in place only what exists today without acknowledging that many modernist structures have been built throughout Venice.

Over twenty years ago, I and Betsy Goldman of the Venice Historical Society and architect Michael King proposed adoption of a historic density bonus ordinance that would allow owners to expand the size of their structures, observe existing non-conforming setbacks and allow parking in sideyard setbacks if the historic vernacular of the face of the structure was maintained. In other words, we asked the City to entice owners to remodel in the Craftsman or Bungalow style by slightly relaxing then existing building codes. The result would have been larger Craftsman and Bungalow structures, while maintaining the visual look of Venice street scapes.

Councilwoman Galanter ignored our proposal and instead inserted the requirement that to receive a project permit under the Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan a project would have to meet the “mass, scale and character” of the neighborhood, without giving any definition of what those words mean. Thus, for over twenty years, owners have been bulldozing one story Bungalows and erecting three-story stucco boxes that max out the building envelop. Only in a few instances have projects been stopped by residents demanding that the Planning Department apply the mass, scale and character standard.

To now legislate that no one can replace a Craftsman or Bungalow structure would be grossly unfair, probably illegal and ignores that many of these hundred year old structures are about to fall apart – I know because I spent 25 years restoring one.

It is unclear if your commission has a role in this matter. It is the City that must commit the Planning Department staff to carefully and thoughtfully revisit the failings of the Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan to preserve these historic structures and to craft, sub-neighborhood by sub-neighborhood – with residents – amendments to the Specific Plan that invite owners to remodel these historic structures in the same vernacular and give owners incentives to do so while also limiting to some extent the building envelope to avoid mansionization. The result may be that in some sub-neighborhoods the residents choose to encourage the continued replacement of the Craftsman and Bungalow structures with modern ones, while other sub-neighborhoods may choose to ban modernist structures and mandate that remodeling and expansion of structures be carried out in the historic vernacular of that sub-neighborhood.