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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

LUPC Goes Zoom

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) will hear the 77-unit apartment building at 1600 – 1614 Venice Blvd (with 43 parking spaces) and the auto repair/retail complex at 2499 Lincoln Blvd via ZOOM as well as others at the first zoom meet, 7 to 10 pm Thursday 30 April.

Dear Venice Community,

As we start to implement Virtual and Telephone meetings for The Venice Neighborhood Council Board and its Committees going forward, the VNC is proud to announce its First Virtual Meeting, via the Zoom Platform, of the Land Use and Planning Committee this Thursday, April 30th from 7pm – 10pm.

To JOIN this meeting, Please Use This Link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86033143804?pwd=M01oNFZsKzY3QTVqNGlHQnk5czZrdz09

OR ZOOM US AT – MEETING ID: 860 3314 3804
PASSWORD: 157287

YOU CAN ALSO DIAL IN BY PHONE:
+1 (669)900-6833,, 86033143804#,, #, 157287#
+1 (346)248-7799,, 86033143804#,, #,157287#

Please click on Agenda Link:
https://www.venicenc.org/docs/34484744-8700.pdf

To submit public comment please use the “Raise Hand” feature on Zoom. If you are dialing in by phone, please enter #9 to raise your hand. Public comment is limited to 2 minutes per speaker, unless extended or reduced by Chair of the meeting.

Alternatively you may submit public comment via email in advance to:
Chair-LUPC@VeniceNC.org and LUPC@venicenc.org.
For troubleshooting during the meeting please email: LUPC@venicenc.org

We ask for your patience as we navigate this new territory amidst our new reality during the COVID-19 crisis and resume the important work of our Neighborhood Council.
Stay tuned for more information on our May VNC Board Meeting Announcement and for the individual Committee Meetings.

Stay Safe, Stay Home, Stay Healthy!

-Your VNC

Venice Neighborhood Council

Lincoln Apartments LUPC Meeting Results in Continuation for More Outreach

Note: Please note that the note inside the story has been added since the story was published.

By Angela McGregor

On February 20,The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) gathered for a special meeting at Westminster Elementary School to hear the application from Venice Community Housing and Safe Place for Youth for their joint, 40 unit residential project at the site of SPY’s current facility near the corner of Garfield and Lincoln.

The auditorium was full of both supporters (many wearing matching black and white t-shirts indicating their enthusiasm for affordable and permanent supportive housing) and detractors, many of whom live nearby.

The project as presented (seen here: https://www.vchcorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Lincoln-Apts-Overview-2.3.2020.pdf) requires several exemptions and waivers, including a 100 percent density bonus, a height increase of 22 feet over that allowed in the Venice Coastal Specific Plan (for a flat-roofed building), a waiver of the commercial loading space requirement and a waiver of any parking requirements (the project features six spaces for 40 residential units and about 20 employees as well as an unspecified number of on-site volunteers. Fifty percent of the development would be reserved for the chronically homeless and the remainder would be affordable housing for those earning between 30 and 60 percent of the median area income.

Public commentary in favor of the project cited the need for such housing, in particular for SPY’s clients who have aged out of foster care and have been left with few housing options. As part of her presentation, VCH Executive Director Becky Dennison stated that less that 1 percent(42) of the permanent supportive housing units in Los Angeles are located in Venice, with another 173 units funded and planned, totaling about 2% of all of the PSH units in Los Angeles, implying that Venice “is not doing it’s share.” As of 2008, according to Wikipedia, Venice has a population of 40,885 persons, or roughly 1.2% of L.A.’s overall population of 4 million people. According to Dennison’s presentation, 173 of the 544 supportive housing units being built in CD11 — 31% — are planned for Venice (CD11 has a population of about 267,000 people, of which Venice represents about 15%). These figures include the 185 units being planned for the VA Campus in Brentwood.

Note: According to the Venice Update, all CD11 PSH/affordable units with exception of the TSA 72-unit project on animal shelter are in Venice. One cannot count the VA campus as CD11. It is not part of CD11; it is federal land. Venice Update would like to know more about the 185 units planned for VA campus. Venice Update is aware of only 58 units, Building 207.

The overall theme of the comments in favor of the project stated that it would make the neighborhood safer by housing currently desperate youth and reflect the area’s inclusivity, diversity and generosity. Many of those in favor were board members and volunteers at either SPY or VCH and cited those organizations’ stellar track record with both empowering homeless youth and creating well-maintained projects. The project’s location on a major thoroughfare featuring a lot of public transportation was also cited in its favor.These figures include the 185 units being planned for the VA Campus in Brentwood.According to some speakers in opposition, as well as a handout provided by neighborhood activists opposed to the project, between January 2017 and February 2020 there were 30 crime-related incidents at Safe Place for Youth, including a recent episode involving someone carrying a weapon which resulted in the schools nearby — St. Marks and Coeur de Alene — being placed on lockdown. Further, complaints to SPY regarding the encampments that had sprung up in the alleyway behind their facility had been met with the contention that they were not SPY’s problem since the occupants did not meet SPY’s age criteria.

A number of parishioners of, parents of students at, as well as the pastor of, St. Marks School, asked for additional time to meet with the developers of the project in order to have their questions answered. Concern was expressed regarding the fact that, the four-story building would feature apartments looking down directly on the school’s playground. Other nearby residents were deeply concerned with the lack of parking, and pointed out that SPY’s staff were already using nearby residential streets in which to park.

The Board expressed general support for the concept of dense, affordable housing at that location. But they also had a number of questions, primarily regarding VCH’s outreach to the community. Dennison stated that outreach had begun in May of 2019 with an initial public meeting with over 100 residents, and that a few “small changes” were made as a result of input from the surrounding community after a number of subsequent meetings of various sizes. In response to a board member’s concerns with the cost of the project, she said that VCH was considering using modular housing to bring the per-unit cost of the development down — to $470K per unit from the city average for such projects of about $530K per unit.

Board members pointed out that there was a lot of concern (and some confusion) over the source of funding for the project. Dennison initially stated that the only secured source of funding were Proposition HHH funds. However LUPC Chair Alix Glucovsky pointed out that there is a record that VCH had applied for Proposition 2 funding (see: https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_2,_Use_Millionaire%27s_Tax_Revenue_for_Homelessness_Prevention_Housing_Bonds_Measure_(2018)) which, if approved, would mandate that the development provide housing for persons with severe mental illness (generally defined as psychosis or crippling depression). It has been published that Measure HHH funds are gone. Dennison stated that VCH houses mentally ill people “all the time” and that not abiding by the funding mandate of devoting a significant number of units to persons experiencing severe mental illness would constitute a “Fair Housing” violation.

Finally, Board members addressed the project’s lack of parking. It was established that residents cannot be restricted from purchasing vehicles, Coastal Commission approval of permit parking is unlikely, and that roughly 20 staff members currently work at that SPY location and will likely continue to do so once the residences are built. If, the project, as presented, features a small cafe, it would make the development’s lack of a loading zone problematic.

At the end of a long evening — the meeting took about three and half hours — the Board continued its decision to a future meeting and requested that representatives of Venice Community Housing meet with concerned project neighbors and St. Marks parents to answer questions and respond to the list of concerns brought up in public commentary as well as listed in the staff report for the project. Since City Planning is hearing the project on April 22nd, and the VNC’s next Board Meeting is March 17th, Alix Glucovsky stated that LUPC’s next meeting on the project will likely be on or around March 12th.

New LUPC to Meet Thursday, 25 July

(22 July 2019) The new board for the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC), chaired by Alix Gucovsky, will meet Thursday 7 pm at the Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Ave. LUPC meets the first and last Thursdays of each month.

For the agenda go to https://www.venicenc.org/docs/34484628-8261.pdf.

LUPC Wants City to Evaluate Other “Bridge Housing” Sites Before Selecting MTA Lot

The Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) will be making a motion to be presented to the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) this month that the City provide a feasibility study of certain other sites as well as consider the other sites mentioned for smaller enclaves, rather than one large site for the proposed “Bridge Housing.”

Jim Murez presented a power point Thursday night to an audience of about 15 people and the LUPC committee of several other sites for the “Bridge Home” as alternatives to the MTA site which was selected by the City without any discourse.

Some of the evaluation criteria used for selection was proximity to schools, proximity of entry level jobs, closeness to shopping etc.

First Murez evaluated the MTA site. “The site has a dining area that is totally open which would make people cold or hot depending on the day,” Murez said. No place for meal preparation and no loading area for trucks if food were to be delivered. Lack of parking, animal facilities, utilities. The site is close to a school and surrounded by residential.

One person brought up the fact that the area was close to the beach and that those who were addicted would be close to that environment. One person said “You don’t try to help someone stop drinking and put them next to a liquor store.”

The other places mentioned were the 5601 Manchester, which the LAPD uses infrequently; the City complex on Corinth, which is adjacent to a school; the City complex on Manchester; and someone mentioned the Daniel Freeman Hospital, which is vacant.

To most, the City complex at the corner of Lincoln and Manchester seemed to be the place that made the most sense based on the criteria.

Daffodil Tyminski made the point that why not have a site on all of these places, but just make them smaller, and “it would be nice to have one for just women,” she said.

Joe Clark asked how many in the room liked the MTA site. No one raised his hand. Joe felt the MTA site was the most suitable because of its proximity to the beach. He felt that people came to the beach to be at the beach and to not have the site locally was defeating the purpose.

The vote was 5 to 1 to have a different site other than the MTA lot. The motion will be presented 20 November to the Venice Neighborhood Committee.

Tesuque Market/Restaurant Plan Dominates VNC Meet

kim

By Angela McGregor

At roughly 8:30pm, the time at which, according to the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) agenda, the matter of 600 Mildred Street’s application for change of use from a retail market to a retail market and restaurant was scheduled to be heard, the auditorium at Westminster Elementary was suddenly flooded with dozens of supporters of the project. They joined the equally large number of Silver Triangle residents who had come to voice their dissent.

Board President Ira Koslow noted that this is the third time 600 Mildred (the former site of Kim’s Market) had come before the Board, and in each of the previous times their request for LUPC/VNC approval was denied.

In this case, the owners, Tezuke LLC, desire to convert their existing 904 square food market in the midst of a residential neighborhood to a “casual cafe” featuring 26 indoor and 18 outdoor (for a total of 44) seats serving food and alcoholic beverages from 7am to 10:30pm, with two auto parking spaces (they requested that LUPC’s provision that they provide valet parking in the evening be voided) and 8 spaces for bike parking.

Opponents of the project, most of whom live nearby, cited concerns about noise, trash and traffic from patrons, delivery services and suppliers. Proponents insisted that the location is and will continue to be a gathering place for locals who mainly arrive there by foot, bike, scooter or ride
share, and that it has proven to be a true neighborhood gem with an “old school” Venice vibe, much like the sorely missed Abbot’s Habit.

Transportation Committee Chair Jim Murez voted against the project, stating that he would first like to see a traffic study and effort to mitigate the already apparent safety issues at the corner of Mildred & Ocean before giving his approval. The final vote was close — 9-8-0 to approve.

In other VNC Board news, VNC Homeless Committee Chair Will Hawkins has resigned from the Board, leaving a vacant seat. In light of the recent elections to fill other, recently vacated seats, the application for this position is available on the VNC’s website now, but will not be voted on until the December meeting.
Speaking of VNC elections, the next one to replace the entire Board will be held on Sunday, June 2nd. Applications for that election will be accepted between February 17 – March 19th, 2019.

The next meeting of the VNC Board will be held on Tuesday, 20 November.

DuFay Says Rose Apartment Project Not Compatible with Community

rose

Top: South side. Far left. The gas station at Lincoln. 720 Rose is in the middle.
Bottom: North side. For comparison, Whole Foods is the wide building

Note: Darryl DuFay was the first chair of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC). This is a letter he wrote to the VNC board regarding 720 Rose Ave Project.

By Darryl DuFay

Venice faces another crisis brought about by a lack of openness and information. That crisis is the proposed project at 720 Rose Ave, which the VNC will consider on Monday, Sept. 17th., Agenda Item 10A.

There is a crisis of civility drowned in chaos. The chaos is so frequent and repetitive that it is disastrous to all business. Meetings that should be a place for asking and answering question did not happen. The community is again being placed in the dark. Documents lacked sensitivity to the effects of the project on the surrounding community. Proposals are made that fracture the Venice Specific Plan (VSP).

As to the project itself. 720 Rose Ave will cost $18,220,401. (Source for Development Costs: “HHH” Citizen’s Oversight Committee Report for February 2018. Table 1: HHH Project List – General Information, p.4, Table 2: HHH Project List – Development Costs, p. 5. Committee Chair: Miguel Santana.) It will have 35 units at $520,583 per unit.

Of special interest is the “Project Description” available from the VNC’s LUPC committee. Other than mentioning that the project is located in the “Venice Coastal Specific Plan” area there is no other reference to the VSP, which is the guide for construction in Venice. The entire section in the VSP on Oakwood where the project is located is missing.

The allowable height in Oakwood for this flat roof structure is twenty-five feet. It is proposed at forty-five feet. If “mechanicals” such as air conditioning on the roof are added it would be fifty-feet high, which would be a 100% increase. The height is not even mentioned in the “Project Description.” What you have instead is a vague, hidden, statement: Height Increase of 20’ 0” in lieu of that otherwise allowed by code.

The VSP clearly states that it is to be used to “regulate all development, including use, height, density, setback, buffer zone and other factors in order that it be compatible in character with the existing community and to provide for the consideration of aesthetics and scenic preservation and enhancement, and to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

If the VSP differs from provisions of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) regarding density, lot area, floor area ratio, height of buildings, parking, design standards, and other issues, the VSP shall supersede those other regulations.

720 Rose, as presented, is not compatible in character with the existing community.

Rose Ave Apartments Passes LUPC 7 to 2

LUPC

The controversial Rose Ave project passed the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Land Use and Planning Community (LUPC) 7 to 2 Tuesday night. Next step is the Venice Neighborhood Council meet, Monday, 17 September.

The Oakwood Recreation Center was standing room only as an emotionally charged crowd waited for their turn of 45 seconds to speak. Matt Royce, chair of LUPC, made the statement that it was the largest crowd he had ever had.

Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing (VCH), did a presentation with John Lonnel, consultant, assisting with questions.

Height and parking seemed to be the main objections to the project. Height for the project is 43 feet and the Venice Specific Plan calls for 25 to 30, depending on the roof structure. Parking is not in compliance with the Venice Specific Plan either. Parking provides for 15 places on site and seven on whole Foods parking lot based on an agreement with Whole Foods which is located across the street. There will be 2750 square feet of commercial and 35 apartments. Also there was some controversy over having/not having a loading zone. The four story building consists of three stories of residential and a ground floor of commercial.

Most of the comments consisted of “we need housing” and testimonies of how “housing changed my life.”

Both Jim Murez and John Reed members of the VNC board and former members of LUPC talked about the parking and height of the building as precedent setting features. John Reed, an architect, said that first of all the parking covenant states that it has to be signed by the owner of the property and Whole Foods is not the owner, nor was Safeway the owner. That would leave 15 spaces for 2750 square feet of commercial and 35 residential units. The video talks of side yard and front setbacks, no windows in front and more as well as the height and lack of parking.

VCH to Present Building Plans for New Office and 35 PSH Units to LUPC Tonight

Venice Community Housing (VCH) will present their plans for building a new office and 35 permanent supportive housing units at the Venice Neighborhood Council Land Use and Planning Committee 6:30 pm tonight (30 August)at the Oakwood Recreation Center.

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 8.18.53 AM

Venice Local Outreach Calendar for the Venice Local Coastal Program

By Darryl DuFay

2018 Outreach Calendar j

Sea Level Rise Workshop for Venice, 14 March

Department of City Planning’s Venice local coastal program team welcomes all to the Sea Level Rise workshop, 14 March, 7-9 pm at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

They ask that attendees RSVP.