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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Lincoln Apartments Approved Unanimously by City Planning Commission

Lincoln Apartments, a 40-unit project proposed by Venice Community Housing (VCH) and Safe Place for Youth (SPY), passed the City Planning Commission unanimously 28 May.

City Planning to Hear Lincoln Apartments 28 May at 8:30 AM

The City Planning Commission will hear Lincoln Apartments Thursday, May 28,  at 8:30 am. The Commission will hear public testimony and will be the final vote on the project.

“There are over 1,000 opposition letters from Venice residents and stakeholders! ” according to Venice Neighbors blog.  “The City Planning Commission report ignores this fact and states there are only 300 opposition letters.  They are also recommending that the commission approve the project, while ignoring the documented safety issues our neighborhood has had with Safe Place for Youth and Venice Community Housing. ”

Agenda: https://planning.lacity.org/dcpapi/meetings/document/66829, Number 9 on the agenda.

IF YOU WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MEETING AND OFFER PUBLIC COMMENT, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS.  Only members of the public who wish to offer public comment to the City Planning Commission should call 1 (669) 900- 6833 and use Meeting ID No. 965 8745 5027 and then press #. Press # again when prompted for participant ID. 
We assume they will give instructions at the beginning of the meeting about how to raise your hand and how much time people will have to speak.  They have not released those details ahead of time.
Crime Report: 2 more people on Garfield Avenue had their cars broken into last week – one person had their car broken into twice within a week.

VCHC Goes Directly to Planning with Lincoln Apartments, Leaps Past Neighborhood, LUPC, and VNC Approvals

Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC) leaps past Venice neighborhood critiques, and both the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) and the VNC approvals, according to Fight Back Venice, a neighborhood group opposed to the project as presently presented.

Many times a project is already set for a planning hearing so the planning director, if they hear the project, will normally say subject to approval by the VNC. The project is on the agenda to be heard by LUPC 14 May, and normally, will be heard by the VNC at the next scheduled meet, which would be 18 May.

At the last meet of the LUPC, LUPC directed the VCHC to work with the community and do more outreach. The community showed a large amount of disapproval for the project and LUPC, instead of voting it down, asked that VCHC take the project before the neighbors and try to work out some of the problems. Now according to Fight Back Venice, the project is using the Corona Virus to secure approval from the City Planning Commission without further outreach, without approval from LUPC, without approval from VNC.

The City Planning Commission is meeting to vote on the Project in a strictly virtual meeting on May 28. Information regarding the meeting is available here: https://planning.lacity.org/dcpapi/meetings/document/66666

Fight Back Venice says “since Venice has no friendly representation whatsoever at City Hall, we need to get as many emails on file opposing the Project as we possibly can by Friday, 15 May.

“Our goal is 1,000 emails, so please, take 10 seconds to send the one-click email yourself and rally as many friends and family members as you possibly can to do the same by taking 3 more seconds to forward this email to them.”

A short video about VCHC’s Lincoln Apartments Project is available here: https://www.fightbackvenice.org/

Triangle Residents Discover Oil at Thatcher Yard … or Maybe

Most people would be elated to find out there was an oil well in their backyard.  Not so for the Oxford Triangle residents, the Thatcher Yard project in particular.

It was brought out in the first City Planning meeting for the 98-unit Thatcher Yard project 21 October that an abandoned oil well may be on the 2.11-acre site at the end of Thatcher Ave.  Whether it is there or not, does not matter at this point.  All feel the question of its possible presence must be determined one way or the other prior to the project going thru.

No one seemed to have any complaints regarding the project other than the oil. One person asked about the timing for the Thatcher gate installation. It was brought up by the City Planner Juliet Oh that a condition could be put on the project so that the proposed road gate on Thatcher at Princeton (west of Thatcher) be installed prior to all demolition and construction traffic. Other than that there were only comments regarding the oil well.

Those present for the hearing.

Another City Planning meeting will be held 21 November at Van Nuys City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, 14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys 91401. No specific time of day is stated. City Planner Juliet Oh said the meeting begins at 8:30 am, so items are noticed as being heard “after 8:30 am.”

Diane and Carl Hoppe somehow were instigators of the possibility of this capped oil well being on the Thatcher Yard property.   Dr. Tom Williams, senior technical advisor for Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community and Patricia McPherson, environmentalist and familiar with the oil projects that have had devastating  consequences both spoke on the necessity to check this out. The City, as explained by a consultant for the Thomas Safran Association had no knowledge of the well based on their various methods for tracking wells.

The Thomas Safran Associates representatives totally agreed that this would have to be checked.

Earlier this year there was a well blowout on a construction site near Via Marina.

Dr. Tom Williams explained that a “magnetometer was required to find the metal 18-inch capped well.  The cap must be removed by a crew from health and safety.  They must drill thru the cement 600 feet deep and remove all of whatever is in there.  Then it must be re-capped with concrete.  He said the City feels it will cost $500,000 to $2 million dollars.” 

Technically, Dr. Williams explained it as such:

The “Core Hole” (also corehole) is recognized by DOGGR/DOC as Well API# 0403705612 drilled to 6000+ft depth and with a steel casing of 18+in diam and 905ft depth.

May we please call it an “oil well”.

The Casing was set in place with 300 sacks of cement and backfilled with drilling mud to near surface.  The casing was capped by a steel plate.

With almost 100 years, the mud should be assumed to have settled and without any cementing. As such it would NOT conform with current DOGGR plugging and abandonment requirements.

Without mention of any communications with DOC/DOGGR, the reports to date must be considered as preliminary and require DOGGR review and considerations.

Although, currently, the project appears to be moving forward the absence of DOGGR review and recommendations appear critical to the timing and funding of the Project.

Check out the DOGGR requirements:
California Department of Conservation    Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources   APRIL 2019 Article 4.  Regulation of Operations

City Planning Needs Your Input

(20 September 2019) City Planning  will be hosting working groups for the Local Coastal Program update, 22 and 23 October, 4 to 7 pm at the Abbot Kinney Memorial Library, 501 Venice Blvd.

“We welcome your feedback on commercial corridors in your community,” wrote the invitation.  “We will review existing conditions and collaboratively work on opportunities to improve these areas in the Venice community.”

RSVP here.

Community Plan Workshop, Wednesday

Commercial Renovation on Lincoln Tentatively Set for June City Planning Hearing

Plans for the proposed renovation of the commercial property, originally built for a Ford dealership, on the west side of Lincoln Blvd between Venice and Washington Blvd at 2485 to 2499 Lincoln is tentatively set  to go before City Planning in June.

The project has not gone thru the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) nor the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) and because of the June VNC election,  City Planning may hear the project first.

The lot is 27,845 square feet and consists of three buildings totaling over 11,000 square feet.

DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners is renovating the existing three buildings and providing onsite parking  without adding square footage or height.  The developer and the representative say that the renovation would make buildings suitable for a restaurant, a coffee shop, a fitness center, an office.  Usage is not determined.

There will be 44 parking spaces with a full-time valet. The north residential lot behind the commercial will also be used for parking. Vehicle entrance would be off Lincoln and off Van Buren to a one-way alley exiting on Garfield.  The architect is Rios Clementi Hale.

Joel Jacinto of Public Works Resigns Amid FBI Probe

By Preserve LA

Joel Jacinto, a member of the powerful Los Angeles Board of Public Works which oversees major infrastructure and environmental decisions for Mayor Eric Garcetti, abruptly resigned Friday amidst a growing corruption probe by the FBI of possible bribery, kickbacks and extortion by City Council members and top aides to Garcetti involved in land development in Los Angeles.

“We have been urging Mayor Garcetti since 2016 to address what we believe is a tainted, pay-to-play culture within the City Council and among the mayor’s appointees,” said Coalition to Preserve LA Executive Director Jill Stewart. “We warned him that the vote-selling that scandalized Los Angeles City Hall in 1966 was going to raise its ugly head again.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Jacinto was in regular contact with former Deputy Mayor Ray Chan, another Garcetti appointee who attended closed-door meetings with real estate developers. The pugnacious Chan has publicly stated that in Los Angeles “the developer is our customer.”

Jacinto and his wife Ave Jacinto are among 13 city officials and mayoral appointees named in an FBI warrant that was revealed on Twitter last Saturday by Georgetown University researcher Seamus Hughes.

The corruption probe has left the City Council’s powerful land-use committee, known as “PLUM,” in disarray, with its chairman Jose Huizar stripped of his powers in November after an FBI raid on his home. Yet another seat was empty at the Tuesday Jan. 15 PLUM meeting when City Councilman Curren Price, also named in the FBI warrant, failed to appear.

At the Tuesday meeting, members of PLUM bristled at extensive criticism lobbed at them. City Councilmember Gil Cedillo accused community groups and non-profits of creating a “Day of the Locust” atmosphere of “hysteria” in reaction to the FBI probe.

PLUM approved the disputed three-tower skyscraper “Crossroads” that will generate 1423,00 vehicle miles per day and raze a vibrant historic Latino community in Hollywood, replacing it with rooftop pools, 35-story buildings, massive supergraphics and 22 liquor licenses. Hollywood City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who has taken money from developers, Harridge and Mort La Kretz, insists the mega-development is a great idea and even “sustainable.”

The project was first approved by Mayor Garcetti’s political appointees on the City Planning Commission, who in racially tinged comments dismissed the tight-knit community that will be destroyed by the skyscrapers as “not worth preserving” and even “dormant.”

Stewart added, “Garcetti needs to stop saying he has ‘no tolerance’ for corruption and crack down on the river of developer money and lobbying wining and dining flowing to City Hall figures who help developers break the rules — and perhaps break the law.”

Appeal of 718 – 720 Rose to be Heard by Planning Commission in Van Nuys, 24 January

City Planning Commission will hear appeal of 718 – 720 Rose 24 January at 8:30 am at the Van Nuys Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, 14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys, 91401.

Appellants are John Reed, Jim Murez, and Marie Hammond.

1. The appeal is to appeal the Advisory Agency’s approval of a Tentative Tract Map for a merger and re-subdivision of Block A, Lots 5 and 6 of Tract 4372 including land previously quitclaim/deeded to the City for future street purposes, and of the Categorical Exemption pursuant to CEQA Guidelines, Section 15332 (Class 32):

2. A Conditional Use for a Housing Development Project with a density bonus in excess of that permitted.

3. A 35 percent density bonus (with 10 percent affordable rental special needs projects with unobstructed access and/or paratransit service) with parking provided pursuant to AB744, and pursuant to three Off-Menu Waivers as follows:

a. Height increase of 18 feet, 8 inches for a total of 43 feet, eight inches in lieu of permitted 25 feet.
b. Waiver of the stepback provisions of the Venice Coastal Specific Plan and associated with the increased height and
c. waiver of loading space requirements.

4. Project permit compliance for a project within the Venice Coastal Specific Plan

5. A coastal development permit for a project within the single permit jurisdiction of the California Coastal Zone and

6. A Mello Act Compliance Review for a project in the California Coastal Zone.

Address all comments and questions to Oliver Netburn, City Planner, 200 North Spring Street, Room 763, Los Angeles, CA 90012 or Oliver.Netburn@lacity.org; 213-978-1382.

Input for Local Coastal Program (LCP) 6 December

Venice Local Coastal Program (LCP) planning team will take your input 6 December, 2 to 8 pm at the Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Ave.