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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Planter Boxes Created Unbelievable “In and Out” Frenzy in Venice

(Photo courtesy of Matt Fisher.) Planters removed and placed on parking lot of Lincoln Hardware.)

Planter boxes were certainly the story of the week in Venice. Boxes were installed one day and removed the next. One had trouble keeping up with the news–the real news, not the spin. The council office was totally unresponsive.

It wasn’t until Adel Hagekhalil, director of the Bureau of Street Services, stopped all the nonsense and uncertainty by making a statement Thursday. He said that there would be no more planter boxes removed in Venice provided they are ADA compliant, were installed prior to February 2019, and the person responsible obtains a permit.

There was a moratorium on permits to allow planter boxes to be installed in Los Angeles but the moratorium expired February 2019. To obtain a permit is time consuming and costly but mostly time consuming and usually a permit is not allowed. The permitting agency was given time to fix the problem but the problem was never fixed by February when the moratorium expired.

It started Monday when 30 planters were installed on 4th Ave from Rose to apartments owned by Venice Community Housing at Sunset. Neighbors were elated about the end of drugs in front of their houses, elimination of noise at night, the smell of marijuana. They said that even those in wheelchairs would be able to get by. https://veniceupdate.com/2019/08/05/planters-installed-on-west-side-of-4th-ave-at-public-storage/

Next day the planters were cited for not having a permit and not complying with LAMC 56.08(e)1 but the planters did provide three feet on one side (ADA compliant) and two feet on the curb side. https://veniceupdate.com/2019/08/06/planters-on-4th-ave-cited-for-clearance-yet-there-is-36-inches/

Wednesday the 30 planters on 4th Ave were removed by Street Service workers.
Gary Harris, Chief inspector for Street Services and at the site, said the reason for the removal was “no permit.” He also stated no more would be removed in Venice and he later retracted that statement. https://veniceupdate.com/2019/08/07/planters-removed-by-street-services-wednesday-no-permit/

Matt Fisher, resident and advocate for the homeless, said he had told Street Services about all the planters installed in Venice. “I just gave them all locations and evidence of illegal installation by people like Ryavec, Staples, Lincoln hardware, Taylor Bazley, whole foods, VNC and everyone else,” he wrote. “I took them to numerous places like Lincoln hardware, post office, 4th, the boardwalk by the waterfront bar.” Fisher believes that installation on the sidewalk is illegal and that they are placed there to displace homeless.

Thursday planters on Palms at Lincoln Hardware and Staples were removed by neighbors, after being cited on Wednesday, and told they would be removed Thursday by Street Services for “obstructing the sidewalk… LAMC 56.08(e)1.” These planters were installed before February 2019. Owner of Lincoln Hardware had already submitted a permit application as of Friday.

The planter frenzy stopped when Hagekhalil made his statement





(Photo courtesy of Matt Fisher.)

Sidewalk from Hardware property line at fence shows more than 36 inches.

Sidewalk distance from planter to curb is more then two feet.

Curb-Fence shows boundary and shows sidewalk to fence asphalt fill in.

Head of Street Services Says No More Planters in Venice Will Be Removed Provided …

(8 August 2019) Adel Hagekhalil, director of the Bureau of Street Services, made the statement today that no more planters in Venice will be removed as long as they were installed prior to February 2019 and as long as they are ADA compliant. Nevertheless, the planters installed prior to February 2019 will still have to go through a permitting process.

Planters on Palms at Lincoln Hardware, Staples Removed by Department of Street Services

(Both photos courtesy of Matt Fisher.)

(8 August 2019) The metal planters were removed from Palms Ave on both the Lincoln Hardware sidewalk and the sidewalk across at Staples this morning by residents before the Department of Street Services would have removed them. They were cited for “obstructing the sidewalk.” Each planter box was cited and given “0” days to comply.

“Lincoln Hardware assumed responsibility and did the right thing and moved them themselves to avoid major fines,” according to Matt Fisher, local resident and advocate for the homeless.

Yesterday, the Chief Investigator said there would not be any more planters removed (in Venice was assumed). The reason 4th was removed was because it was not permitted. The moratorium allowing planters without permit expired in February.

Today, Lincoln Hardware planters were removed. They were installed in November of last year within the jurisdiction of the moratorium. Today Chief Inspector Gary Harris emailed that he didn’t say that there would be no more removals in Venice. And he said that the planters (on Palms) were removed by the person who placed them there.

Matt Fisher, who apparently is working with Department of Street Services, says “all boxes on concrete are illegal per 56.08, and for using them to displace homeless people is illegal per Martin vs. Boise decision.”

Boxes on 4th were not cited for being on concrete. They were cited for not having a permit. Martin vs the City of Boise had to do with an inadequate number of shelter beds. People on sidewalk cannot be cited if there are no shelter beds available.

Planters Removed by Street Services Wednesday — No Permit

City workers remove planters on 4th Ave.

(7 August 2017) City workers busily removed the 30 planters placed on 4th Ave Monday.

They were cited by Street Services Tuesday for not having a permit, according to Gary Harris, Chief Investigator of Bureau of Street Services.

Matthew Fisher, resident and homeless advocate, reported all these planters and all the other planters in Venice.

Harris said only the planters on 4th are being removed. The others fall under the moratorium for permits that was passed by City Council. The moratorium expired in February. The moratorium for permitting was passed so that Building and Safety could review and rework their permitting requirements for planters. A new system for permitting planters has not occurred and the moratorium expired in February.

Homeless had been sleeping on 4th Ave across from single-family residences. Many who were there Monday during the installation talked of the marijuana smoke, the loud talking and screaming after hours, and the general threat to their lives and property. One lady talked about the lack of ADA access and Venice Community Housing had a wheelchair tenant who could not pass.

This following statement by an anonymous resident rather summarizes the situation for the residents.

Prayers answered. FINALLY!! These planters are the best thing that has happened in the 5 years I have lived on this street. Finally I can come home at night and not feel threatened and deeply uncomfortable, finally I can sleep through the night without endless screaming and fighting directly outside my bedroom window, finally I can come out of my house in the morning and not find pee and poop in every corner of my front door and garage area.. I simply cannot understand why anyone except the people who were camping, fighting, taking drugs, stealing bikes, and using our street as a toilet would want these planters to be removed.

Please allow them to remain here, I beg you.

They are removing the earth, the plants, and the metal containers.

Planters on 4th Ave Cited for Clearance, Yet There is 36 Inches

(6 August 2019) Department of Sanitation, Street Services, cited the installation of planters on 4th Ave, Monday, at 1:40 pm for being in violation of LAMC 56.08(e)1.

Approximately 30 planters were installed on west side of 4th Ave Monday from Rose to the Venice Community Housing project, several hundred feet from Sunset.  Actually, planters paralleled Public Storage property.

Ordinance 56.08(e)1 states

(e) (Amended by Ord. No. 128,577, Eff. 11/14/64.)

1. No person having charge or control of any lot or premises, either as owner, lessee, tenant, builder, contractor, housemover, or otherwise, shall construct, deposit or maintain any structure, building, rock, brick, broken concrete, stepping stones, sprinkler heads or any obstacle of any nature whatsoever in or upon any street, sidewalk or parkway abutting on or adjacent to such lot or premises or which will interfere with the free passage of pedestrians or vehicles along such street, sidewalk or parkway.

We will recommend that all vegetation / obstructions be removed 1 to 3 ft. back from the curb face.

As measured by two LAPD police officers, the sidewalk to fence maintained more than 36 inches which is necessary for the Federal ADA clearance. The other side of the planters had approximately two feet.  Perhaps, inspector did not have proper measuring tools.

One lady who lived on street made the comment after installation of the planters that finally a wheelchair could get by.  She said she thought there were a couple of people in the VCH complex that required wheelchairs and they could not use 4th Ave on west side when homeless were residing there.

Planters Installed on West Side of 4th Ave at Public Storage

(5 August 2019) Approximately 30 metal planter boxes were installed today on west side of 4th Ave from Rose Ave, the length of all  the Public Storage buildings, to the Venice Community Housing apartments that go from Public Storage to Sunset Ave.

The Public Storage manager said he knew nothing about it.  He said maybe corporate did it but he would probably not be informed.    Police arrived and made sure that the planters provided adequate ADA spacing, which they did.  Whether the planters will be installed in front of the VCH apartment complex is not known at this time.

Neighbors were excited and gathered to talk about watering the plants, what to plant, etc.

One person said that Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing, called the police to try to stop the planter placement.

One woman who lived near by said that the VCH building had people with wheelchairs and they couldn’t pass because of the homeless camping out on the sidewalk on 4th Ave.

One woman was so happy.  She said she smelled the marijuana smoke, saw the drug dealers, heard the loud noises all day and night.

One lady stopped by to inquire if the planters were going to be put on 3rd.  The police said they had no idea.  When asked where she lived, she refused to say other than just “Venice.”

This story will reflect any additional facts as they become known.