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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

98-unit for Thatcher Yard to Start Second Quarter of 2021

Thomas Safran and Associates announced that they will start construction of the 98-unit project second quarter of 2021 after they move the “existing” vehicle gate  from Princeton to Thatcher.

The determination, paragraph 14. b. states that “the new vehicular gate shall be installed prior to the issuance of permits for excavation, grading, and site preparation for work proposed on the project site.”  It is pretty plain that it must be the “new” vehicular gate.  Also Princeton is 32 feet wide and Thatcher is 40 or 42 feet, curb to curb, and would certainly allow for car passage.

VA Building 207 Renovation Costs Per Unit $528K, not $900K

The Venice Update ran an article the last week of October where it was reported that the remodeling figures for Veteran Affairs building 207 were over $900K per unit. Figures were based on an LACurbed article. Unit figures were incorrect but valid until explained this week.

What occurred was an additional $24 million that the City Council approved was added to the cost. At first Blake Coddington, spokesman for Thomas Safran Associates, stated that the money was to be divided amongst the three buildings. He later said it was strictly for building 207, which brought the unit figure back to $900K per unit. The $900K figure held.

Today Blake Coddington says the $24 million represents a city approval for a private bank (also called a bond issuer) to lend up to $24 million of construction proceeds to the project. No public funds. The $17 million figure for construction is a part of the $24 million, not in addition to.

Coddington says the figures for the renovation of Building 207 are as follows:

8 M from City
5.7 M from County
17 M of construction loan (which is a portion of the $24M)
1 M of tax credit investor equity

Totals 31,700,000 for a unit cost (60 units) of 528,333

The following figures are from the Housing Community Investment Department of Los Angeles (HCIDLA) report dated 20 August 2019 for retrofitting building 207. The staff report figures shown for building 207 are dated 19 August. The cost figures out to be $522,786 per unit for 60 units (It is now 59 units for vets and one managerial unit.).

Venice Update still does not understand why the City of LA is funding this project if this land is the property of the US Government or why they are using Measure HHH money for refurbishing a building.

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

Proposed 98-Unit for Thatcher Yard to Go Before Planning, 21 October

The first of the three major housing projects for the homeless in Venice — the Thatcher Yard — will go before City Planning at noon, 21 October at the West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 South Corinth Ave, LA 90025.

The 2.11 acres, formerly a city maintenance yard, is to accommodate  98 units –68 senior and 30 family. The project is further characterized as 50 percent affordable, 25 percent homeless, and 25 percent permanent supportive. The permanent supportive is defined as homeless with a disability.

Further details of the project can be obtained here.

The project as described by City Planning is:
The Project consists of the removal of a vacant service yard and surface parking lot and the construction of a 101,771 square-foot, 98-unit (68 senior units and 30 family units) residential development comprised of one three-story structure
with one subterranean parking level and nine two-story structures with a maximum height of 40.5 feet (measured to the top of the clock tower); 82 parking spaces are provided in the subterranean parking level and all vehicle access is provided on Thatcher Avenue via Princeton Drive (to the northeast).

The Project provides affordable and supportive housing for senior citizens and formerly homeless families, with approximately 590 square feet of supportive services onsite. Approximately 45 non-protected trees will be removed from the site; no street trees will be removed. The Project includes the removal (relocation) of a vehicular gate on Princeton Drive and construction of a new vehicular gate and paving on Thatcher Avenue, adjacent to the northeast corner of the project site; vehicle access is limited to emergency vehicles. The project would require export of 4,800 cubic yards of soil and removal of 2,400 cubic yards of asphalt.

Thomas Safran Associates (TSA), builder of the project, requests the following:

1. The City Planning Commission shall consider pursuant to California Public Resources Code Section 21155, consideration of the whole of the administrative record, including the Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment (SCEA) prepared for the project, Case No. ENV-2018-5594-SCEA, all comments received regarding the SCEA, the imposition of mitigation measures and the Mitigation Monitoring Program prepared for the SCEA;

2. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) Section 12.20.2, a Coastal Development Permit for the proposed Project in the Single Permit Jurisdiction of the California Coastal Zone; Initial HN (Non-Commission) –rev. 03/27/19 Page 2

3. Pursuant to LAMC Section 12.22-A,25, a Density Bonus for a housing development project comprised of 98 dwelling units, of which 10 units will be set aside for Very Low Income Households and requesting the following incentives
and waivers of development standards:

a. An on-menu incentive to allow a maximum height of 40 feet 6 inches, in lieu of the otherwise permitted 30 feet pursuant to LAMC Section 12.21.1-A, and
b. An off-menu waiver to allow space between buildings – passageways of 8 feet in lieu of the 10 feet and 20 feet otherwise required pursuant to LAMC Section 12.21-C,2;

4. Pursuant to LAMC Section 12.24-U,21, a Conditional Use Permit to permit a joint public and private development with uses more intensive than those permitted in the most restrictive adjoining zone (R1-1);

5. Pursuant to LAMC Section 16.05, a Site Plan Review for a project which creates or results in an increase of 50 or more dwelling units;

6. Pursuant to LAMC Section 12.37-I,3, a Waiver of Dedication and/or Improvements to waive the requirement to widen an additional 15 feet along Oxford Avenue;

7. Pursuant to LAMC Section 11.5.7, a Project Permit Compliance Review for a project within the Oxford Triangle Subarea of the Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan.

8. Pursuant to Sections 65590 and 65590.1 of the California Government Code and the City of Los Angeles Interim Mello Act Compliance Administrative Procedures, a Mello Act Compliance review for construction of 98 new Residential Units within the Coastal Zone

LUPC Approves Oxford Triangle 98-Unit Affordable/Homeless/PSH Project

The Thomas Safran 98-unit affordable/homeless/psh project scheduled for the Oxford Triangle sailed through the Land Use and Planning Committee with Chairman Matt Royce making the statement to the neighbors and the builder that LUPC wished all “communities and builders could work together as well as these have done.” The vote was 4 to 2.

There were three conditions of approval:

The building of the property is to be contingent on obtaining and installing road blockage at Thatcher prior to any work on the property, including demolition. The haul route for pavement and soil removal, the ingress and egress for the construction work, and the parking for the construction workers, all need to take place on the project-side of the road barrier and not in or through the neighborhood, and if the City does not approve the haul route on Princeton, the project can not go forward.

The developer shall work with Harbor Crossing to make the Harbor Crossing exit into an entrance/exit.

The developer shall maintain the street surface during demolition and construction, shall restore the street surface after the removal of the pavement and soil, and shall restore the street surface after completion of construction

The following entitlements from the contractor were approved:

First of Affordable/Homeless/PSH Housing to Go Before LUPC, 2 May

The 98-unit affordable/homeless/permanent supportive housing project at the formerly City Yard on Thatcher Ave in the Oxford Triangle will be reviewed by the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC), Thursday, 2 May, 6:45 at Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Ave.

Safran Explains Building for Thatcher Yard to Oxford Triangle Residents

Residents of the Oxford Triangle assembled Saturday morning to hear representatives of Thomas Safran Associates explain what they plan to put on the old Thatcher Maintenance Yard.

The property, which was to be rezoned RD1.5, makes use of two 35 percent bonuses.

Safran’s plan is to put 98 affordable units on the property, 68 will be for seniors and 30 for families. Half of the 98 units will be for formerly homeless individuals and half of that half will be for permanent supportive housing. The affordable units will be for low and extremely low incomes. Permanent supportive housing is for people who have been homeless and have a disability, such as a physical disability, reliance on drugs or alcohol.

Next step is to go thru the land use and planning committee (LUPC) of the Venice Neighborhood Council.