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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Don’t Park Here

Tickets  j(Photo courtesy of Darryl DuFay)

By Darryl DuFay

FACTS FOR THOUGHT:

2012 – 2016   9 million parking tickets issued in the City of Los Angeles

No. 1 location:  24,293 tickets — Washington Blvd. @ Pacific Ave.  Area around the Venice Pier.

No. 4 location:  18,233 tickets — Windward Ave. @ Pacific Ave.  Area around Ocean Front Walk.

Note:  2015  $150 million collected in parking fines.

For other hot spots.

Moving Container on Wrong Street

Moving_edited-1

Moving container on wrong street. Should be on Princeton or Carter, not Thatcher.

No Place to Park–Skyhooks Needed!

R&CCar

By Ruth Lerner and Charles Quinn

So Oxford Triangle Venetians, not only is it impossible to park on our street , Stanford Ave, ( the spots are ALL taken by 9AM! ) but we now have a new problem to contend with. On Weds. morning when Charles couldn’t find a place to park he made the ‘mistake’ of parking in our driveway behind my car. We discovered shortly after when I went to get my car that he had been cited with a ticket for  $68 for parking on the sidewalk ! In fact he wasn’t blocking the sidewalk as can be seen from the photo

This is not only infuriating but now will only add to the parking congestion if it’s ‘illegal’ to piggy back park in one’s driveway and more residents have to find street parking! Clearly the problem is made worse by people from local businesses, especially the boxing place on the corner of Stanford and Washington , residents of The Jefferson, patrons of Brennan’s pub, employees of businesses on Lincoln and neighbors who have 4-6 cars and trucks that are all parking on Stanford!

What can we do about this situation which is only going to worse? Is permit parking really not an option? Finding a place to park near to ones’ home is starting to feel like New York City !

I want to purchase parking spot in front of my house …

by reta moser
I want to purchase the parking place in front of my house for $18K. I am ready to write the check.

It is my understanding that businesses and restaurants can grandfather and buy their parking way thru our City planning to the tune of $18K per space. It has gone too far. Doing such leaves customers, employers, and employees totally dependent on parking in front of residents’ homes. It is purchased parking. So I want to purchase the space in front of my house. At one hearing, I offered to do such and I was told it didn’t work that way. Why not?

This parking space “given” or “purchased” by businesses and restaurants means blatantly that businesses and restaurants can operate without parking and use mine. Some businesses and restaurants even rent out their parking and let their tenants, customers, employees find on-street parking, which is in front of my house.

Some businesses are zoned for “in-home” businesses and have twenty employees with no place to park. Apartment owners rent out their visitor and extra spaces, giving one space per apartment and leaving overflow for residential parking. All are examples of what I call illegal, but apparently it isn’t, and even if it were illegal, LA has no enforcement. They park in front of my house.

This is why I want to purchase the spot in front of my house. The price of $18K is doable and I am ready to write the check.

The system the City has now is inequitable and can never be mended once the heaven should bestow Venice with permit parking. What would happen to businesses, restaurants without residential parking? Customers forced to use a bike?

Councilman Mike Bonin, you want to get people out of their cars and on their bikes? Get the California Coastal Commission (CCC) to give us permit parking for residents. I know it requires an acceptable Land Use Plan. Get City Planning to stop this “buy your parking” space for $18K or let residents do such too. And 18K … we won’t mention that price.

Another way to look at it is to let me buy the spot in front of my house and rent it out. One restaurant in contention now requires 12 spaces, four will be grandfathered, and the rest the owner will buy. One of those phantom–purchased spaces will be in front of my house. Why can’t I buy the spot in front of my house and use it or rent it to the restaurateur?

They have petitions and protests for everything. Venetians, let’s unite and protest. I will be first to put my signature on this petition. Go for it Venetians.

Jane Honda Submitted Petition; What happened?

Judy Honda submitted a petition for restrictive parking and wonders what happened.

About a month or two ago, I submitted a petition to restrict large-vehicle overnight parking on McConnell Ave. between Short Avenue and Gilmore Ave. Signatures were obtained. At the time, I was told it was already being processed and we (neighbors) would see signs posted on our street, within a week or two. This has not happened.  Could someone please advise us of the current status of the petition? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

Comment
I would check with office that requested the petition.  Usually restrictive parking is obtained by signatures from those affected. You have done right by writing to Chuy. Usually, parking is handled by Department of Transportation.

BONIN PROPOSES SWEEPING PARKING REFORM PACKAGE

Building on Work of Parking Reform Working Group, Package of 7 Motions Seeks to Dramatically Improve Management and Fairness for Parking in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES, CA – Parking in Los Angeles could become smarter and more fair, thanks to a series of seven motions authored by Councilmember Mike Bonin and submitted to the Council today.

The package of motions, which builds on the work recently completed by the Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group (LAPRWG), seeks to dramatically change how parking is managed in Los Angeles, expanding programs that rely on performance-based pricing and reducing the number of street-sweeping tickets issued to Angelenos.

“Parking in Los Angeles is a uniquely universal frustration for residents in neighborhoods, customers shopping at local businesses and visitors experiencing Los Angeles for the first time,” said Bonin. “Far too often, people in Los Angeles feel like the price of parking tickets and the way they are issued is a symbol of a government that is on their backs instead of on their sides. We can do better and this series of motions will help reform the way we think about parking in LA.”

Bonin’s legislative package includes seven proposals from the LAPRWG, introduced separately so that each can advance through the legislative process as quickly as possible. The motions include efforts to:

Update the Five-Year Plan – Each year, the Department of Transportation is supposed to submit a “Five-Year Operations and Maintenance Plan” to the City Council that ensures there is adequate funding for maintenance, upgrades, technology, and repairs of parking structures, meters, and related parking assets. This has not been done for years, and Bonin’s first motion calls on LADOT to resume reporting to the City Council with annual plans that will help the Council reform and manage parking in LA.

“Code the Curb” – Bonin’s second motion takes the first steps toward completing an electronic inventory of all of the City’s parking assets. This inventory, also known as “Code the Curb,” will help the City move toward dynamic digital parking systems that can communicate with the public in real-time and replace the static parking regulations of today, such as curb paint and street signs. Digital parking systems are run with innovative technologies that enable mobile phone applications and signage to provide relevant information to people as they are parking. This has the potential to not only make parking simpler, but also much more convenient.

Ensure Fair Fines – Bonin’s third motion seeks to ensure that the City does not set parking fines higher in order to fund other city services. Rather, Bonin’s motion asks LADOT to report to the Council with information and data supporting the level of fines to ensure that they are only as high as necessary to get people to comply with parking rules. This is an important step in moving away from static fines and toward dynamic pricing, that makes parking cheaper when there is less demand on streets.

Expand Express Park – In 2012, the City began implementing performance-based priced parking through the LA Express Park program in downtown Los Angeles. This successful pilot program allows the price of parking to be set based on demand for parking, and has resulted in the average hourly rate for parking spaces downtown decreasing while revenue has increased because more people are using the parking spaces. Bonin’s motion seeks to expand LA Express Park to neighborhoods with high parking demand, including Venice, Hollywood and Expo/USC.

Coordinate Freight Parking – The fifth motion in Bonin’s Parking Reform Package asks for the Department of Transportation to look at ways to better coordinate parking for delivery vehicles. Especially as people in LA neighborhoods increasingly rely on e-commerce, the frequency of delivery trucks in neighborhoods affects parking availability. In order to allow and encourage e-commerce to continue to grow in LA, Bonin’s motion begins the process of coordinating with delivery companies to improve how delivery trucks park in neighborhoods.

Fund Local Parking Improvements – Currently, revenue generated by parking fines is deposited in a special account called the Special Parking Revenue Fund (SPRF). Bonin’s sixth motion proposes repealing the SPRF and instead creating a Parking and Access Enterprise Fund, which would allow the City to return parking meter money to the area where it was generated. Replacing the SPRF with a new Enterprise fund would help ensure that the City uses parking revenue to implement infrastructure improvements in neighborhoods where parking revenue is generated and which would be an important step in improving how the City manages parking supply and demand.

Use Technology Reduce Street Sweeping Tickets – Street sweeping tickets are one of the most frustrating parking tickets Angelenos receive. While it is important for people to move their cars so streets can be cleaned, receiving a ticket for parking on the street during the designated “street sweeping hours” but after the street sweeper has already passed makes no sense. Bonin’s final motion in his Parking Reform package asks for the City to look at using technology to help notify people of when they need to move their cars to allow a street to be swept, and when it is okay to park again. The motion also asks for the Department of Transportation and Bureau of Street Services to better coordinate, so street sweeping is not scheduled during peak parking times, such as during school drop-off hours.

Bonin’s legislation is the latest in a series of actions taken at City Hall to improve parking in LA neighborhoods. In June 2014, Mayor Eric Garcetti engaged a group of citywide stakeholders to discuss opportunities for the City to improve parking management. The Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group was subsequently formed with residents, transportation, and planning/land use industry experts. The members divided themselves into two subcommittees to focus on two broad areas of parking – Management & Administration and Policy & Strategy. Over the course of seven months, the LAPRWG reviewed and analyzed a wide variety of potential parking reforms. The LAPRWG released their comprehensive report and recommendations for consideration earlier in 2015, and Bonin heard a report from the group in the Council’s Transportation Committee. Bonin’s Parking Reform legislative package expands on and advances some of the proposals made by the LAPRWG.

“The Parking Reform Working Group did great work and we cannot let their recommendations sit on a shelf. We need to take it a step further so we can begin making some of their suggestions a reality,” said Bonin. “This package of legislation is about putting neighborhoods first and restoring some common sense to how we park in LA.”

The motions will be referred to the Transportation Committee, and will be considered early in 2016.

Proposed Senior Housing Area

parkers

Parking lot across from Killer Shrimp on Admiralty, proposed to be home for seniors, is usually empty except for overload conditions. This is one where movie group needed 175 places for couple of days.

3018 Neighborhood Outreach Has Few, But All Upset

3018 Wash

The proposed L’olio restaurant at 3018 Washington Blvd neighborhood outreach had few people to attend but those who did voiced their opinions regarding no parking. Two even mentioned that there would be vermin, fan noise, and smells.

The architect said that 12 spaces were required. Three spaces were grandfathered, two spaces would be compensated with 8 bicycles, and the other seven required spaces would be paid for at $18,000 per space. Discount was mentioned for bikers and walkers.

One resident said she would be happy to pay $18,000 to assure her a place to park in front of her house.

One fellow who owned three restaurants and lived adjacent to property said he would fight this.

Councilmember Bonin Proposes EIFD to Fund Venice Projects–Parking, Affordable Housing, Transportation

By David Graham-Caso, Communications Director for Councilmember Mike Bonin

Seeking to reverse a chronic lack of investment in parking, affordable housing and transportation infrastructure in the Venice area, Councilmember Mike Bonin is proposing to take advantage of a new state law that would allow a portion of property taxes from Venice to be spent only on Venice projects.

Bonin introduced a motion to the City Council this week that calls for the City to begin the process of creating an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD) in Venice.

Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts, which were created by a bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last year, allow for tax increments to finance specific public capital improvements in defined areas. The districts do not levy new taxes, but rather allow for needed improvements to be made by dedicating future tax increments to the projects.

“Venice is in dire need of more parking, improved transportation infrastructure, and a lot more affordable housing,” said Bonin. “An Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District could create a revenue stream to fund those long-neglected neighborhood priorities. And it could do it without raising taxes.”

In his motion, Bonin noted that Venice’s iconic status and international renown brings the impact of millions of visitors, but little of the benefit, because the sales tax goes to the general fund of the City of Los Angeles and does not specifically benefit Venice.

“Despite being one of the most-visited tourist attractions in all of Southern California, Venice has a chronic parking shortage, and the area has significantly less public or visitor parking than other coastal communities,” Bonin wrote. “Although the neighborhood is the soundstage for countless movies, television shows, and commercials, Venice Beach’s facilities are often dirty and unpleasant, lacking necessities such as a sufficient amount of public restrooms. While residents and local businesses suffer significant inconvenience from the large crowds that litter, make noise, and stress law enforcement resources, the City has failed to invest sufficient resources to preserve and protect public safety and quality of life. At the same time, the rapidly rising cost of land risks making affordable housing in Venice a relic of a previous decade.

“Venice deserves better, and Los Angeles can do better,” said Bonin.

Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District is a new tool, and has yet to be used in the state of California. Bonin’s colleague, Mitch O’Farrell, is also seeking to form an EIFD for the areas near the Los Angeles River. EIFD’s were a legislative effort to replace Community Redevelopment Areas, which the state recently abolished. Before an EIFD can be established, the City must create a process to form, certify and govern the districts.

Bonin’s motion is the latest in a series of actions he has taken to improve quality of life and public safety in Venice. Bonin has: been working with neighbors and business leaders in Venice to establish a Business Improvement District (BID); started to form a local collaborative to find housing and services for the local homeless population; urged more cops and more effective law enforcement strategies; increased the number of cleanups; hired People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to do outreach to the unhoused population; and sought to curb the impacts of court decisions that tie the city’s hands in Venice matters, like sidewalk cleanups and vending.

EIFD

259 Hampton Appeal Hearing Play by Play

259 Hampton
Sauce at 259 Hampton.

This project was approved by planning and was appealed by Ilana Marosi as an unfit project for Venice. Marosi did her homework, garnered a group of residents within 500 feet of project, added concerned residents of 320 Sunset and residents affected by 600 Mildred (Kim’s Market), and presented her case. She had crime statistics, alcohol licensing data, and photos of how store was operating as a restaurant with only an approved take-out use. She had maps showing social services within area and schools.

This is a classic case of how to win against the odds. Marosi’s appeal was upheld and decision was unanimous last week. And yes, we all know that even with the best of facts, laws with us, etc., we sometimes lose.

Venice Update does a “hats off” to this group of concerned citizens who took their precious time to make Venice a better, more lawful place. Roxanne Brown does a superb job of reporting this incident.

“HOW DID THEY APROVE THIS?”
By Roxanne Brown

OVERVIEW
Sauce inside
Operating as restaurant with tables inside.

Sauce patio
Operating with patio service.

Here is what I mean. 259 Hampton, currently called Sauce, has a permit for retail/take out, but has been operating as a sit down restaurant (with tables inside and outside on the sidewalk) for five years. Without going through Venice’s Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) and the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC), the city approved “change of use” to a restaurant with liquor license and roof top deck, even though it is a mere 15 feet from residents’ homes, on a block with churches, day care and a synagogue – and provides no parking.

Sitting behind me at the hearing, all together in a row, were Stephen Vitalich (architect for 259 Hampton, 320 Sunset’s Gjusta, and 600 Mildred’s Kim’s Market), Sam Marshall (architect for 259), and Fran Camaj (owner of Gjelina, GTA, Gjusta at 320 Sunset, and 1301 & 1305 Abbot Kinney).

Sitting near me in the front row were Ilana Marosi, the appellant, and Robin Rudisill, chair of Venice Land Use and Planning committee, along with residents owning properties and living within 500 feet of 259 Hampton. These residents say they were unaware of this project until Marosi informed them of the appeal. Members of Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset and Stop 600 Mildred (both similar problematic projects) were also in attendance.

EVENTS PRIOR TO HEARING
Group
Prior to 259’s appeal being heard, Chris Robertson, director of Land Use and Planning in Councilman Bonin’s office asked Marosi to step out of the hearing room and meet with representatives from City Planning, Kevin Jones (who replaced Greg Shoop), Zoning Department’s Theodore Irving, and 259’s architects, Stephen Vitalich and Sam Marshall. Two other people, not shown, were also there. It was a male and female who refused to give their names, but later identified themselves to me as the owners of 259 Hampton.

Marosi said she felt she was being coerced by this group of seven people as they attempted to convince her to delay the hearing, arguing that they had just discovered there were two different sets of plans approved for 259 Hampton.

Marosi declined delaying, as she thought the city already knew about the discrepancy in plans. After all, she knew, so how is it they didn’t? Marosi asked Robertson about this. Robertson reluctantly admitted that she had reached out to city planners eight days ago [to discuss the issue], but had heard nothing in response.

HEARING – COMMISIONERS and CITY DISCUSSION
There were four representatives from the city. In addition to Jones and Irving, Senior City Planner, Shanna Bonstin was there, along with Katherine Phelan, Deputy City Attorney.

The Appeal Hearing began with Jones from city planning stating, “…planning department recommends that you deny the appeal…sustain the determination.” Irving confirmed that this was also zoning’s stance. City planning and zoning urged the commission to delay the hearing for two weeks so that they could get the plans in order.

President of the Area Planning Commission, Thomas Donovan, said that since the appellant and residents had already waited [nearly four hours] to be heard, the commission would hear the case. Venice residents at the hearing welcomed his strong stand.

In addition to President Donovan, the Commission consisted of Commission Vice President, Joseph Halper, and three Commissioners: Esther Margulies, Marian Merritt, and Lisa Waltz Morocco.

Commissioner Morocco began with the fact that 259 Hampton is in a county tract allowing 2 on sale [alcohol licenses] plus 2 off sale (total of 4) and there are currently 12 on sale and 3 off site (total of 15). She further noted an LAPD report showed there were 539 crimes in the area – four times the citywide average. She had a copy of the LAPD’s letter (evidence provided by the appellant) stating that the LAPD wanted no more liquor licenses in the area. She asked, “How could the city approve this?”

Irving replied, “It’s a tourist attraction, not a typical neighborhood, being a destination place. This is why ZA [Zoning Administration] approved CUB [Conditional Permit – Beverage] and we still stand by that approval.” Here I must tell those of you who were not there, “tourist destination” was an answer oft repeated by Irving. If you’ve seen Saturday Night Live’s “cheeseburger, cheeseburger” skit, you get the idea.

Commissioner Margulies, who happens to be a resident of Venice, stated, “One person’s tourist attraction is another person’s neighborhood.” Margulies also asked, “How can you call for noise mitigation and then say it’s only required if it’s feasible?” The city’s response was convoluted.

Commission President Donovan asked why the CUB was for five years as opposed to the normal two years. Irving answered, “We don’t want to be punitive at this stage.”

APPEAL HEARING – APPLICANT
Vitalich was given the first opportunity to speak and stated that the, “Appeal should be denied as the planning department recommended.” Vitalich then said the wait had been so long that the applicant had left and the hearing should be delayed.

Vitalich began to present the project, when his colleague Sam Marshall walked up to the microphone, interrupted Vitalich and said, “The planning department, zoning department and council’s office took us outside, told us that this would be continued. As a result, the applicant has left along with a lot of people that were going to be here. We just want this on the record. We were told this was not going to be happening this evening.”

Irving looked at Commission President Donovan and said, “You already started this process. You’re more than welcome to continue it.” A bit later, Irving interjected that city planning and zoning do not have the authority to stop the hearing.

Vitalich went on to address noise mitigation, saying he had submitted a 12-page report done by an audio expert. Unfortunately, the commissioners hadn’t been given this report in their case review paperwork. Nor was it in the case files when Marosi twice reviewed them prior to the hearing.

Vitalich addressed parking by saying that the applicant was agreeable to valet parking and taking advantage of beach parking at the end of Rose Avenue, which is ½ mile away. Commission Vice President Halper said, “Excuse me, I don’t believe you legally can do that. I don’t believe the Coastal Commission would approve the use of beach parking.”

APPEAL HEARING – APPELLANT
Marosi addressed residents’ concerns. The retail/take out at 259 Hampton, Sauce, is already operating illegally as a restaurant. Concerns with change of use include: increased noise, traffic, congestion, lack of parking, near a beach access route, too close to residents’ homes, daycare, schools, synagogues, and over concentration of alcohol licenses.

APPEAL HEARING – RESIDENTS
It was now residents’ turn to speak and testify. Here are some highlights.

James McCullogh, a sound engineer who has worked with Katie Perry and a long list of celebrities, testified that even if 259 Hampton were enclosed (proposal is for open rooftop deck), residents would at best have a 50% increase in ambient noise level. He went on to say, “It’s hard to grasp the concept of good neighbor – what use are conditions (going to provide) when the applicant has been illegally operating for five years. This doesn’t give any substance to laws.”

Noel Gould, a recording engineer with an impressive resume,testified that sound gets out through windows and open doors, and it bounces around – it echoes, echoes, echoes. Plus, he said sound travels higher and wider at night due to the inversion layer and can also do so during the day with dense cloud cover. Gould testified that people for blocks around would be hearing the noise from 259 Hampton.

Gabriel Ruspini, a VNC LUPC member, speaking here as a concerned resident – pondered out loud, “How a private project could be approved when it encroached on the public right of away.” In plans/renderings, it seems the rooftop deck hangs over public right of way. Currently, 259’s restaurant tables on the sidewalk block public right of way.

Brad Looney, a surfer who manages 236 Hampton and was there to represent 12 units, testified that he is seeing waste being dumped down the alley between 259 Hampton and residential units along that alley. Since 259 doesn’t have a permit for restaurant, they also don’t have the required dumpsters and methods of disposal for toxic products. Every night Brad watches 259’s personnel pour liquid down the alley. “It runs down the gutter and into the ocean.”

Sarah Shoup stated, “Building and Safety knew 259 was operating illegally and didn’t enforce it. We can’t let 259 change of use happen, because the city can’t control conditions.”

Robin Rudisill, LUPC Chair, there as a concerned resident asked, “Why is city planning putting such projects forward? Why does the city reward illegal operations – no violations, no penalties?” She could not understand with 259’s open-air plan, serving alcohol at all hours, how could noise be mitigated?

Roxanne Brown I spoke and noted that on the CUB application, a copy of which I had in my hand, the question whether this project was within 1,000 feet of churches, synagogues, schools had been answered with a “NO.”

I then presented a map showing that the 200 block of Hampton contains two churches, a synagogue with pre-school/day care and St. Joseph’s Center, which provides daily religious services and day care. One church is 32 feet from 259 Hampton, Synagogue – 360 feet, St. Josephs – 265 feet and St. Clement Catholic Church – 515 feet.

Parking was a big subject. Elaine Spierer summed up the views of many, “These virtual parking places that are approved you know they’re like in the ozone. You can’t park virtually. And worse than that they never collect the money from these people. It’s just like a shell game.”

Amanda Borja spoke. She lives behind Gjusta at 320 Sunset with her toddler and husband. She spoke about how noisy having a bakery next door is – delivery trucks, cars, patrons talking. With that much noise from a bakery, how could the city consider a restaurant at 259 Hampton?

Borja went on to say, “This project in no way benefits the Venice Community. We have an overabundance [of restaurants serving alcohol]. Tourists – why do they hold more weight than the residents? This isn’t Universal Studios or Disneyland. It’s a beach. Alcohol benefits the business, not the community.”

Borja said she can’t get her stroller near 259 Hampton with so many people, skateboarders, bicyclists, pedestrians, and many vehicles, at this congested intersection of Rose and Hampton.

Ed and Diem Zobrist reside in San Francisco and were here for the hearing. They own a multi-unit property across the street from 259 Hampton, where their children live, along with other residents. Mr. Zobrist expressed his concerns about how narrow Hampton is, how little parking already exists, and people constantly doing U-Turns (the 200 block of Hampton ends and a one-way going the opposite direction begins at Marine). He said they already hear loud people coming and going [to and from restaurants serving alcohol] on Main Street – keep them on Main.

Mr. Zobrist also said to me, “I’ve heard of 6 months and a year for conditional use. Five years is ridiculous. That would mean the city and residents have five years to decide whether having alcohol at 259 is a nuisance – could be a five year nightmare.”

Lori Geller (she and her husband own a multi-unit property across from 259) noted how proud they are of their property and that her tenants are professionals who need sleep.

Geller went on to say, “Valet – that made my heart race. That’s all my tenants need – valets swinging around the block. Design an open aired building – this is insane – on a street with churches and synagogue and kids – that’s even more insane. To think that I’m standing here seven hours – if you walked on our street, you’d all be laughing. That’s how insane this project is. It cannot happen.”

Sergeant Robin Richards stated that the Los Angeles Police Department opposes the project, due to high concentration of alcohol in the area, and the impact it would have on the neighborhood.

APPLICANT AND APELLANT REBUTTALS
Vitalich’s closing remarks included, “If the [city] staff recommendations are to deny the appeal and the staff recommendations are all based on merit and evidence then I think the commission has a responsibility to be consistent with that.”

Marosi was then given the opportunity to speak. Venice Update captured her closing remarks in last week’s report.

COUNCILMAN BONIN’S OFFICE
The Commission asked Robertson to weigh in with Bonin’s recommendation. Robertson stated, “We’re not taking a position on this project at this time. We don’t have plans showing what was approved…so without adequate information, we’re uncomfortable.”

SENIOR CITY PLANNER
Prior to their decision, the Commission had more questions; one regarded having a handicapped parking space. Shanna Bonstin, Senior City Planner said she would “have a go” and stated that with zero parking available at 259 Hampton, a handicapped space is not required.

COMMISSION’S DECISION
The Commission’s President, Vice President and Commissioners then each stated reasons for their conclusions. In unanimous agreement, the Commission voted to uphold the appeal and deny the proposed project at 259 Hampton. Residents rejoiced in hearing the Commission’s voice of reason.

SUMMARY – Brown’s Opinion
All of the Area Planning Commissioners could decipher the information and make a decision based on the plans on file. Marosi was able to sort through the confusion and decipher the plans and information. [Note to the city: You may want to hire Marosi.]

Citizens throughout LA are experiencing what we experienced at this hearing. The city appears to favor moneyed special interests that flout the laws. The city seems to be greasing the wheels for them.

It appeared obvious that the applicants had been assured their project at 259 Hampton would go through. In my opinion, the city seems to be accepting lies on the CUB application, approving and providing conflicting plans, and playing a game of confusion – not to mention coercing the appellant.

Wouldn’t it be less costly in time, money, and energy if the city advocated for businesses that follow procedures (LUPC and VNC review), obey the laws and are considerate and respectful of their neighbors? We’re all for those businesses!