web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

City to Pre-qualify Builders for Affordable/Homeless Housing

Rumors and statements abound in Venice regarding the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median parking lot between Dell and Pacific, properties that Councilman Mike Bonin identified for affordable housing and homeless housing, respectively.

The latest is that builders are being pre-qualified for these properties and there have been no public hearings. The council office was queried of such action. Debbie Dyner-Harris, district director for Councilman Mike Bonin, issued the following statement clarifying the procedure.

The City Administrative Officer (CAO) has identified eight potential development sites throughout the City (including Thatcher Yard and the Dell/Pacific parking lots). Rather than issue eight separate Request for Proposals (RFP) for those lots, the idea is to pre-qualify developers who would be qualified to do work in the City. Once we get them and see their visions for any of the sites, we’ll try to do a match up, kind of like setting up blind dates. If someone has a vision for a property that matches what we may want to do in Venice, then they would be assigned to Venice.

We’d then start the community meeting and input process, trying to match everyone’s vision for what makes sense at each site. If we can’t make a match, then we can find another blind date.

I can imagine this may not be a simple process for some, but it actually greatly simplifies it for the City. The thought of eight RFP with who knows how many bidders for each site, I think, was just too much for the CAO office.

I hope this clears it a bit.

Former City Yard Employee Talks of Yard, Neighborhood



By A Former Yard Employee

I have been following the news about the future of the city yard in Update for many years and I want to thank you for that.

When I left, I realized the writing was on the wall, and even though we had been promised new facilities, it wouldn’t happen  before I retired.

I think I can speak for those of us who provided services to that area for better than twenty years as a crew.

We were not just any crew who came to work and went home at the end of the day. We felt like we were part of the community.

We established relationships with our neighbors and worked hard to keep our little part of the city clean and presentable. I will always remember the trailer park and the garbage trucks.

I remember when you could still get to the yard right off of Lincoln without going to Washington.

I remember when developers wanted to build homes on the property.

It now breaks my heart to hear that there are some who believe  there is a cure to the homeless problem in Venice by utilizing this land to cure the situation.

I feel sorry for the people who live in the area who will see their home values tank and the crime rate soar should this happen.

We may be gone, but it does not mean that we didn’t leave a piece of ourselves behind when we left.

We have more knowledge and memories of the Venice area than most who reside there in those big high rise buildings.

I miss the way it used to be and I am sure that you do too.May you triumph over big government and big money.

Here’s to common sense along with a prayer that it will prevail.



“OUCH” Says It All!

This is one of the last interior walls to the City Maintenance Yard on Thatcher Ave to be demolished. Only fitting it should say “ouch.”

The yard, which has been here since Venice was Venice, became part of LA in 1920 and continued to serve the community of Venice. One part housed Street Services and the front part housed Sanitation workers. Sanitation part was condemned because of asbestos and lead paint several years ago. Street services had all its buildings removed and operated out of metal haul-on building for years.

Because the Sanitation part was vacated, homeless started using it as a place to crash. Plagued by calls from Triangle residents and tenants of Mirabella and Jefferson Marina, regarding the homeless, the Bureau of Sanitation decided along with the Bureau of Street Services to comply with the complaints and demolish the complete structure and the cement-block fence. A wrought iron fence will be installed to secure the area.

Whether Street Services or Sanitation decides to rebuild is unknown at this time. Former Councilman Bill Rosendahl was always concerned about the yard, because as he said there was so little land available on the westside to service the area, particularly in case of a disaster, that he felt it a necessity to hold on to it.

The Oxford Triangle Specific Plan indicates the property should be rezoned single-family if and when the City should no longer need the property.

“I remember when they had the last earthquake, yard supervisor Paul Hughes had his men out on the streets immediately,” said local resident Reta Moser. “I remember when the commercial block on Carter, Princeton, Thatcher caught on fire and burned and the streets were a disaster because of debris from the fire trucks, the buildings, etc, Paul Hughes was there before the light of day. When you can’t get out of your garage and along comes a street thing to remove debris, one feels a sense of community. He used to keep the alleys clean too. We all miss that service and security.”

Two More Triangle Residents Speak Out About Thatcher Yard – Keep Yard for City Use or Build R-1 Homes


Note: Both Judy Wyuda and Steve Freedman are 40-year Triangle residents and worked on the Oxford Triangle Neighborhood Study

By Judy Wyuda and Steve Freedman
The City owned Thatcher Yard was operated in the heart of the Oxford Triangle for decades, since well before most of our homes were built. The City was a good neighbor. Workers at the Yard were always very respectful of our residential streets and neighborhood. Even at full capacity, the Yard was only open about 50 hours per week. It was closed every night, weekends, and holidays. No new neighbor would be locked and silent for all but a standard workday business week.

In 1988 the Oxford Triangle residents worked on the Oxford Triangle Neighborhood Study as part of the Venice Neighborhood Study Presentation Workshop. The studies were sponsored by the Council Office and City Planning and gave the community an opportunity to contribute to Development Standards and the Local Coastal Program for Venice. The Oxford Triangle Neighborhood Study was completed and presented on November 5, 1988. In Section 1, on Page 10, Item 16 which concerns the City Owned Lots, the Study states under Zoning preferences that ‘The City Maintenance Yard and other City owned lots must remain R1’ if the City decided to abandon operations at the site.

In 2010, the City of Los Angeles held a series of public meetings to advise the community of its plans for the Thatcher Yard and take public input. The goal was to demolish the existing structures and replace them with new structures which would allow the City to resume maintenance operations from the site. It was our understanding that those plans were postponed for financial reasons.

If the City doesn’t plan to resume operations at that location in the near future, we believe that it should keep Thatcher Yard for future maintenance use for several reasons. Given Westside property values, it’s very unlikely that the City could ever acquire additional Westside property and if it could, it’s also unlikely that it could get such property rezoned for maintenance purposes. The City will always need to perform all categories of maintenance in all areas of the City. As such, it’s important that it retain all property already zoned for such use.

If the City is determined to never use that site again, there are other important considerations. Because Thatcher Yard is so close to Marina del Rey, it is very valuable property. But the proposal that it should be sold and redeveloped at this time because it’s too valuable to keep makes little sense as land this close to the water will certainly continue to increase in value. It would be shortsighted to sell it now for housing purposes.

The industrial property at the south end of the Oxford Triangle was rezoned C4-OX-2D in the 1980s to allow high-density residential development. About 1800 units of condominiums and apartments in 6 such developments have been built on that property since that time. As a result, the density in the Oxford Triangle has increased times 5.

If the City truly chooses to abandon the Thatcher Yard permanently, the Oxford Triangle residents, as stated in the 1988 Neighborhood Study, want the yard to be zoned R1 and redeveloped with single-family homes that are compatible with the existing scale and character of the Oxford Triangle R1 neighborhood to buffer us from the dense development to the south.

Architect Says Oxford Triangle Specific Plan at Risk


Note: Dan Whalen is an architect, 30-year resident of Oxford Triangle,
and worked on the creation of the Oxford Triangle Specific Plan.

By Dan Whalen
The City of LA is in the process of demolishing the maintenance yard
structures located at the end of Thatcher Avenue. I’m advocating that the
city keep this land for future municipal needs or zone it for
single-family homes, consistent with the rest of the neighborhood.

Recently, however, a proposal for an artists’ residential colony was
circulated. The problem with any housing development is that it will
generate lots of unwanted traffic on our narrow residential streets, since
this property is landlocked within our single-family neighborhood.

The “artist’s colony” proposal was circulated by real estate broker, Sandy
Bleifer, and a Minneapolis-based developer. This project will certainly be
a multi-story complex with several hundred units, similar in size to the
Jefferson or Mirabella apartment complexes, but without the direct access
to Lincoln Boulevard.

For over 20 years, the Oxford Triangle Specific Plan has provided our
single-family neighborhood with protection from the traffic associated with
more densely zoned properties located at the southern portion of the Oxford
Triangle. Let’s not sacrifice our quality of life with a
multi-story/high-density project located in the heart of our single-family

Last of Street Services Equipment Leaves Yard


Last of the Bureau of Street Services equipment leaves the City Maintenance Yard on Thatcher. The plan is to tear down the abandoned Street Services/Sanitation yard and put up a wrougt-iron fence around the property.

Thatcher Yard Demo Reschedule and Graffiti Handled


City Maintenance Yard at Thatcher and Princeton has had demolition rescheduled for late February. Originally, set for December, a coastal permit reschedule it to January.

Yard got graffitied on Princeton and Thatcher this past weekend. Neighbors covered the walls on Princeton. Department of Sanitation will be taking care of the walls on Thatcher.

Meanwhile the local fire department uses the yard for practice.

Yard Demolition Slipped to January


The City Maintenance Yard at Thatcher and Princeton will have demolition starting in January instead of December, according to Debbie Dyner-Harris, District Director for Councilman Mike Bonin.

“Due to the fact that the California Coastal Commission has denied our emergency permit request that would have allowed us to begin demolition in December, the City will have to wait until the first or second week of January to begin the work,” wrote Dyner-Harris. “Hopefully there will be no more delays.”

Thatcher Maintenance Yard Hearing for Coastal Permit was Heard


Not many objected to the demolition of the buildings on the Thatcher Maintenance Yard.
Planning sent notification after the hearing that the Coastal Development Permit had been granted.

What was brought up was the height of the fence, which originally was suppose to be 8 feet, and lighting and drainage. One person wanted to see community gardens on the fenced property and a park for kids. The hearing officer said he had received an input regarding using it for art.

It was explained that the property was still going to be used by Street Services to park their vehicles and that Sanitation was planning on utilizing property in the future and would discuss such with community.

Demolition is to start in December and go for three months. Hours can be Monday thru Friday from 7 am to 9 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm.

Thatcher Maintenance Yard Hearing, 16 November

A Public Hearing regarding the City Maintenance Yard on Thatcher will be held Monday, 16 November, at 1 pm at the Venice Public Library, 501 Venice Way, 90291.

The property, which was condemned because of asbestos and lead paint and abandoned because of such, became an attraction for homeless resulting in trespassing and several fires. The departments of Sanitation and Street Services agreed that it would be best to teardown the buildings and fence the area.

This is the public notice describing the work to be done to obtain a Coastal Development Permit.

Notice of Public Hearing1

Notice of Public Hearing Signed_000002