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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Becky Dennison Answers Some of the Questions Asked at Venice Median Meet

Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCH), answered some of the questions Friday that people were seeking at the Thursday meet regarding the Venice Median. She said she would continue to update information.

What Exactly Has Been Approved by the City?
In December 2016, the City approved the Venice-Dell-Pacific site to be included in its Affordable Housing Opportunity Sites Program, and has approved Venice Community Housing (VCH) and Hollywood Community Housing Corp. (HCHC) to pursue an affordable and permanent supportive housing development on the site. The City’s program also requires that any development proposal include all existing public parking spaces. In January 2017, the City, VCH and HCHC entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) for the site.

What Has Not Been Approved by the City?
The City has not approved any final project proposal. Once a final project proposal is prepared by the development team, it will have to be approved through all of the regular public approval processes with the City, including the Planning Commission and City Council, as well as the State’s Coastal Commission.

What Exactly Is Being Proposed for the Site?
We are in the process of soliciting community input to prepare a draft project proposal for an affordable and permanent supportive housing development. As of today, there are two main things known about what will definitely be included in the project: 1) Affordable and permanent supportive housing, and 2) All current public parking spots.

Who Is Housed in Affordable and Permanent Supportive Housing?
Permanent supportive housing tenants must be homeless at the time of lease up, and can include families or individuals, people with a variety of disabilities, people with chronic health conditions, people who are chronically homeless (for more than one year and a disability), or other target groups. Affordable housing generally serves people earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, and can target individuals or families, seniors, lower wage workers, artists, and others. All residents in affordable and permanent supportive housing are tenants, with legal tenant rights and responsibilities.

What Is Not Known about the Development Proposal Yet?
The number of housing units, the affordability levels of the units, and the specific groups to be housed (i.e. Veterans, people with disabilities, families, etc) has not yet been decided. Other amenities to include in the development (i.e. arts spaces, green spaces, community-serving retail, etc.) have not yet been decided. No design decisions have yet been made. Based on this initial phase of community engagement in early 2017, the development team plans to have draft proposal(s) for review and comment in February or March. There will be additional community input gathered on the draft proposal, and then a final proposal

Will the Site be Developed as a Homeless Shelter?
No. The City’s program requires the development of affordable housing. Also, the development team’s missions are to develop permanent, affordable housing. This means that the people who live in the housing planned for this site will be long-term tenants and pay rent.

How Does the County’s Coordinated Entry System (CES) Work?
The CES system created centralized wait lists for permanent supportive housing throughout LA County. Although the CES system is Countywide, the wait lists are regional. This site is in Service Planning Area 5 (SPA 5), and therefore would receive referrals for permanent supportive housing tenants from the SPA 5 wait list, which includes people who are currently without housing and living in Westside communities. CES is not one Countywide wait/referral list.

Why Should We Build Affordable and Permanent Supportive Housing in Venice and Not Other Communities?
Affordable and permanent supportive housing are primarily being built in other communities. There are more than 8,000 permanent supportive housing units (PSH) operating Countywide, and only 42 of them are in Venice. In other Westside communities, Santa Monica has more than 350 PSH units and Del Rey has at least 85 PSH units. The large majority of PSH units have been produced in communities in Downtown Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, and the Valley. There hasn’t been significant affordable housing production in Venice since the 1990s.

Developers/Architects Meet with Venetians to Discuss the Venice Median Project


Comments By Angela McGregor

There was a large turnout for this meeting, and residents arrived expecting to be able to ask questions and give feedback to the developers, as well as be given some idea of what was to be built. However, the developers — VCHC, HCH, Eric Moss — all insisted there is no plan, even though the documents soliciting proposals for this development (as presented to the crowd by Darryl Dufay) clearly stated that, in order to enter into their agreement to develop the project, they needed to submit at least some idea of what they were proposing to do.

Public discourse was effectively shut down by the way the meeting was organized: Tables were set up around the room labeled “public safety”, “density”, “parking” and so forth and attendees were advised to go to them and scribble their concerns/suggestions on swaths of butcher paper. No one was notified in advance that it would be done this way and so no one came prepared to offer this type of input. I asked two questions of one of the table monitors:

1) You say the comments given on these sheets will be taken into consideration in the planning of this development. If that’s the case, how will they be weighted? What if someone simply doesn’t want another homeless housing development in Venice? Will they be given equal consideration?

2) Why wasn’t the concept of this project first brought before the VNC’s LUPC committee and the VNC, the way any other project being developed in Venice is?

He had no answers for either, but did scribble my questions onto the butcher paper.

Linda Lucks (VCHC representative/former VNC President) later approached me and let me know that there would be “many meetings like this” at which the community would “come together” to design an acceptable project based upon community input. After this, the proposal would go before the LUPC, the VNC, get an EIR, and a Coastal Development Permit. She said this would take “years”.

She also confirmed that all residents of this development will come through the Coordinated Entry System. This means that Venice’s Homeless will not be given priority in being housed in this building, and in fact, we may actually be “importing” chronically homeless and disabled individuals from all over Los Angeles to reside in it.

Venice Median Homeless Development Workshop 12 January

The Venice Median homeless development meet was originally designated as a Townhall to be held 12 January. Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing, has changed the format to be a “visionary workshop” with an interactive process and discussion. See previous story.

The meet will be Thursday, 12 January 6 to 8:30 pm at Westminster Elementary School.

City Council Approves VCH/Hollywood Community Housing/Moss to Explore Housing Options for Venice Median

Venice parking lot


Venice Parking

The Venice Median Parking Lot was approved by the City Council last week to “explore options for affordable and permanent supportive housing.”

There are two properties the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) designated as surplus properties in Venice eligible for “affordable housing” development. One is the Venice Median Parking Lot and the other is the Thatcher Yard. Thatcher Yard has yet to go thru the City Council.

The Venice Median property is 122,171 square feet and is zoned Open Space and has been used as a parking lot.  The Request for Qualifications/Proposal stated that it would be rezoned to R-3 and eligible for two 35 percent density bonuses, which means that the property could accommodate 260 units, if rezoned to R-3.  This rezoning will require a change to the General Plan.

Note: The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, which is on the March ballot, if passed, would stop “spot-rezoning” for two years even if project is for affordable housing.

By Becky Dennison, executive director of Venice Community Housing (VCH)

Note:  In addition to the following announcement, Dennison has announced that she wants to start engaging the community to explore developing the property between North and South Venice Blvd and between Pacific and Dell Ave, known as the Venice Median Parking Lot.  She has sent this information to several groups to schedule meetings for community input.

Venice Community Housing (VCH) is proud and excited to share that we, and our development team partners at Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and Eric Owen Moss Architects, were approved on December 14th by the City Council to explore options for affordable and permanent supportive housing on the city-owned parking lots between North and South Venice Boulevard, bounded by Dell and Pacific Avenues.

City’s program requires that the site be used for housing development with appropriate services onsite and that all current public parking be maintained.  However, any final development proposal can also include uses beyond housing and parking, and VCH and our partners will engage the community broadly to reach our goal of developing a project proposal that addresses our housing crisis, meets multiple needs and contributes positively to surrounding neighborhoods and Venice as a whole.

No specific development plan has been approved at this time. The City Council approval of our development team for this site provides the opportunity for us to complete an initial stage of community engagement and return to the City with a detailed development proposal.  The development proposal will then need to be formalized with the City, and subsequently follow all required public approval processes within the Neighborhood Council, City Council, Coastal Commission, and potentially other public bodies.

VCH and our partners will announce opportunities for community input, engagement, and feedback to inform and create a project proposal by Monday, December 19th.   We plan to announce an initial 90-day community engagement plan online and through our growing email list, but also expect the plan to expand throughout those 90 days as we receive more ideas and feedback. 

Our process will include community meetings, Venice Neighborhood Council meetings, door-knocking and flyering in all immediately surrounding neighborhoods, tours of existing permanent supportive and affordable housing, tours of the architecture work of Eric Owen Moss, a dedicated email address to receive input and share periodic results, presentations/discussions at existing local organizations’ meetings, as well as other activities. 

We are very open to all ideas about how best to ensure broad community input.  Each part of the community engagement process will be publicized in advance and the results will be well documented and shared.   If we are able to enter into a development agreement with the City after the initial process, we are then committed to further community engagement throughout the entire development period, to focus on design elements, traffic, impacts of construction, and other issues of interest or concern.

Until the dedicated email address for the Venice-Dell site is activated, please feel free to reach out with questions or other input to Becky Dennison, VCH’s Executive Director, at: bdennison@vchcorp.org.


Becky Dennison Says Never Mentioned Jones Settlement

Becky Dennison, executive director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC), has clearly stated that she never said the Jones Settlement housing requirement had been met, and furthermore, has stated that she never even addressed the subject, as reported, at the previous Venice Neighborhood Council meet.

Becky Dennison, executive director of Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC), said “I never mentioned the Jones Settlement in my comments last week and never ‘admitted’ that the settlement has been met. I never spoke to housing production within the Jones time frame (2006 forward) and, in fact, specifically made my comments about production over the last 25 years. I never spoke to the geography of units produced, which is also critical to the specifics of meeting the Jones settlement. This should not be printed in any news source, as it literally has nothing to do with what I said and grossly misquotes me. There were plenty of other people there who can corroborate.

Gateway Apartments Opens for Chronically Homeless and Disabled

Venice housing

handicapped copy

Gateway,a 21-unit apartment complex at 13368 Beach Ave., held an opening ceremony Wednesday (4 May).

Gateway is now home to 21 formerly chronically and disabled homeless individuals with severe health issues and who were most in need of housing.

The development was a joint venture with the Venice Community Housing and the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation

Venice Community Housing Says Senior Center Would Be for Storage, Plus

Becky Dennison, new executive director of Venice Community Housing Corporation, says Venice Community Housing plans to use the Westminster Senior Center primarily for storage but proposal to Recreation and Parks Department also included other amenities for the homeless.

In a previous story (https://veniceupdate.com/2016/01/27/10467/), it was stated that Venice Historical Society wanted the Westminster Senior Center on Pacific for their archives to be used in many ways including possibly a welcome center. Also bidding for the senior center was the Venice Community Housing Corporation. At the time it was not know what the Venice community Housing Corporation planned for the property.

“I wanted to let you know that the proposal we submitted for the use of the Westminster Senior Center focuses primarily on a voluntary storage program for unhoused residents of Venice,” wrote Ms Dennison. “We currently operate a small, mostly volunteer-led program but the need is far greater than our current space and volunteer-only program can accommodate.

“Our proposal also included the possibility of other services at the site, depending on funding and direction from LAHSA, such as showers and restrooms and connections to housing placements and wait lists. As you know, the homeless community in Venice is incredibly underserved and, until we can reach our goal of housing for everyone, these proposed programs could provide much needed services as well as improve the community for all housed and unhoused residents.”

BiG Bohemian Yard Sale Saturday

Big Bohemian Yard Sale

Saturday 10/3 8am-1pm
Palm Court 733-743 Palms Blvd, Venice 90291
25% of proceeds will be donated to Venice Community Housing .

Very Venetian/ Bohemian Stuff
Antique –Vintage — New

Clothing — Accessories — Furnishings — Collectibles — Jewelry — Art — etc…

…steamer trunks, mirrors, vintage chairs, household goodies, chotchkies lots more…

Venice Visionaries Rally to Support VCH with Specials Events

Venice’s creative community of visionary architects, chefs, designers, authors,
performers, residents and friends are rallying to support the nonprofit
Venice Community Housing (www.vchcorp.org) with a series of special events.

Attendees will enjoy fine food by some of LA’s hottest restaurants and visit
architecturally distinguished homes rarely open to the public.

Saturday, April 25- 5-8 PM-
Kick Off Party at the Pacific Palisades home of
Event co-founder, landscape designer Jay Griffith. $300 per person-
For tickets call Linda Lucks 310-526-3851 or log onto

Saturday, May 2- 6:30 PM
Award-winning architect Steven Ehrlich and writer Nancy Griffin host a dinner at their Venice Home prepared by Chef Farid Zadi featuring paella & North African specialties. A conversation about “Venice Architecture: Past & Future” will be moderated by KCRW’s Frances Anderton, host of ‘DnA: Design & Architecture’ with special guests. Space available. $500 per person.
For tickets: call Linda Lucks@ 310-528-3857 or log online at www.venicedesignseries.org

Saturday, May 9 5:30 PM
International architect Kulapat Yantrasast, Principal of wHY, along with Venice realtor Tiffany Rochelle & restaurateur Paul Hibler, creator of The Superba Restaurants, co-host a fun garden gathering with food by Superba, art and community. A salon discussion on creativity will pair architects & chefs. Space available at $500 per person.

Sunday, May 10: 11:30 AM – 3 PM
Modernist architect Gregory Ain’s Historic Mid-Century
Homes & Mother’s Day Jazz Brunch featuring the Azar Lawrence Quartet,
catered by Gjelina, and hosted by residents Shannon Matheson & Brad Neal,
Amanda Seward & Hans Adamson.

The “Modernique Homes” tract became the first post WWII Modern Historic
District in LA in 2003. Guests will receive a copy of Anthony Denzer’s book,
“Gregory Ain: The Modern Home & Social Commentary”. Space available
at $500 per person.

Purchase tickets or sponsorships: http://www.vchcorp.org/venicedesignseries

For more information visit the website www.venicedesignseries.org