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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Animal Shelter Gets 73 Low Income Units


West Los Angeles Animal Shelter at 11950 Missouri Ave in West Los Angeles has been approved by the West LA Neighborhood Council for 73 low-income units and one manager unit. Thomas Safran Associated had proposed 81 units.

Ordinance to Define New Density Bonuses to Go Before City Council 13 December

The ordinance that will define the latest density bonuses for affordable housing will go before the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday, 13 December.  The proposed ordinance  will change LAMC Sections 12.24  and 14.00.






Groups Listen/Question Architect On-Site of Venice Median Project Regarding the Project

The proposed Venice Median Project between North and South Venice Blvd and between Dell and Pacific.

Venice Community Housing (VCH) had another meeting with community members for “community input” regarding the Venice Median project.  This time it was on site and the architect or his affiliate answered questions posed by members of the groups as they walked the site.

Eric Owen Moss, architect, was asked questions regarding parking.  “Will you be able to adhere to the Venice Specific Plan as stated in the RFQ/P with all the parking requirements this project entails,” one person asked.  His answer was that if the RFQ/P said he had to adhere to the Venice Specific Plan, he would, but maybe he would have to “ask for a favor.”

Group 1.  Several groups were sxtarted and at various times.  Q&A was to go from 10 am to noon.

Group 2.

The canal that divides the property.  One person made a comment on internet regarding Kip Pardue’s story saying that all this had been cleaned up.  This photo shows property worse than Pardue’s photo.

Answers Were Given at last VCH “Community Input” Meet

Venice Community Housing (VCH) had another meeting of the community for “community input” for the Venice Median project. Next meet will be held 15 April on the site. The meet was held at the VCH office on Rose Tuesday evening and about 15 attended.

Questions Asked
People mentioned that the project, which consists of two buildings in the North and South Venice Blvd median, should be scaled down both in height and density, that the percentage of PSH (permanent supportive housing) units to affordable should be minimalized, that the Venice Canals maintenance area next to Grand Canal, was not shown, and that the final design should be more friendly, more reflective of the surrounding neighborhood. The question was asked if this project would follow and be committed to the Venice Specific Plan and Becky Dennison, director for VCH, said it would.

Dennison answered the oft asked question regarding selling the property and building somewhere else to provide more housing for those in need. She said that the VCH had a two-year commitment to come up with a plan. After that, she said it could be sold but that, she said, is up to the City.

Parking for Affordable and PSH Different
The question was asked regarding parking. Dennison said parking requirements for affordable and PSH units were less than the normal parking requirements of the Venice Specific Plan. She said that PSH units would be 1/2 parking space per unit and affordable, would be one. Based on this criteria, 68 PSH units and 68 low-income affordable-type units would require 102 parking spaces. The project is required to replace the 188 existing beach parking spaces. This totals 290. This figure does not include parking for any commercial spaces that might be added to the project. The figure of 450 had been stated before so the 290 figure gets closer to what can work.

Dennison made the statement that provisions would be made for the houses on the North Venice Blvd to enter Dell and South Venice Blvd.

Tenent Selection for 136 units Differs
Of the 136 homeless units, 68 will be permanent supportive housing (PSH); 34 will be Affordable units for low-income artists; and 34 will be for affordable low-income wage households. People wanted to know about the selection process.

The Coordinated Entry System (CES) will be used for the selection of tenants for the 68 PSH units. The CES is a question and answer summary of the person’s history and needs. Those most needy, based on CES, will be selected first. CES prospects are selected from County’s Service Planning area 5 or SPA5, which services the cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Malibu, Santa Monica, and the communities in Los Angeles Council District 11 of Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista, West LA, Venice, etc. The Affordable unit selection will be by advertising for the available units.

Will this remove former Venice residents from street; Will this eliminate homeless from Venice streets
Residents have made it clear that they want these projects to be offered to Venetians who are homeless. This is very contentious subject with residents of Venice. There are Venetians who may be homeless somewhere. The people on the streets in Venice are not from Venice; they are transients from all over the United States. Others assume these costly projects will end homelessness in Venice as Councilman Mike Bonin stated. The CES application taken in Venice will show they are from Venice even though they may have lived in North Dakota the day before. So whether they are transients on the streets of Venice or former Venice residents, selection will still be based on CES need.

Provide Input, Not a Speech
At these meetings everyone is afforded the opportunity to be heard. It is a basic misconception by some at these meetings that those who live near, or even not near, the project and make comments are against helping the homeless.

“To ask questions, make suggestions, and ask for clarifications strengthens the project,” said Darryl DuFay.

“There is an erroneous judgment call that prevails during these discussions and this should be stopped or filtered,” said Reta Moser. “Those making long statements why they like the project or give “How I helped the homeless” testimonies, not only take time from those who sincerely want to provide input or ask questions, but they try to lay a guilt trip on those asking questions. The program says “provide input.”

VCH Happy to be Designated for Venice Median

Venice Median Site

Venice Median Site

Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCH) along with Hollywood Community Housing Corporation will be partnering to build housing on the Venice Median — that area between North and South Venice Blvd on Pacific and west of Dell.

“We don’t have more details at this point, because it is not yet approved,” according to Director Beck Dennison, “but once it is approved, “we will be doing community engagement to finalize the details of the project.”

The VCH e-newsletter read:  “With the passage of Proposition HHH and with overwhelming voter support, VCH looks forward to developing more permanent supportive housing in our Westside communities and working with our development partners to ensure 10,000 units are built throughout all neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles!

“As a next step in building housing and reducing homelessness, VCH is proud and excited to share that we, with our partners at Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and Eric Owen Moss Architects, have been recommended for approval to build affordable and permanent supportive housing on the city-owned parking lots at Venice and Pacific Boulevards. The recommendation has to be approved by City Council before it is finalized, and the recommendation is based on a preliminary project concept. If Council approves, we will immediately announce opportunities for community input, engagement, and feedback to inform and create the final project proposal. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time with any questions – your support for VCH and this project is much appreciated!”



Can “Neighborhood Integrity Initiative” Stop Venice Median, Thatcher Yard?

Many Venetians have pointed to the “Neighborhood Integrity Initiative
as a stopper to the homeless projects planned for Venice. The initiative goes on the ballot in March.

The initiative is intended to stop “spot rezoning” for large projects that disrupt the “integrity” of the community, and in many cases, re-identify a community. The initiative calls for a two-year moratorium first.

Affordable Housing is Exception but not General Plan Change
One of the exceptions to the initiative is “affordable housing.” But the initiative also states that the project must be consistent with the General Plan.

Rezoning that is planned for the two Venice projects is not consistent with the General Plan, so a Plan change would be necessary. Of particular interest is Section 4.B which deals with General Plan changes and Section 4.E which deals with the affordable housing exemption.

The Venice Median is zoned “open space” and the plan is to rezone it R-3, which is a zone for apartments. The Thatcher Yard has been used as a “public utility,” since becoming part of Los Angeles. This might fit under industrial use as stated. But the intensity of going from flat land to apartment-type use is definitely addressed under 4.B.1,2,3.

Section 4 Temporary Moratorium Stops Council Approvals of Projects that Seek Spot Zoning and General Plan Amendments to Intensify Land Use

B. Notwithstanding any section of the Los Angeles Municipal Code and during the effective period of the moratorium imposed by the Act no project that seeks a General Plan amendment, a zone or height district change shall be approved by the City Council if such approval would result in:

1. changes of existing zoning to permit more intense land use (as defned by a zone change from a more restrictive to less restrictive zone according to the Los Angeles Municipal Code section 12.04A, or to a height district permitting the construction of a higher structure); or

2. an increase in floor area ratio, density or height; or

 3. a net loss of land zoned open space, agricultural or industrial.

E. Exceptions. The moratorium prohibitions specified in this Section 4 of the Act shall not apply:

1.  to any project in which 100% of the units are deed restricted Affordable Housing Units, that seeks a zone change or height district change only, but not a General Plan amendment.

An Affordable Housing Unit is defined as a unit that is affordable to households with a gross household income at or below Low Income levels (including Extremely Low Income and Very Low Income) as determined by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (or successor agency) for Los Angeles County on an annual basis, and that is rented or sold for no more than the percentage of gross household income required by Health and Safety Code section 50052.5.

Santana to Announce Fate of Venice Median and Thatcher Yard 14 to 18 November

Venice Median

Venice Median

Thatcher Yard

Thatcher Yard

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana will announce the fate of the two Venice Properties — Venice Median and the Thatcher Yard before Thanksgiving, according to David Graham-Caso, CD11 communications director. Saturday’s LA Times article said it would be the week of 14 to 18 November.

The Venice Median is that area between North and South Venice Blvd at Pacific zoned open space and now used for beach parking. The Thatcher Yard is area in the Oxford Triangle formerly used for city sanitation and street services. Both are set to be rezoned, and according to the specifications, would allow for building 260 units on Venice Median and 106 on Thatcher yard.

Opening date for the Westminster Senior Center as a storage facility for the Venice homeless has not been set. The San Pedro storage for the homeless has been shelved according to the Los Angeles Times. There was a public outcry when citizens found out about proposed facility.

LA Times article said a mobile storage plan was being considered. Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Committee proposed a mobile storage plan in early September, but it was not considered supposedly because it could not be brought into service in time for 1 November opening that coincides with the shelter openings.

At present the Westminster facility is not open and an opening date has not been announced.

CAO to Announce Mid-November Fate of Venice Properties; More City Sites To Be Designated

The fate of the two Venice properties designated for homeless, affordable will be announced mid-November, according to David Graham-Caso, communications director for Councilman Mike Bonin. The City Administrative Officer (CAO) Miguel Santana met with members of Council District 11 Tuesday.

There are 12 sites that were designated earlier this year to be developed by the City for homeless, affordable or sold and monies used for homeless elsewhere. Two of the properties are in Venice and have become the talk of the town for Venetians.

The two properties in question are the Venice Median site between north and south Venice Blvd at Pacific, zoned open space, used as a parking lot, and designated for homeless; and the Thatcher Yard in the Oxford Triangle, formerly used as a public utility yard, and designated for affordable housing.

“I can tell you that 49 developers responded to the request for proposals and qualifications with 73 development strategies (that is the total for all 12 vacant or underused properties throughout the city – not just the two in Venice),” according to David Graham-Caso. “When the CAO reports to the Council in mid-November, the report will include recommendations for either selling the properties or for developers to be given the opportunity to go out to the communities near the properties and try to come up with site-specific proposals for those specific properties.”

The Venice Update has asked the CAO office for the criteria used to determine development or sale but has not been given the information.

“As we have discussed before,” wrote Graham-Caso, “the approval process (if a development is pursued at a site) is one proscribed by law. Like any other development proposal, it needs to go through the various steps of the planning process (neighborhood council, planning commission, council). And in Venice, most projects get appealed to the California Coastal Commission.

“Additionally, the CAO informs us that in the next few months they will be also be examining an additional two dozen properties — in other parts of the city — for potential use or sale for affordable housing.”

LA Gets 65 Million in State Funds to Build for Homeless

LA Times reports that Los Angeles won nearly 65 million of greenhouse gas funds which are earmarked  to finance affordable housing near job centers and transit in order to reduce car trips.

The money allows for 553 below-market units to be built, the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced.   Nearly 350 of those residences are for formerly homeless individuals and planned for projects with supportive services. The remaining are for low-income households, who are increasingly struggling to afford a home in one of the nation’s most expensive cities.

See LA Times article.



View Affordable Housing with Mike … Take His Bus Tour

Councilman Mike Bonin is hosting a bus tour of permanent supportive housing sites around the Westside on 10 September to show neighbors in Venice some examples of what he would like to see in Venice.

This tour will offer a first hand look at the affordable housing projects in Del Rey and Culver City, and neighbors on the tour will have the opportunity to speak to residents living in the different housing projects, learn more about the City’s recently released RFQ (Request For Quotation) process and discuss real solutions to help solve homelessness in Venice.

RSVP is required to attend the tour.  Contact Taylor Bazley at taylor.bazley@lacity.org or 310-575-8461 and do so by 6 September.