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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

City Council Homeless Committee Approves MTA for Bridge Home; Goes Before City Council 11 Dec; CCC, 12 Dec



City Council Homeless committee members supported the MTA lot on Sunset between Pacific and Main for Bridge Housing last Wednesday along with places in Wilmington, San Pedro, Watts, and South Los Angeles. A full vote of the City Council members will be Tuesday, 11 December.

Homeless Committee member Councilman Mike Bonin agreed to exempt the MTA lot from a full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If approved by the City Council for a shelter, 11 December, the proposal will go before the California Coastal Commission (CCC), 12 December in Newport Beach, 100 Civic Center, Newport Beach, 92660

Executive Director John Ainsworth of CCC has provided exemption of the MTA lot for CEQA necessity because it is temporary. Four votes of the commissions will nullify the CEQA waiver.

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders, does not agree that CEQA should be waived for the project based on noise and parking. The VSA plan is to present their case for a full CEQA report before the CCC and sue, if necessary, to obtain a CEQA report.

The following are comments Mark Ryavec has made regarding the decision not to have a CEQA.

Comments: I am writing to ask for an ex parte meeting to personally discuss the burden that the Bridge Housing project in Venice will pose for coastal resources, visitors and residents living nearby and request a full environmental review under a Coastal Development Permit application.

This project, the equivalent of a hotel for 154 people with dozens of support staff, including social workers, housing locators, teachers, security personnel, and kitchen and custodial staff, has only nine (9) parking spaces. Already there is no place for residents and visitors to park in this neighborhood, and this project will add an incredible parking demand. The city cannot exclude any applicants because they own a vehicle, so the project will inevitably bring even more vehicles (including campers and RVs) to an area that historically has little parking.

This project will also generate unacceptable noise for residents living as little at 50 feet away, at all hours of the day and night, with no mitigation, from outdoor dining areas, an outdoor kennel (with barking dogs) and the exterior HVAC equipment to heat and cool a huge 30 foot tall building that will house 100 people, along with HVAC equipment for other manufactured housing that will house another 54 people, not mention heating and cooling of many offices. The project also raises serious concerns about coastal pollution.

Encampments in Venice already leach human waste to the storm drain outfall at Rose Avenue, which has been documented by independent test results to contain high levels of e. coli bacteria. Each time new services have been added for the homeless in Venice, the population has grown, as has the resulting coastal pollution, from 400 people four years ago to approximately 1,000 today.

Instead of reducing the population it is likely that the Bridge Housing project will attract even more homeless to Venice. When they cannot be accommodated at the new facility they will camp out nearby, as they do now, for example, at the St. Joseph service center on Lincoln Boulevard. The city of Los Angeles has made no plans to mitigate parking demand, noise or the likely increase in coastal pollution.

Mark Ryavec, president, Venice Stakeholders Association, Founding Director, Board Secretary (1989 to 1999) and State Legislative Director (1999) at American Oceans Campaign, and Member, Board of Governors, Oceana (2005 to 2015)

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CCC Executive Director Waives Requirement for MTA to Have CEQA

Executive Director John Ainsworth of the California Coastal Commission has waived the necessity for the City to have a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) for building the Bridge Housing on the MTA lot. If four commissioners object to the waiver, a Coastal Development Permit will be required.

Meeting will be held 12 December, 9 am, Newport Beach Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660.

City Declares “Categorical Exemption” From CEQA; VSA to Challenge

The City is declaring a “Categorical Exemption” from CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) on the proposed MTA Bridge Housing project at Sunset between Main and Pacific.

The project is supposedly a temporary project that is for three years only.  The City emphasizes providing “emergency shelter.”

The “Bridge Home” on the MTA site is scheduled to be heard by the California Coastal Commission, 12 December at the Newport Beach Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach 92660 at 9 am.  This will be Item 18 on the agenda.


“One does not create living accommodations for 154 people, offices, food service, storage facilities and security personnel and not have any impact on the environment,” wrote Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA).”   “The VSA has retained legal counsel to challenge the categorical exemption and is also raising funds to litigate the matter.

“Contributions are welcome at venicestakeholdersassociation.org.  Our initial fundraising goal is $20,000.”