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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Westside Community Plan Update Starts 28 August

Westside Community Plan update will begin Tuesday, 28 August at the Windward School, 11350 Palms Blvd, 7 to 8:30 pm.Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 9.06.02 PM

Planning Commission’s Staff Report on PSH Ordinance Debunks VCHC Falsehoods

By Fight Back Venice (FBV)

For months, the Venice Community Housing Corporation has been leading Venice residents to believe that the PSH Ordinance does not apply to the Venice Median Project; that space will be reserved in the Venice Median Project for “local” artists and homeless; and that, at 140 units, the size of the Venice Median Projects is appropriate. As set forth below, the Recommendation Report prepared by the Planning Department Staff in connection with the PSH Ordinance proves none of that is true.

• The PSH Ordinance Does Apply to the Venice Median Project: As set forth on A-8 of the Staff Report and in the Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration for the PSH Ordinance, the PSH Ordinance affects “all parcels in the City of Los Angeles zoned for multifamily residential use and located within High Quality Transit Areas (HQTA).” As unbelievable as it may seem, virtually all of Venice falls in an HQTA (see Staff Report at A-8) and the Venice Community Housing Corporation has already indicated that it intends to rezone the Venice Median from “open space” to RAS3, a high-density, mixed-used designation that allows for “multifamily residential use.” Thus, the PSH Ordinance does apply to the Venice Median Project. Indeed, page A-11 of the Staff Report admits as much, stating disingenuously that “[i]t is not clear the extent to which the proposed ordinance may apply to any projects proposed for [the Venice Median or Thatcher Yard] sites,” without denying that, depending on the parameters of each project, the PSH Ordinance could very well apply to both. Indeed, the one and only reason provided in the Staff Report as to why the PSH Ordinance would not apply to the Venice Median Project is that the Venice Median’s current “open space” zoning does not allow for residential development, but as noted above, that zoning is going to be changed.

• By Law, No Space in the Venice Median Project Can Be Reserved for Venice “Locals”—Homeless, Artists or Otherwise: The Venice Community Housing Corporation talks about setting “POSH” lofts aside for “local artists” and reserving (smaller and less hip) apartments for members of the local homeless community, but page P-6 of the Staff Report expressly states that space cannot lawfully be reserved for Venice residents to the exclusion of people who reside elsewhere and that supportive housing developments, like the Venice Median Project, that receive “funding from local government will be required to utilize the Coordinated Entry System” to ensure “centralized intake” from “all service providers and outreach teams in the County.”

• Even in New York City, the Median Size of PSH Projects Is Just 48 Units: The only evidence cited in the Staff Report to show that permanent supportive housing does not adversely affect property values is a 2008 study of housing projects in New York City. As set forth in that study, however, the average size of the 123 supportive housing projects that opened in ultra-high-density New York City between 1985 and 2003 is just 48 units—slightly larger than public housing projects in Santa Monica (35 units) but just one third the size of the Venice Median Project (140 units), the Thatcher Yard Project (150 units), and, most likely, the MTA Lot Project (which will sit on 3.5 acres and is likely to be 100% affordable/PSH Housing). Needless to say, the study provides no meaningful information at all as to Venice property values, but it shows, yet again, that despite assurances from the Venice Community Housing Corporation, all of the projects planned for Venice are way, way too big.

FBV calls on the Venice Community Housing Corporation to come clean on all three of these crucial issues so the free people of Venice can make informed decisions about the future of their community.

THE FBV “BE HEARD” EMAIL PLATFORM IS WORKING…BUT WE ARE OUTNUMBERED AT HEARINGS

According to the Staff Report, the Planning Department “received more than 670 public comment letters” in connection with the PSH Ordinance—80% of which were opposed to the ordinance and the “vast majority” of which pertained specifically to the Venice Median and Thatcher Yard Projects.

So the good news is that our “Be Heard” email platform—through which more than 250 emails in opposition to the PSH Ordinance were delivered to the City—is working. Our friends at the Oxford Triangle Association submitted a similar number of emails through their platform, bringing the Venice total to more than 500 emails in opposition to the PSH Ordinance. Thank you, again, to all who participated in this important effort.

The bad news, though, is that opponents of the PSH Ordinance have apparently been outnumbered by supporters—largely paid activists with lots of free time during the day— at hearings by more than 2 to 1.

We can’t let paid activists dictate the future of our communities! Please join us on December 14!

THEN WHY IS VIRTUALLY ALL OF THE PSH HOUSING IN DISTRICT 11 IN VENICE?

“It is important that all areas of the City provide a fair share of PSH.”

Department of City Planning, Recommendation Report, Case No. CPC-2017-3136-CA, page A-9.

Planning

447 Linnie Canal Court will be rescheduled to 6 February, 1 pm at West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave.

Owner wants to build a new split level, 3,116 square-foot single family residence with an attached garage with three vehicular parking spaces after demolition of an existing 1,197 square-foot single-family dwelling.

Questions and comments can be addressed to Kellen Hoime, Kellen.Hoime@lacity.org, 213-473-9769.

656 and 656 ½ California Ave will be heard 9:30 am, 23 February at Los Angeles City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Room 1050, Los Angeles 90012.

The owner wants to demolish two existing, one-story, single-family dwellings with an attached garage, and construct a new 3-story, 2-unit residential condominium
with attached garage that would provide 5 automobile parking spaces (including 1 guest space). This is a one-log subdivision.

Questions and comments may be directed to Iris Wan (213) 978-1397, Iris.Wan@lacity.org. Reference AA-2014-3038-PMLA-CN.

2334 Cloy Ave will be heard 6 March at 1 pm, West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave., LA 90045.

Owner want to demolish a one-story, single-family dwelling and construct
a new three-story 3,172 square-foot single-family dwelling with
an attached two-car garage.

Questions and comments may be addressed to Jeff Khau, (213) 978-1346, Jeff.Khau@lacity.org. Reference DIR-2016-4357-CDP-MEL.

2325 Wilson Ave will be head 6 February, 3 pm, at West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth, LA 90025.

Owner wants to demolish a one-story single-family dwelling and construct a new two-story 3,400 square-foot single-family dwelling with an attached garage and roof deck.

Questions and comments may be addressed to Jeff Khau (213) 978-1346, Jeff.Khau@lacity.org. Reference DIR-2016-2381-CDP-ME.

Planning

746 Marco Place will be heard 5 December at 11 am at West LA Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave.

Owner wants to remodel and add 1,331 square-feet to a one-story, single-family dwelling consisting of: minor exterior alterations and interior improvements to the existing structure, removal of 599 square feet of the rear portion of the existing single-family dwelling, the construction of a 2,210 square-foot, two-story addition with a rooftop deck and attached two-car garage attached to the rear of the existing structure, and the demolition of a detached two-car garage and accessory structure; the project provides a total of three parking spaces onsite.

Address all questions and comments to Juliet Oh, (213) 978-1186 juliet.oh@lacity.org. Refcerence DIR-2015-4156-CDP-SPP.

459 28th Avenue will be heard 5 December, 1 pm, West LA Municipal Bullding, 1645 Corinth Ave, LA 90025.

Owner wants to demolish an existing single-family dwelling/accessory structure, and construct a 2-story single-family dwelling, 29 feet 6 inches in height, with 3,857 square-foot living area, total 998 square feet balconies/deck and an attached 422 square-foot garage, on a 4,300 square-foot lot in the R1-1-O Zone.

Address all comments and questions to Alam Choudhury. (213) 978-1467, alam.choudhury@lacity.org.

1698 Electric will be heard 19 December at 10 am at West LA Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave., LA 90045.

Owner wants to demolish an existing 576 square-foot one-story accessory
building and construct a first- and second-floor addition totaling 1,520
square feet, including a 460 square-foot attached two-car garage, to an existing
1,248 square-foot single-family dwelling, on a 3,869 square-foot lot.

Questions and comments may be addressed to Kenton Trinh, (213) 978-1290, kenton.trinh@lacity.org Reference DIR-2016-1704-CDP.

2412 Bryan Ave will be heard 19 December at 10:30 am at the West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave., LA 90045.

Owner wants to remodel and add to a one-story, 1,168 square-foot single-family dwelling consisting of: removal of the roof for the existing one-story single-family
dwelling, 49 square-foot addition to the ground floor and construction of a new
1,115 square-foot second story, resulting in a total floor area of 2,332 square feet; the
project will maintain a total of two parking spaces onsite.

Comments and questions may be addressed to Iris Wan, (213) 978-1397, iris.wan@lacity.org. Reference DIR-2016-2332-CDP.

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.

VNC Denies Developer; One Building Built and Sold

Before

Before

 

After

After

By Angela McGregor

At the most recent VNC Board meeting, two projects from developer Thomas James Capital were discussed. The first was a single family home at 2819 Grayson. The original permit obtained in November, 2015, from the City of Los Angeles described the following project: “A 2-story addition to an existing 832 square foot 1-story single family home”, adding 2438 square feet to the original structure and maintaining at least 49 percent of the original structure.

Based upon this description, the City of Los Angeles issued a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) exemption and also a building permit, at which time demolition commenced. In March, the Coastal Commission received a request for an appeal to the exemption, due to the fact that the scale of the project was clearly beyond that described in the original permit and the original structure had been entirely demolished (see: https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2016/4/th17e-s-4-2016.pdf).

The Coastal Commission sided with the appellants, and denied the exemption, stating: “the fact is that most of the entire structure, with the exception of some of the wood framing, has been demolished. Thus, there is no existing structure to “add on” to or improve, which as a result, invalidates the exemption.”

The Coastal Commission then revoked the City’s permit, and yet the work continued. Sadly, not only had the original structure been demolished, but a massive tree in front of the property containing a hawk’s nest was also taken down illegally and improperly. The new home constructed on the property in apparent defiance of this stop-work order was sold in late August for $3.5 million (see: https://www.redfin.com/CA/Los-Angeles/2819-Grayson-Ave-90291/home/6734845).

The motion on the VNC’s agenda recommended the CDP approve the project with maximum fines (which could total up to $1.63 million), and that those fines be imposed on the developer and not the current homeowner. Jim Murez argued in favor of this option, since in his opinion, based upon numerous conversations with all involved parties, the permitting process was deeply flawed and the developer contended that the City had never notified them of the stop work order issued by the Coastal Committee. Furthermore, the Coastal Committee found the size, mass and scale of the development to be in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood, implying that they would have approved the development had it gone through the appropriate legal process. The Coastal Committee recommended, therefore, that the developer “pay off” the community with a large donation to a local non-profit, since the City would not likely fine the developer, anyway.

Board President Ira Koslow disagreed, and stated that the developer and/or architect clearly received a stop work order and chose to continue the work, and that there appeared to be collusion to do so between the occupant and the developer. He felt the Board should deny the motion to approve the development and send a strong message to developers in Venice — “no cheating!”. This motion was amended to include the recommendation of maximum fines, and passed 12-2-2.

The second project from this developer on the Board’s agenda was 213 Ruth Avenue. The motion on the agenda recommended denial of the project for similar reasons to the previous project: lying to neighbors regarding the existence of plans and ignoring stop work orders from the Coastal Commission. Also, they found the project not to be in keeping with the mass, scale and character of the neighborhood. This motion passed, 15-0-1.

During the discussion of these issues, a couple of broader points were brought up:

1) The VNC Board should have more authority over tree removal. The tree removed in front of 2819 Grayson was described as an important, heritage tree whose loss (ostensibly, to repair the sidewalk) was deeply mourned by the neighborhood.

2) The loophole used by this developer to bypass Coastal Commission approval is one widely used by many developers in Venice, who, under the pretense of retaining “49%” of the existing structure will often leave a single wall (or less) and proceed with development that, in fact, required a CPD.   In fact, several public speakers pointed out that there are more developments from this particular developer in the pipeline which will come up at future VNC Board meetings which use similar tactics.

All motions on the general consent calendar were passed without dissent, including the motion for the Holiday Reunification Program made by the Homeless Committee.

L.A. Department of Public Works President Kevin James made gave a 20 minute presentation on the Department’s ongoing projects, including fixing L.A.’s broken sidewalks and streets. To request service, dial 311 or use the LA311 app.

 

Planning

749 Oxford will be heard by the zoning administrator 5 December, 12:30 pm, West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave.

Owner wants to remodel and add to a two-story, 833 square-foot, single family dwelling. This will consist exterior and interior improvements with a two-story, 766 square-foot addition. The project will maintain an existing detached two-car garage.

Comments and questions can be addressed to Juliet Oh, 213-978-1186, Juliet.oh@lacity.org. Reference: DIR-2016-2578-CDP.

127 Via Marina will be heard 5 December, 12 pm, West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave.

Owner wants to construct a four-story, 4,784 square-foot, single-family dwelling with a basement level containing habitable area and an attached three-car garage on a vacant residential lot. Owner also wants side yards to be 3,5 feet instead of the required 6.5 feet.

Comments and questions can be directed to Juliet Oh, 213-978-1186, Juliet.oh@lacity.org. Reference: ZA-2016-2771-ZAA

1519, 1521, and 1525 Abbot Kinney Blvd will be heard at 5 December, 11:30 pm at West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave.

Owner wants to construct a three-story, 35-foot-tall, 9,254 square-foot, mixed-use development consisting of two artist-in-residence units. There will be 2,133 square feet of ground floor for retail use and a 1,405 square-foot ground floor restaurant comprised of 473 square feet of Service Floor Area on two lots currently developed with a surface parking lot. The project includes two subterranean parking levels providing 42
parking spaces.

Comments and questions can be addressed to Juliet Oh, 213-978-1186, Juliet.oh@lacity.org. Reference DIR-2015-2998-CDP-SPP-MEL

Planning

835 Brooks will be heard 7 November at 10:30 am at the West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave, 90025.

Owner wants to convert an existing two-story, three-unit multiple-family dwelling (triplex) into a single-family residential dwelling, interior and exterior improvements to the structure, as well as the construction of a new accessory building with a two-car garage on the ground level and a new dwelling unit above (replacement affordable unit), located in the single permit jurisdiction area of the Coastal Zone.

Comments and questions can be addressed to D. Solaiman Tehrani, (213) 978-1193, David.solaiman-tehrani@lacity.org. Reference: DIR-2016-1144-CDP-MEL

45 North Venice Blvd will be heard 7 November, 1:30 pm at West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave, 90025.

The applicant seeks a Zone Change to modify the Permanent “Q” Qualified Conditions as regulated by Ordinance No. 164,235, to allow a change of use from art gallery to office, general retail, joint living and work quarters, art gallery, and another uses consistent with the neighborhood character. No new construction is proposed. The subject request is to allow modifications as it pertains to the existing art gallery use. The “Q” Condition stipulates that the subject property shall be used “exclusively for an art gallery and associated uses” and also limits hours of operation. Due to the specific use and operational constraints contained within the “Q” conditions, the applicant is requesting a zone change to amend Ordinance No. 164,235 by removing the specific land use restrictions and limited hours of operation. The zone change requested will not change the underlying zoning, as it will remain [T][Q]C1.5-1-O-CA, and any future changes to the site would be processed under all applicable rules and regulations of the City of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) in effect at that time.

After the hearing, the Hearing Officer will prepare a report, including a recommendation, which will be considered by the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission at a later date.

Comments and questions can be addressed to Jason Chan, 213-973-1310, Jason.Chan@lacity.org. Reference: APCW-2015-4392-ZC-C

938 Amoroso Place will be heard 1 December, 10:30 am at 1645 Corinth Ave, 90025.

Owner wants to do an addition to an existing one-story 948 square foot single-family dwelling and 198 square foot detached garage, to create a two-story 28-foot tall 2,482 square foot single-family dwelling with attached 356 square foot garage located in the single permit jurisdiction area of the Coastal Zone.

Owner is asking for a 0 rear yard setback in lieu of the required 15-foot setback.

Comments and questions can be addressed to Jason Chan at 213-978-1310, Jason.chan@lacity.org. Reference ZA-2014-4641-CDP-ZAA-SPP-MEL

November Planning

 

701 Indiana will be heard at 11 am,   21 November at West LA Municipal building, 1645 Corinth Ave.

Owner wants to construct a new 2-story, 2,112 square-foot dwelling unit with a second-story terrace and an attached 2-car garage that is attached to the rear of an existing one-story single-family dwelling, all providing five parking spaces.

Comments and questions may be addressed to Juliet Oh at 213-978-1186, juliet.oh@lacity.org.

2000 Oakwood will be heard at 10 am, 21 November at West LA Municipal building, 1645 Corinth Ave.

Remodel and add to a one-story, 1,015 square-foot single-family dwelling 17.25 square feet on ground floor and a new 1,322 square-foot second floor

with a 132 square-foot balcony; the project would provide a total of four parking spaces. 

Comments and questions may be addressed to Juliet Oh at 213-978-1186, juliet.oh@lacity.org.

 

Planning

2812, 2814, 2816, 2818 S. Grand Canal will be heard 7 November, 11:30 am at West Los Angeles Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave 90045

Owner wants to demolish a four-unit, multi-family residential structure and with two detached garages and construct a three-story, 4,632 square-foot, single-family dwelling with an attached two-car garage and a new swimming pool and spa; three parking spaces provided onsite.

Comments and questions can be addressed to Juliet Oh, 213-978-1186, Juliet.oh@lacity.org.

1509 Cabrillo Ave will be heard 21 November at 10:30 am, at West LA Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave, 90045

Owner wants to construct a 1,617 square-foot addition to join an existing 1,429 square-foot two story single-family dwelling at the front of the property and an 819 square-foot one-story single-family dwelling at the rear of the property and the convert a 791 square-foot portion of the rear dwelling into an attached three-car garage All this results in a 3,074 square-foot, three-story duplex with roof deck and a 791 square-foot attached three-car garage, all on a 3,825 square-foot lot within the Single Jurisdiction Area of the California Coastal Zone.

Comments and questions can be addressed to Kenton Trinh, 213-978-1290, Kenton.Trinh@lavcity.org.

1715 Pacific Ave will be heard at 10:30 am, 7 November at West LA Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave, 90025.

Owner wants a Conditional Use Permit to allow the continued sale and dispensing of beer and wine for on-site consumption for an existing 996 square foot restaurant with 16 indoor seats and with a 240 square-foot front patio with 24 seats and a 456 square foot back patio with 36 seats with hours of operation from 10 am to 2 am daily.

Owner wants to allow existing restaurant to operate from 10 am to 2 am daily in lieu of the maximum 7 am to 11 pm.

Comments and questions can be directed to Zuriel Espinosa, 213-202-5474, ziriel.espinosa@lacity.org.