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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

DuFay Says Rose Apartment Project Not Compatible with Community

rose

Top: South side. Far left. The gas station at Lincoln. 720 Rose is in the middle.
Bottom: North side. For comparison, Whole Foods is the wide building

Note: Darryl DuFay was the first chair of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC). This is a letter he wrote to the VNC board regarding 720 Rose Ave Project.

By Darryl DuFay

Venice faces another crisis brought about by a lack of openness and information. That crisis is the proposed project at 720 Rose Ave, which the VNC will consider on Monday, Sept. 17th., Agenda Item 10A.

There is a crisis of civility drowned in chaos. The chaos is so frequent and repetitive that it is disastrous to all business. Meetings that should be a place for asking and answering question did not happen. The community is again being placed in the dark. Documents lacked sensitivity to the effects of the project on the surrounding community. Proposals are made that fracture the Venice Specific Plan (VSP).

As to the project itself. 720 Rose Ave will cost $18,220,401. (Source for Development Costs: “HHH” Citizen’s Oversight Committee Report for February 2018. Table 1: HHH Project List – General Information, p.4, Table 2: HHH Project List – Development Costs, p. 5. Committee Chair: Miguel Santana.) It will have 35 units at $520,583 per unit.

Of special interest is the “Project Description” available from the VNC’s LUPC committee. Other than mentioning that the project is located in the “Venice Coastal Specific Plan” area there is no other reference to the VSP, which is the guide for construction in Venice. The entire section in the VSP on Oakwood where the project is located is missing.

The allowable height in Oakwood for this flat roof structure is twenty-five feet. It is proposed at forty-five feet. If “mechanicals” such as air conditioning on the roof are added it would be fifty-feet high, which would be a 100% increase. The height is not even mentioned in the “Project Description.” What you have instead is a vague, hidden, statement: Height Increase of 20’ 0” in lieu of that otherwise allowed by code.

The VSP clearly states that it is to be used to “regulate all development, including use, height, density, setback, buffer zone and other factors in order that it be compatible in character with the existing community and to provide for the consideration of aesthetics and scenic preservation and enhancement, and to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

If the VSP differs from provisions of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) regarding density, lot area, floor area ratio, height of buildings, parking, design standards, and other issues, the VSP shall supersede those other regulations.

720 Rose, as presented, is not compatible in character with the existing community.

Rose Ave Apartments Passes LUPC 7 to 2

LUPC

The controversial Rose Ave project passed the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Land Use and Planning Community (LUPC) 7 to 2 Tuesday night. Next step is the Venice Neighborhood Council meet, Monday, 17 September.

The Oakwood Recreation Center was standing room only as an emotionally charged crowd waited for their turn of 45 seconds to speak. Matt Royce, chair of LUPC, made the statement that it was the largest crowd he had ever had.

Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing (VCH), did a presentation with John Lonnel, consultant, assisting with questions.

Height and parking seemed to be the main objections to the project. Height for the project is 43 feet and the Venice Specific Plan calls for 25 to 30, depending on the roof structure. Parking is not in compliance with the Venice Specific Plan either. Parking provides for 15 places on site and seven on whole Foods parking lot based on an agreement with Whole Foods which is located across the street. There will be 2750 square feet of commercial and 35 apartments. Also there was some controversy over having/not having a loading zone. The four story building consists of three stories of residential and a ground floor of commercial.

Most of the comments consisted of “we need housing” and testimonies of how “housing changed my life.”

Both Jim Murez and John Reed members of the VNC board and former members of LUPC talked about the parking and height of the building as precedent setting features. John Reed, an architect, said that first of all the parking covenant states that it has to be signed by the owner of the property and Whole Foods is not the owner, nor was Safeway the owner. That would leave 15 spaces for 2750 square feet of commercial and 35 residential units. The video talks of side yard and front setbacks, no windows in front and more as well as the height and lack of parking.