web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

VNC Approves SB50, Pacific Ave “Road Diet”

By Angela McGregor

Tuesday night’s Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) meeting was held in memory of renowned Venice photographer Guy Webster, who passed away recently. For more on his work, see: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/obituaries/guy-webster-dead.html.

The meeting opened with the announcement that candidate filings for the next VNC election — to be held on June 2 — are now open, and will be for the next month. The VNC will be holding a candidate mixer at a local restaurant, location and time to be decided, in the near future. Meanwhile, would-be board members can find information on how to get involved at the City Clerk’s office: https://clerk.lacity.org/elections/neighborhood-council-elections.

There were two competing motions on the agenda regarding Senate Bill 50 (seen here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB50), which would allow density, height and parking waivers for residential developments within a half-mile of transit stops with buses arriving within 15 minutes of one another, or in areas defined as “job rich” by the Department of Planning. The motion put forth by LUPC supported SB50 as a way of making housing more affordable and environmentally friendly by creating more of it closer to transit stops.

Another motion, put forth by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils, opposing the bill on the grounds that “California neighborhoods depend upon high quality, citizen driven, local community planning for justice and equity and balanced development”.

Venice Stakeholders President Mark Ryavec spoke in opposition to the motion, calling it “Wall Street in our back yard” and a massive giveaway to developers. In Board commentary, members opposed to the measure pointed out the degree to which it cedes local control to the state. Supporters pointed out that the Coastal Act would mean that areas of Venice west of Lincoln would be exempt from the measure, to which those opposed pointed out that voting in favor of the motion would constitute throwing areas of Venice east of Lincoln “under the bus”. The motion in favor of SB50 passed, 12-5-3.

The Board then passed a motion to support City Filing 19-0046, which would ban donations from real estate developers to city council members, their chosen charities, or to the mayor of the city.

Much less universally agreed upon was item 12B, which recommended that the City allow parking on both sides of Pacific Avenue between 8am and 8pm, in order to eliminate two lanes of traffic and create a buffer between the street and the sidewalk. The motion was made as a response to LA City Vision Zero plans identifying the intersection of Rose and Pacific as a particularly dangerous one. According to LADOT, a VNC recommendation for a way to make Pacific less dangerous would immediately trigger a traffic study to examine if such a recommendation were feasible. Public commentary in favor of the motion noted the many accidents along Pacific, including one high profile crash resulting in a pedestrian’s death and the installation of a crosswalk.

Several of those opposed live on the walk streets and described the difficulty they encounter in exiting alleyways onto Pacific, where traffic is already at a crawl during rush hour, and would only be exacerbated by this plan. Board

President Ira Koslow was vehemently opposed to what he termed a “Road Diet”, pointing out that, with only one lane for traffic, any car stopping to parallel park or turn left would block all traffic moving in their direction, and that the gridlock resulting would almost certainly end up redirecting traffic onto Speedway. An amendment was proposed to change the language of the motion to recommend additional traffic lights and guardrails to slow traffic, but it failed. The original motion ultimately passed, 10-8-1.

The final motion of the evening called upon the City to agree to oversized vehicle restriction signs for the west side of Main Street, between Rose & Sunset, where they are the owners of a public parking lot. Board commentary in opposition pointed out that Main is a wide, mainly commercial street and so lends itself to RV parking, but the motion prevailed, 12-6-1.

The next meeting of the VNC Board will be Tuesday, March 19th at 7pm.

Planters, Pisani and Postponement of SB50 Endorsement at January VNC Meeting

By Angela McGregor

The first Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) board meeting of the year opened with an announcement from VNC Parliamentarian Ivan Spiegel that the first date to file for candidacy in the  2 June  VNC election — in which all Board members will be replaced or re-elected — is February 17th. As was the case last year, the VNC is planning to hold a mixer on that date (the last one was held at the Canal Club) to sign up candidates. The Board also approved $1350 for election candidate recruitment meetings.

The Board also voted to approve the expenditure of $600 from the outreach budget to purchase two (out of a total of 34) planters to line the parkway along 7th Avenue, behind Whole Foods, in order to discourage encampments. The motion is contingent on the applicant’s acquisition of a permit to install the planters (seen and discussed here: https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/venice-planters-controversy/).

The discussion of the demolition and conversion of 2308 Pisani Place, currently a 6-unit rental building, into a six unit condominium building, featured two of the building’s long-term, current tenants speaking on behalf of the applicant, Steve Meepos. Mr. Meepos has set aside two apartments in the building at below-market prices and provided financing so that these two residents, who have lived in Venice for over 25 years, will have the opportunity to purchase their apartments. Two amendments — to remove the rooftop structures from the new development and add an additional parking space — passed, and the amended item was approved.

Motion 11B called for the VNC Board to send a letter in support of SB50 to the Los Angeles City Council. SB50, discussed here: https://www.kqed.org/news/11709817/its-sb-827-take-2-wiener-introduces-revamped-bill-to-require-more-housing-near-transit.  It would take away City input regarding new developments near transit and job-rich zones. Land Use and Planning chair (LUPC) Matt Royce, whose committee had passed the motion unanimously, stated that failure to support this bill was an indication of “the status quo,” in particular would drive development farther and farther from the city center, with its negative impacts on the environment.

Several stakeholders rose in opposition to the measure, pointing out it’s vagueness and that it could, if interpreted a certain way, mandate buildings up to 8 stories along Venice Blvd. Board member Jim Murez requested the motion be postponed one month in order to allow the VNC Board to specifically research SB50’s impacts on Venice, citing the lack of clarity as to whether or not the bill would apply in the coastal zone. The measure to postpone passed, and the motion will be take up again at the February 19th meeting of the VNC Board.

VNC to Meet Tuesday, 22 January, Discuss SB50

Venice Neighborhood Council to discuss Senate Bill 50 Tuesday at 7 pm at Westminster Elementary School.