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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Safran Presents Another Architectural Style to OTA, Answers Memo Regarding Thatcher Yard Project

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Entrance off Princeton (east). Frederick Fisher’s more contemporary approach.

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Steven Giannetti’s more residential approach.

By Casey Truit and Angela McGregor

The Thomas Safran Associates (TSA) group met Monday (19 March) with members of the Oxford Triangle Association (OTA) to show members a new, more “residential” design for the Thatcher Yard project and to answer questions regarding the OTA memo sent to TSA in response to their initial proposal.

The OTA memo, dated 7 January, was sent in response to the December presentation by TSA showing 98 units. The memo asked for 62 units which would be normal for a 93,000 sq ft lot zoned R1.5. The 98 units would be in line with two additional 35 percent bonuses, which are allowed for affordable housing.

The memo also asked for increased parking, two performance bonds that would insure ingress/egress rights of way thru Jefferson-Marina Drive via Princeton (east) and complete vacation and fencing of Thatcher Ave at Princeton (west) after planning approval and prior to any testing, construction, building.

The fire department has been known to approve a project during the planning process only to say “No” after planning approval and during the construction approval process which is past the time for citizen intervention. The bonds would prevent TSA from building without these approvals.

Parking was increased from 64 to 86 which is better than required for affordable housing.  The memo asked for many other concessions as shown REL.

Most people preferred the second design, done by Steven Giannetti.

In response to the community’s wish that the development retain more of a single-family look, both renderings restricted the height of buildings fronting Princeton & Oxford to 25 feet (no more than the maximum height of the single-family homes facing the Yard on those streets). They also increased setbacks to mirror those of nearby homes. The project is 3.5 stories in one place.

Also discussed were TSA’s standards for determining who can occupy their developments (they currently manage close to 60 properties), security concerns (the facility will have a full-time, on-site manager), energy and water usage efficiency standards in the finished development, regulations and expectations for resident retention, and community concerns and requirements for the construction process.

Elena Theisner, of Safran management staff, explained the process for tenant selection for the TSA properties. Prospective tenants for both affordable and permanent supportive type housing have both a credit and a criminal check. If drug use or alcoholic use is indicated on the criminal check that goes back seven years, the tenant is disqualified.

TSA estimates that, once community approval on a proposal is reached, the permitting process would take at least one year, followed by two years of construction.

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Frederick Fisher’s design showing project at Thatcher.

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Steven Giannetti’s design showing project at Thatcher.

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TSA Unveils 98-Unit Homeless Complex for Thatcher Yard

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Rendering of entrance to Thomas Safran Associates’ Thatcher Yard Project that will have both senior (69) and family housing (29) for a total of 98 units with 50 percent being permanent supportive housing.

TSA (Thomas Safran Associates) was shy a couple units for a full R1.5 zone with two 35 percent density bonuses when associates and Thomas Safran discussed their proposed project to the members of the Oxford Triangle Association (OTA) Monday night in the Woods at Playa  Vista.

TSA proposed 98 units.  The Venice Update had an article 15 August 2016 showing the number that could be put on the 93,000 square foot lot when rezoned to R1.5.  The number was 104 – 106.  Councilman Mike Bonin said no way would he let that happen.  Thomas Safran said he was told by Bonin to work it out with the OTA.  Mark Shockley, president of the Oxford Triangle Association made the statement that TSA started with 150 units and he had asked TSA for less than a hundred.

TSA complied by two less of a hundred at 98 and a little less than what could have been with two 35 percent bonuses totally implemented at 104 – 106. 

The Oxford Triangle single-family area consists of approximately 350 single-family homes so an increase of 100 would be almost a 30 percent increase. 

Vehicles will be restricted access into the Triangle but pedestrian access will be allowed. Vehicle ingress/egress will be via Marina Point Drive.

The project will be for seniors and families.  How the PSH will be divided is not known.

It will consist of 98 units, 50 percent of which will be permanent supportive housing (PSH).  People who qualify for PSH have a disability as well as are homeless.  It was asked if being a senior constituted having a disability and a social worker said it did.  A senior is one 62-1/2 years old and older.   Safran further defined the tenant housing makeup as 69 for seniors and 29 for families. 

A coordinated entry system  (CES) implemented by County, City, Community (C3) will be used at least for the PSH selection.   Selection is supposedly based on worst case first and this writer was not familiar with selection by category, such as a senior.

Breakdowns for the senior building bedrooms and the family building bedrooms are shown in photo.

Many residents wanted the density reduced but that was never discussed in detail and they wanted more parking.  Safran said he had complied with parking and that these people did not have vehicles.  One resident mentioned that many were sleeping in cars.  

One resident brought up the fact that Coeur d’Alene school was just maxed out.  He asked if taxes for schools from the project could be directed directly to the Coeur d’ Alene system.  TSA said they would look into that.

Security was mentioned and Safran explained he would have lighting and many cameras and then he added spinklers.

One resident wanted both pedestrians and vehicles restricted from the single-family homes as are the five high-rise buildings on the southern tip of the Triangle.   TSA said that was impossible and most homeowners wanted their exercise path.  One said he would like to have the pedestrian turnstiles that are used for the Jefferson-Marina apartments repeated in the project; otherwise, motorcycles could enter the Triangle.  

Many wanted the project fenced and wrought-iron fencing was mentioned.  One asked how high but a figure was not presented.  One brought up the fact that there was insufficient setback from the sidewalk to put up a fence.

One mentioned that some agenda he had did not list another meeting prior to going to planning for this project.   Thomas Safran said there would be other community meetings.

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Unit Breakdown

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Complex from Thatcher.

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Complex at corner of Princeton (west) and Oxford.

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Plot plan view.

 

New Ordinance Proposes to Fast-track and Facilitate Venice Median and Thatcher Yard “Affordable” Projects

City of LA Planning is proposing a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Ordinance that will remove many of the restrictions and fast-track the process for the Venice Median and the Thatcher Yard affordable housing projects.  A hearing will be held 12 September,  6:30 to 8:30, at Gateway Apartments, 13368 Beach Ave, Marina del Rey. RSVP is required. Contact Cally.hardy@lacity.org or call 213-978-1643.

LA City Planning Department is proposing this ordinance establishing new regulations to facilitate the production of Permanent Supportive Housing for PSH homeless individuals and families. In general, people who qualify for PSH have a low income and have at lease one disability, such as mental illness, HIV or AIDS, substance abuse, or another chronic health condition, or are just chronically homeless.

The ordinance is intended to remove regulatory barriers that impair the construction of new supportive housing projects by streamlining the approval process to significantly reduce the average time it takes for a PSH developer to begin construction. Additionally, requirements for minimum lot area per unit will be reduced allowing higher density plus parking would not be required for any of the PHS units.

Other ordinances for PSH running parallel to this one are for motels and hotels.

This is the proposed ordinance PSHO Ord and the summary and frequently asked questions PSH Ordinance Summary .