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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Venice Median: VCH Gives Schedule; Answers Questions


Next Week’s Community Engagement Dates:

Monday, January 23rd Venice Neighborhood Council, Homeless Committee 6:30 PM at Venice Community Housing, 720 Rose Avenue

*Please note we are on the agenda for this VNC Committee; the meeting will be led by the Committee Chair and conducted via regular neighborhood council rules and protocols

Tuesday, January 24th General Information Session about Affordable Housing Development and the Development Team for Venice-Dell-Pacific 6:30 PM at Venice Community Housing, 720 Rose Avenue

Thursday, January 26th Tour and Discussion with Eric Owen Moss Architects 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, meet at EOMA Studio, 8557 Higuera St, Culver City, CA and send required RSVP to Joshua Herman at herman@ericowenmoss.com .

Friday, January 27thFlyering and information gathering at Farmer’s Market and in surrounding neighborhoods, 8 am to 11 am and 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm

Saturday, January 28th Tour and Discussion of Venice Community Housing properties 10 am – 12 pm, meet at 720 Rose Avenue, Venice, CA and send required RSVP to Iisha Jones at ijones@vchcorp.org.

Please note we are open to suggestions for additional community engagement activities, and are responsive to all requests or invitations to venues where we can engage with stakeholders about this site and potential development.

Additional Questions and Answers from venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org or other meetings, with additional Q&A added each week:

What social services that you know of will have to be on site for the chronically homeless?  Please be specific.

For developments that serve chronically homeless people, there are generally on-site case managers and a 24-hour crisis response system.  The case managers work with the tenant to identify actions and services that can improve their health, mental health, and address other needs and goals as well as ensure their housing stability.  Depending on the size of a project, or the specific group(s) of people served, there may be other on-site services in order to provide an integrated and accessible service approach for tenants.  Also, the case managers connect people to off-site services they may need such as health care, food assistance, and others.   For the proposed project at Venice-Dell-Pacific, we will create a detailed service plan once the size of the project is determined and the specific groups of people to be housed are identified.  We will share that as part of the project proposal.

Will these services be available to any homeless person in the area regardless of whether they have permanent housing at the site?

Neither HCHC nor VCH offers services to homeless residents at our permanent supportive housing sites – our services onsite are for formerly homeless tenants and other low-income tenants that live in the property.   VCH offers our homeless services at our main site on Rose Avenue and our storage site on the Boardwalk – neither of which are housing sites.   We imagine this property would operate the same way and only offer social services to tenants, not currently homeless residents, though we aren’t yet at the stage of development where all of the uses have been determined.

Who exactly is this housing for?

We are in the process of developing a draft proposal that would include specifics about who will be targeted and/or eligible for the affordable and permanent supportive housing at this site.  Permanent supportive housing tenants must be homeless at the time of lease up, and can include families or individuals, people with a variety of disabilities, people with chronic health conditions, people who are chronically homeless (for more than one year and a disability), Veterans, and some other specific groups.  Affordable housing generally serves people earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, and can target individuals or families, seniors, lower wage workers, artists, and others.    All residents in affordable and permanent supportive housing are tenants, with legal tenant rights and responsibilities.

Of the existing parking spaces that will remain, what percentage will be used by staff and tenants?

The parking requirement in the City program is that all of the current public parking spots remain open and available to the public.  The development will generate additional parking requirements for residential tenants, staffing, potential commercial uses, or other uses – all of that parking has to be provided in addition to the current public parking.

Will the development generate a profit and/or are there private investors in the project expecting a return on their investment? 

No.  The development team consists of two non-profit affordable housing developers, and this team will develop, own and operate the project under the non-profit model.   There is an initial private investment into most affordable housing developments through a tax credit program.  The tax credit is the immediate return on the investment; there are no additional financial benefits to those investors.

Will the rents be subsidized at the current market rate in Venice? 

No.   In affordable and permanent supportive housing, there is a rent cap on each unit and an income cap for each tenant of each unit.  The maximum rents that can be collected are set Citywide and Countywide by the government funding programs.  For example, the maximum rent that can be collected on a 2-bedroom unit intended to house a family making 50% of the area median income is about $900 – no matter if the unit is built in Venice or in Lancaster.  As another example, the City’s Housing Authority only subsidizes an individual household’s rent for a 1 bedroom unit up to a maximum of $1,300, no matter the neighborhood.   No government funds would be allowed to subsidize rents at anywhere near the current market rent for vacant units in Venice.

Can you provide information for those of us who support the project to be better able to answer questions asked by friend and neighbors?

Yes.  We are trying to do that through our ongoing Q&A responses, and we will be updating written materials people can use on an ongoing basis.  Please feel free to reach out for specific information needed.

Please share the proposal submitted to the City by the VCH-HCHC development team.

We will share the specifics of our original response to the City’s RFP/Q at the same time we present our draft project proposal(s) that are informed by community input.  We are working very hard to ensure that only accurate and up to date information is being circulated so that the community has the information they need and want, and that everyone knows they have time to give input to the draft proposal.  Therefore, we will share our original concept along with our actual draft project proposal in late February.

Is the development team planning to build 200+ units at this site? 

Although community engagement is in process and there is no draft project proposal at this time, it is very unlikely our proposal would include 200+ housing units.   In our preliminary analysis of the land size and other project requirements, as well as adhering to the Venice Specific Plan requirements, this site could accommodate a maximum of 140-150 units.   THIS IS NOT OUR PROPOSAL.  This is the maximum number of units we believe the site could accommodate, which will vary based on unit size, open space, and other variables being considered through community input and ongoing analysis.

Where will beach-goers park?

All existing public parking must be included in any development proposal for this site, so beach-goers will have access to the same number of parking spaces.

Community engagement activities and outcomes to date, as of January 19, 2017:

Activities as of Thursday, January 19th include:

  • 8 small group meetings hosted and attended by Venice residents and/or business owners, with 74 total people participating
  • 1 large group meeting, a visioning workshop, attended by more than 133 people, with over 325 individual comments left in writing directly by attendees or documented by note takers
  • 370 flyers distributed in person at the Farmer’s Market and door-to-door in the immediately surrounding neighborhood, informing people of the potential affordable housing development and inviting them to the visioning workshop
  • 2 tours and discussions of existing affordable and permanent supportive housing in Venice and Mar Vista, with 6 people participating
  • 1 presentation/discussion at a local housing and health coalition, with 38 social service providers, faith leaders and Venice residents participating
  • 3 small group meetings with formerly homeless and other low-income tenants of existing affordable and permanent supportive housing in Venice and Mar Vista, with 25 people participating
  • Establishment of an email update list, with weekly updates sent on the project, with 125 people currently participating
  • Establishment of a dedicated email address for comments and questions, with 16 comments or questions submitted to date

As of Jan 18, we have notified up to 600 people about the potential project and how to contact us to get involved (“up to” 600, because there is some overlap among the activities listed above).  We have received input directly from about 250 people (again, an estimate as there may be some overlap).  We also have more than two weeks of additional activities scheduled for this initial stage of community input.  We are in the process of compiling, organizing, and coding all of the notes and other written comments received, and will provide a full report of the results.  We won’t make any decisions about the draft project proposal until the first round of activities are completed and all of the information is compiled and analyzed.

We have heard the most input and interest in the following categories, each of which will be reported on and reflected in the draft project proposal(s) at the end of February.

  • Density
  • Importance of the Venice Specific Plan
  • Exact number and size of housing units
  • Target groups and affordability levels of all housing units
  • Inclusion of housing for both individuals and families
  • Safety and security of the site
  • Safety and security of the streets, sidewalks and surrounding community
  • Traffic
  • Parking
  • Open space
  • Inclusion for the surrounding community/Shared uses for the site
  • Importance of design and respect for community context
  • Community-based retail and/or micro-enterprise on the site
  • Incorporation of arts and artists

Please continue to weigh in on these or other topics related to the potential development.  We will add categories as needed as we continue to hear input. The development team is working to be expansive and inclusive in our community engagement and hope to build an interactive process for involvement throughout the entire development process.  All suggestions are welcomed.  As always, please send additional ideas, comments, questions and concerns  to venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org.  And have a good weekend!


VCH Lists Events for Coming Week Regarding Venice Median

Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing, listed the events for the coming week regarding the the Venice Median. RSVP for building tours so enough vehicles can be provided. Dennison said she will be providing biweekly updates starting 21 January.

Westside Coalition Meeting
Thursday, January 19th from 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 1343 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA

Building Tours and Discussions
Visit existing developments of all three project partners, and engage in follow up discussions about what could be included or avoided at the Venice-Dell-Pacific site.

Venice Community Housing developments
Wednesday, January 18th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Meet at 720 Rose Avenue, Venice, CA and send required RSVP to Iisha Jones at ijones@vchcorp.org.

Hollywood Community Housing Corporation developments
Friday, January 20th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, OR
Saturday, January 21st from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Meet at Views at 270, 1516 N. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027 and send required RSVP to Malen Rodriguez at mrodriguez@hollywoodhousing.org.

As always, feel free to email venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org with comments, ideas, concerns, or questions about the site/project.

We will be sending the first bi-weekly update on the results of community engagement to date next Friday.

Developers/Architects Meet with Venetians to Discuss the Venice Median Project


Comments By Angela McGregor

There was a large turnout for this meeting, and residents arrived expecting to be able to ask questions and give feedback to the developers, as well as be given some idea of what was to be built. However, the developers — VCHC, HCH, Eric Moss — all insisted there is no plan, even though the documents soliciting proposals for this development (as presented to the crowd by Darryl Dufay) clearly stated that, in order to enter into their agreement to develop the project, they needed to submit at least some idea of what they were proposing to do.

Public discourse was effectively shut down by the way the meeting was organized: Tables were set up around the room labeled “public safety”, “density”, “parking” and so forth and attendees were advised to go to them and scribble their concerns/suggestions on swaths of butcher paper. No one was notified in advance that it would be done this way and so no one came prepared to offer this type of input. I asked two questions of one of the table monitors:

1) You say the comments given on these sheets will be taken into consideration in the planning of this development. If that’s the case, how will they be weighted? What if someone simply doesn’t want another homeless housing development in Venice? Will they be given equal consideration?

2) Why wasn’t the concept of this project first brought before the VNC’s LUPC committee and the VNC, the way any other project being developed in Venice is?

He had no answers for either, but did scribble my questions onto the butcher paper.

Linda Lucks (VCHC representative/former VNC President) later approached me and let me know that there would be “many meetings like this” at which the community would “come together” to design an acceptable project based upon community input. After this, the proposal would go before the LUPC, the VNC, get an EIR, and a Coastal Development Permit. She said this would take “years”.

She also confirmed that all residents of this development will come through the Coordinated Entry System. This means that Venice’s Homeless will not be given priority in being housed in this building, and in fact, we may actually be “importing” chronically homeless and disabled individuals from all over Los Angeles to reside in it.

Cartoon Man Delivers His Cartoons and Comments at Venice Median Meet

Cartoon Man handed out his cartoons and fact sheets on the Venice Homeless Projects Thursday at the Venice Median meet.

Cartoon Man wanted to clarify his position in that he wants people to realize the imbalance of the homeless project placements throughout Bonin’s CD11 district.

Just to clarify, I strongly believe Venice has a important role to play in addressing homelessness. I just think the burden should be distributed evenly across Bonin’s district and other parts of the city. Bonin has 9 initiatives planned for Venice, but none for the Palisades, Brentwood, Mar Vista or Westchester. And he is ramming his plans down our throats without proper communication or process. The interests of Venice renters and homeowners need to be taken into consideration. Bonin is not doing that.





Venice Median Building Group Meet the Venetians


Venice Community Housing, Hollywood Community Housing, Eric Owen Moss Architects, and Yasmin Tong Consultant meet with Venetians to get their input regarding the project that will go in the Venice median between North and South Venice Blvd and between Dell and Pacific.

Darryl DuFay, the first chair of the Land Use and Planning Committee for the Venice Neighborhood Council, seemed to sum it up for many by calling it all a “sham.” “You cannot provide input for something that you know nothing about,” he said.

The one thing that is known about the project is that the project must provide for the existing parking which is 177 spaces. Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing, said the project would consist of affordable and permanent supportive housing. It has been said the project would follow the Venice Specific Plan.

The meet was held 12 January at the Westminster Elementary School and had probably more than 200 people. Tables were set up throughout the gym for people to address certain issues such as safety and number of units. The crowd was for the most part against the project because they said there was nothing known about it other than it was required to provide for the existing parking.

Some participated in providing what they wanted the building to do and to look like.

See Angela McGregor’s story and comments.

See Cartoon Man’s cartoons and comments.

Dennison of VCH Starts Development Process for Venice Median with Townhall 12 January

Venice Parking

The Venice Median is that area between North and South Venice Blvd and Pacific and Dell Ave.


Venice Community Housing Corporation Director Becky Dennison will start the development program for the Venice Median with a Townhall meeting 12 January 6 to 8:30 pm at the Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.  Dennison has also listed the January thru March development schedule.

The City Council approved the development team of Venice Community Housing (VCH), Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (HCHC), and Eric Owen Moss Architects 14 December to start “a community engagement process to form an affordable and permanent supportive housing development on the parking lots bounded by North and South Venice, and Dell and Pacific Avenues.”

“The City’s program requires housing with appropriate services on the site, as well as the continued inclusion of all current public parking,” according to Becky Dennison.

“It is now up to the community and the development team to explore what exactly this site could or should contribute to Venice! Our goal is to develop a project proposal that makes a substantial impact on the neighborhood’s housing and homelessness crisis and contributes positively to surrounding neighborhoods and Venice as a whole.

To receive future updates on community engagement activities and results, sign up here.

Our initial community engagement process will focus on January through March 2017.  The schedule is as follows:

Townhall meeting, with breakout groups
Thursday, January 12th
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm at Westminster Elementary, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA

Westside Coalition Meeting
Thursday, January 19th
9:00 am – 10:30 am at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 1343 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA

Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Committee
Monday, January 23rd
6:30 PM
Venice Community Housing, YouthBuild classroom, 720 Rose Avenue, Venice, CA

Please note we are working within the standard Venice Neighborhood Council process to ensure full participation within the Council and its Committees.   All VNC agendas are publicly posted, and the format of the meetings are established by the Council and Committees.  Please keep looking for updates on other Neighborhood Council meetings.

Door-knocking and flyering in adjacent neighborhoods
Friday, January 20th from 9 am to 12 pm
Friday, January 27th from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm

Flyering and Input Gathering at Venice Farmer’s Market
Friday, January 6th and 27th, 8 am – 11 am, 500 Venice Blvd (in approved area near entrance/exit)

Building Tours and Discussions
Visit existing developments of all three project partners, and engage in follow up discussions about what could be included or avoided at the Venice-Dell-Pacific site. Please note that RSVPs are required. If more dates are needed, we will add them.

Venice Community Housing developments
Wednesday, January 18th
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Saturday, January 28th
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
For both VCH tours, meet at 720 Rose Avenue, Venice, CA and send required RSVP to Iisha Jones at ijones@vchcorp.org.

Hollywood Community Housing Corporation developments
Friday, January 20th
11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Saturday, January 21st
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
For both HCHC dates, meet at Views at 270, 1516 N. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027 and send required RSVP to Malen Rodriguez at mrodriguez@hollywoodhousing.org.

Eric Owen Moss Architects studio and buildings
Thursday, January 26th
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Meet at EOMA Studio, 8557 Higuera St, Culver City, CA and send required RSVP to Joshua Herman at herman@ericowenmoss.com.

Dedicated Email Address (valid through at least March 31, 2016 and possibly ongoing)
Email venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org with comments, ideas, concerns, or questions about the project. Emails will not be responded to individually, but summaries of input and Q&A’s will be shared regularly with those that register their emails for responses.

Please note this list of activities is a work in progress. We are open to suggestions for other opportunities, and will post additional dates and venues as they are confirmed throughout January and February. Also please share invitations to meetings or other events at the dedicated email address and we will try and confirm representatives to attend. Lastly, we have been invited to present and discuss at meetings not open to the general public. In our community engagement results, we will be transparent in including all sites and venues where the site/development was discussed and input was gathered.

VCH Happy to be Designated for Venice Median

Venice Median Site

Venice Median Site

Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCH) along with Hollywood Community Housing Corporation will be partnering to build housing on the Venice Median — that area between North and South Venice Blvd on Pacific and west of Dell.

“We don’t have more details at this point, because it is not yet approved,” according to Director Beck Dennison, “but once it is approved, “we will be doing community engagement to finalize the details of the project.”

The VCH e-newsletter read:  “With the passage of Proposition HHH and with overwhelming voter support, VCH looks forward to developing more permanent supportive housing in our Westside communities and working with our development partners to ensure 10,000 units are built throughout all neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles!

“As a next step in building housing and reducing homelessness, VCH is proud and excited to share that we, with our partners at Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and Eric Owen Moss Architects, have been recommended for approval to build affordable and permanent supportive housing on the city-owned parking lots at Venice and Pacific Boulevards. The recommendation has to be approved by City Council before it is finalized, and the recommendation is based on a preliminary project concept. If Council approves, we will immediately announce opportunities for community input, engagement, and feedback to inform and create the final project proposal. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time with any questions – your support for VCH and this project is much appreciated!”