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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Groups Listen/Question Architect On-Site of Venice Median Project Regarding the Project

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The proposed Venice Median Project between North and South Venice Blvd and between Dell and Pacific.

Venice Community Housing (VCH) had another meeting with community members for “community input” regarding the Venice Median project.  This time it was on site and the architect or his affiliate answered questions posed by members of the groups as they walked the site.

Eric Owen Moss, architect, was asked questions regarding parking.  “Will you be able to adhere to the Venice Specific Plan as stated in the RFQ/P with all the parking requirements this project entails,” one person asked.  His answer was that if the RFQ/P said he had to adhere to the Venice Specific Plan, he would, but maybe he would have to “ask for a favor.”

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Group 1.  Several groups were sxtarted and at various times.  Q&A was to go from 10 am to noon.

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Group 2.

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The canal that divides the property.  One person made a comment on internet regarding Kip Pardue’s story saying that all this had been cleaned up.  This photo shows property worse than Pardue’s photo.

VCH to Have On-Site Discussions of Venice Median Parking Lot Saturday, 10 to Noon

Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing, lists the upcoming events and answers questions posed by the community members during the week.

Community Design Event/Site Visit

Saturday, April 15th
10 am – 12 pm
Venice-Dell-Pacific parking lots: meet at the corner of North Venice and Pacific
*Please note that you can come by anytime, and 30-minute small group walks/discussions will start every 15 minutes between 10 am and 11:30 am.
This event provides an opportunity to visit and walk the development site, give input on site layout and design, and allow the architects to hear directly from the community before preparing their preliminary design(s).

Flyering and Door-Knocking
Friday, April 7th and 14th
9 am – 11 am
Farmer’s Market and residences near parking lots

Community engagement dates are updated on an ongoing basis and we are also continuing to attend community meetings as invited – please feel free to invite us to come to any formal or informal group of neighbors or stakeholders.  Email venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org to extend an invitation and/or give any other suggestions on expanding community engagement.

Questions and Answers

Considering the exorbitant cost per unit, why not build out of retired transport storage containers? These units can be had for about $4,000 – $5,000 per unit, offer structure, can be mounted on top of each other, and are being used in NYC for micro-living units for taxpaying citizens, and in Boston as well.
Based upon initial research and feedback during the community engagement process, it is likely that the uses and design of this property will prevent the development team from using retired storage containers as housing. However, it is our understanding that the City’s housing team is researching effective implementation of this option for Los Angeles.

All Q&A to date are available at vchcorp.org.

Please email venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org to submit any new questions, as well as other feedback.

Dennison Lists VCH Upcoming Venice Median Events and Answers Questions

Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing, lists the upcoming events and answers the latest questions, all regarding the Venice Median project.

Events

Community Design Event/Site Visit
Saturday, April 15th
10 am – 12 pm
Venice-Dell-Pacific parking lots: meet at the corner of North Venice and Pacific
*Please note that you can come by anytime, and 30-minute small group walks/discussions will start every 15 minutes between 10 am and 11:30 am.

This event provides an opportunity to visit and walk the development site, give input on site layout and design, and allow the architects to hear directly from the community before preparing their preliminary design(s).

Flyering and Door-Knocking
Friday, April 7th and 14th
9 am – 11 am
Farmer’s Market and residences near parking lots

Community engagement dates are updated on an ongoing basis and we are also continuing to attend community meetings as invited – please feel free to invite us to come to any formal or informal group of neighbors or stakeholders. Email venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org to extend an invitation and/or give any other suggestions on expanding community engagement.

 

This Week’s Q&A

Has the specific zone change and/or floor area ratio (FAR) been decided? 
No, not yet.

Will some of the rental units be occupied by people with mental illness and if so what support services will be on site available to them?
It is likely that some of the units will be home to people with mental illnesses.  At this time, we are including 4 full-time case managers for the site and we are building a multi-disciplinary social services collaborative that will include mental health professionals on and off site.

How is a disruptive tenant evicted, and will it be a long drawn out process or a quick solution? 
Both VCH and HCHC occasionally have to evict tenants that are negatively impacting the peaceful enjoyment of the building for others, or otherwise violate their lease.  We follow required legal procedures and engage outside counsel to ensure that we follow the relevant laws and ordinances.

Will there be 24-hour security?
At this point, we are including 24-hour on-site staffing.  All staff are trained and prepared to address security issues.  The complete security plan has not yet been prepared.

Are all of your properties in Venice?
No.  Venice Community Housing also has properties in Mar Vista and Del Rey and Hollywood Community Housing Corp. has properties in Hollywood and other neighborhoods throughout the County.

Is Venice-Dell a new property?  How do I apply?
Yes, this will be a new property.   Application procedures will be announced later in the development process, and will include specific steps for low-income artists and other low-income households.  Units designated for people who are currently homeless will be filled through the coordinated entry system, so individuals and families should ensure they have completed the process to be in that system.  Individual questions about application procedures will be answered at venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org.

Answers Were Given at last VCH “Community Input” Meet

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Venice Community Housing (VCH) had another meeting of the community for “community input” for the Venice Median project. Next meet will be held 15 April on the site. The meet was held at the VCH office on Rose Tuesday evening and about 15 attended.

Questions Asked
People mentioned that the project, which consists of two buildings in the North and South Venice Blvd median, should be scaled down both in height and density, that the percentage of PSH (permanent supportive housing) units to affordable should be minimalized, that the Venice Canals maintenance area next to Grand Canal, was not shown, and that the final design should be more friendly, more reflective of the surrounding neighborhood. The question was asked if this project would follow and be committed to the Venice Specific Plan and Becky Dennison, director for VCH, said it would.

Dennison answered the oft asked question regarding selling the property and building somewhere else to provide more housing for those in need. She said that the VCH had a two-year commitment to come up with a plan. After that, she said it could be sold but that, she said, is up to the City.

Parking for Affordable and PSH Different
The question was asked regarding parking. Dennison said parking requirements for affordable and PSH units were less than the normal parking requirements of the Venice Specific Plan. She said that PSH units would be 1/2 parking space per unit and affordable, would be one. Based on this criteria, 68 PSH units and 68 low-income affordable-type units would require 102 parking spaces. The project is required to replace the 188 existing beach parking spaces. This totals 290. This figure does not include parking for any commercial spaces that might be added to the project. The figure of 450 had been stated before so the 290 figure gets closer to what can work.

Dennison made the statement that provisions would be made for the houses on the North Venice Blvd to enter Dell and South Venice Blvd.

Tenent Selection for 136 units Differs
Of the 136 homeless units, 68 will be permanent supportive housing (PSH); 34 will be Affordable units for low-income artists; and 34 will be for affordable low-income wage households. People wanted to know about the selection process.

The Coordinated Entry System (CES) will be used for the selection of tenants for the 68 PSH units. The CES is a question and answer summary of the person’s history and needs. Those most needy, based on CES, will be selected first. CES prospects are selected from County’s Service Planning area 5 or SPA5, which services the cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Malibu, Santa Monica, and the communities in Los Angeles Council District 11 of Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista, West LA, Venice, etc. The Affordable unit selection will be by advertising for the available units.

Will this remove former Venice residents from street; Will this eliminate homeless from Venice streets
Residents have made it clear that they want these projects to be offered to Venetians who are homeless. This is very contentious subject with residents of Venice. There are Venetians who may be homeless somewhere. The people on the streets in Venice are not from Venice; they are transients from all over the United States. Others assume these costly projects will end homelessness in Venice as Councilman Mike Bonin stated. The CES application taken in Venice will show they are from Venice even though they may have lived in North Dakota the day before. So whether they are transients on the streets of Venice or former Venice residents, selection will still be based on CES need.

Provide Input, Not a Speech
At these meetings everyone is afforded the opportunity to be heard. It is a basic misconception by some at these meetings that those who live near, or even not near, the project and make comments are against helping the homeless.

“To ask questions, make suggestions, and ask for clarifications strengthens the project,” said Darryl DuFay.

“There is an erroneous judgment call that prevails during these discussions and this should be stopped or filtered,” said Reta Moser. “Those making long statements why they like the project or give “How I helped the homeless” testimonies, not only take time from those who sincerely want to provide input or ask questions, but they try to lay a guilt trip on those asking questions. The program says “provide input.”

Dennison Lists Coming Events and Answers More Questions

By Becky Dennison, Director of Venice Community Housing

Tour of VCH properties
Thursday, March 23rd
1 pm to 3 pm
Meet at 720 Rose Avenue, Venice
PLEASE RSVP to Iisha at ijones@vchcorp.org

Community Input and Q&A Session on Preliminary Program (available at www.vchcorp.org)
Tuesday, March 28th
7 pm – 8:30 pm
720 Rose Avenue, Venice

Community Design Workshop
Saturday, April 15th
10 am – 12 pm
Venice-Dell-Pacific parking lots

Community engagement dates will be updated on an ongoing basis and we are also continuing to attend community meetings as invited – please feel free to invite us to come to any formal or informal group of neighbors or stakeholders. Email venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org to extend an invitation and/or give any other suggestions on expanding community engagement.

Questions and Answers

What is the timeline of the next steps for developing this site?
Please reference the final pages of the powerpoint to review unanswered questions and next steps, available at http://www.vchcorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Venice-Dell-Pacific-Presentation-3-9-17.pdf. We will continue to gather feedback on the preliminary program through early April, and determine a final set of elements that we’d like to include. Design will start in April, and will include feedback from the interactive, on-site design workshop on April 15th. It is our goal to present an overview of our proposal, including design and financing strategies, to the community in June. We will then begin the formal approval process, including a development agreement with the City, seeking entitlements, and public hearings and approvals. We don’t yet have an estimated timeline for the public approval process.

I recently read an article that had diagrams and a great deal of info, but they did not mention the number of stories these structures would be. Can you please provide me this information?
We are starting the design process in April, and should have preliminary information in May about height, size and other design elements. Design workshop(s) and other design-related community engagement opportunities will be announced in the weekly emails.

What has changed from your original concept submitted to the City?
To date, several changes or additions have been made, including: a slight reduction in the total number of units; permanent supportive housing serving families in addition to individuals; a change in unit mix from all 1 bedrooms to a mix of studios and 1 and 2 bedroom units; the inclusion of low-income artist housing and community arts space; ground floor usage east of the canal to incorporate live-work space for artists and contribute to the emerging Venice Arts District; the inclusion of social enterprise/job training as a part of the community-serving retail; isolating public parking primarily on the west side of the canal instead of mixing parking uses on both sides; site layout and design elements that respond to heavy traffic (more detail to be developed); a focus on innovative tools to prioritize people currently homeless in Venice while adhering to fair housing regulation; and incorporating and prioritizing shared space and shared uses between tenants and the larger community(ies).

All Q&A to date are available here: http://www.vchcorp.org/venice-dell-pacific-faqs/. Email venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org to submit any new questions.

Preliminary Design for Venice Median Revealed

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Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing (VCH), presented a “preliminary vision for the Venice Median Parking lot—that area between North and South Venice Blvd and between Pacific and Dell—Thursday at Beyond Baroque.

Dennison gave the presentation to a standing-room-only audience (approximately 100) at the small theater. The slide presentation, which is duplicated here, was designed to show the audience what has happened so far, the design that architect Eric Owen Moss Architects has proposed, and what is forthcoming with the project.

The design is a conceptual view of what VCH proposes based on what the community wants, as well as to provide affordable housing, and as well as the requirement to incorporate the existing 188 parking spaces on the property. The existing, required parking space numbers have changed from 177 to 188.

Moss has split the property into two sections– buildings and spaces– and refers to them as east and west of the canals. The ground floors for both east and west buildings will consist of parking. In addition the ground floor for the west will have commercial space and the east will have arts. The canal areas on one or both sides will have community art, as well as provide for public open space. After that the core of both buildings will be parking and the exterior will be affordable/psh housing, followed by a rooftop green space.

Dennison said she would announce next week the upcoming community engagement opportunities, send answers to new questions received, and include an estimated timeline for finalizing the proposal and design for the site.

Dennison asks that any comments or questions be sent to venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org and she says “please feel free to invite us to existing community meetings to make the presentation in person and/or gather comments and feedback.”

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Dennison Lists Upcoming Events for Community

By Becky Dennison, Director Venice Community Housing

Venice Community Housing, headed by Becky Dennison, lists upcoming community events. These events are to acquaint the Venice community with the projects, tenants that the Venice Community Housing manages in Venice.

Saturday, January 28th — 10 am – 12 pm, Tour of Venice Community Housing properties

Meet at 10 am at 720 Rose Avenue, please rsvp to ijones@vchcorp.org

Saturday, February 11th — 12 pm – 3 pm, Barbeque/mixer and tour of VCH properties, meet current VCH tenants and neighbors, 650 Westminster Avenue

We are still working on the community engagement schedule for February, which will include an event in/near the parking lot as well as at least one meeting to present the overview of our draft project proposal(s) reflecting community input to date.  Both of these meetings/events will occur toward the end of the month, and we will get dates out soon.

Throughout February, we are also continuing to attend community meetings as invited – please feel free to invite us to come to any formal or informal group of neighbors or stakeholders.  Email venicedellpacific@vchcorp.org  to extend an invitation and/or give any other suggestions on expanding community engagement.

More information about the results of community input will be shared next week, and a report of all results to date will be shared along with the draft project proposal(s) at the end of February.

 

Dennison Answers More Questions Posed by Members of Community

The following are the questions Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing, answered this week regarding the Venice Median Parking lot project. These are questions from the community.

What are the specific groups of people that housing units can be legally dedicated for, both in affordable housing and permanent supportive housing?
Permanent supportive housing (PSH) provides affordable housing with wrap around social services to formerly homeless individuals and families. Under current regulations, PSH units can be specifically dedicated for the following groups: chronically homeless people, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, people with or families including a person with mental illness, people with chronic health conditions who are high utilizers of the County health system, seniors, Veterans and families.

Note: Chronically homeless refers to individuals or heads of household that have a disabling condition and have been homeless continuously for at least 12 months or on at least four occasions in the last three years, where the combined time of occasions is at least 12 months.

Affordable housing generally serves individuals and families with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI) for Los Angeles. Under current regulations, affordable housing units can be specifically dedicated for the following groups: extremely low-income households (making up to 30-35% of AMI), very low-income households (making up to 50% of AMI), low-income households (making up to 60% of AMI), seniors, families, and artists.

Will the rents be subsidized at the current market rate in Venice? What are the specific rent and income limits for affordable and permanent supportive housing units?
No, the rents will not be subsidized at the current market rate in Venice. 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 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a key source of financing for affordable rental housing. Each year a state agency, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC), publishes maximum incomes for the residents (income limits) and maximum rents the landlord may charge (rent limits).
Most recent maximum income limits are here: http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/rentincome/16/income/post20160328.pdf
Most recent maximum rent limits are here: http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/rentincome/16/rent/post20160328.pdf

Will there be on-site property management and/or other staff at the new development?
Yes. California Code of Regulations, Title 25, Section 42 states that if an apartment building has 16 or more units, then a responsible person is required to live on site (usually a highly trained resident-manager). As the number of units increase so do the staffing/residence requirements. Additionally, social service staff work on-site in affordable and permanent supportive housing, as well as maintenance staff and possibly other support staff. The development team will present the proposed staffing as part of the draft project proposal, for both on-site and support staff.

Who funds the supportive services provided in permanent supportive housing?
A large variety of public and private funding sources, including the LA County Departments of Health and Mental Health and private foundations. There is a ballot measure on the March 7th ballot for LA County, Measure H, which would increase the sales tax by ¼ cent to fund services in permanent supportive housing, in order to make the increased development from November’s Measure HHH more successful.

How many units will be rented and how many will be free?
Affordable and permanent supportive housing is planned for this site. All affordable and permanent supportive housing units are rented, none are free.

How many affordable and permanent supportive housing units does Venice Community Housing have in Venice now?
Venice Community Housing owns and operates 93 affordable and permanent supportive housing units in Venice. Of those, 43 are general affordable housing, 42 are permanent supportive housing, and 8 are crisis housing units for homeless families. Venice Community Housing owns and operates an additional 123 affordable and permanent supportive housing units in the Mar Vista and Del Rey communities.

Dennison Adds 24 January to Venice Median Discussion

By Becky Dennison, Director of Venice Community Housing

This email is to announce an additional date for community engagement related to the potential affordable and permanent supportive housing development at the parking lots at Venice-Dell-Pacific.

Next Tuesday, January 24th at 6:30 pm at Venice Community Housing, 720 Rose Avenue in Venice, we will hold an Informational Session to answer community members’ questions about the development team and the process for development at Venice-Dell-Pacific.

Based on input received to date, we understand there is a need for a question and answer session.  We want to be sure that we answer remaining questions to clarify what the process has been to date, the process going forward, and help people get the information they want in order to give meaningful input on any potential project.  Topics could include:

 

  • The characteristics and past experience of the development team
  • Non-profit community development corporations:  What are they and how are they different from for profit developers?
  • The process for the City’s Requests for Proposals/Qualifications in the Affordable Housing Opportunity Sites (the program that approved the Venice-Dell-Pacific site)
  • Details about affordable and permanent supportive housing: Who can be housed?  How is it financed?
  • Information about existing affordable and permanent supportive housing developments in Venice and throughout the City
  • The future public approval process for any proposed development at this site
  • Other questions and topics of interest to attendees

 

Please note that we will not be able to answer questions about what we are proposing to develop on this site, as there is no specific proposal at this point.  As a reminder, the City’s program requires any proposed development to include affordable and permanent supportive housing as well as all existing public parking.  For details beyond that, we are in the process of preparing a draft proposal, based on the results of community input, and plan to have that ready sometime in February.  We will hold additional meetings and informational sessions when there is a specific proposal to consider and provide feedback on.

 

 

 

 

Becky Dennison Answers Some of the Questions Asked at Venice Median Meet

Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCH), answered some of the questions Friday that people were seeking at the Thursday meet regarding the Venice Median. She said she would continue to update information.

What Exactly Has Been Approved by the City?
In December 2016, the City approved the Venice-Dell-Pacific site to be included in its Affordable Housing Opportunity Sites Program, and has approved Venice Community Housing (VCH) and Hollywood Community Housing Corp. (HCHC) to pursue an affordable and permanent supportive housing development on the site. The City’s program also requires that any development proposal include all existing public parking spaces. In January 2017, the City, VCH and HCHC entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) for the site.

What Has Not Been Approved by the City?
The City has not approved any final project proposal. Once a final project proposal is prepared by the development team, it will have to be approved through all of the regular public approval processes with the City, including the Planning Commission and City Council, as well as the State’s Coastal Commission.

What Exactly Is Being Proposed for the Site?
We are in the process of soliciting community input to prepare a draft project proposal for an affordable and permanent supportive housing development. As of today, there are two main things known about what will definitely be included in the project: 1) Affordable and permanent supportive housing, and 2) All current public parking spots.

Who Is Housed in Affordable and Permanent Supportive Housing?
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), or other target 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.

What Is Not Known about the Development Proposal Yet?
The number of housing units, the affordability levels of the units, and the specific groups to be housed (i.e. Veterans, people with disabilities, families, etc) has not yet been decided. Other amenities to include in the development (i.e. arts spaces, green spaces, community-serving retail, etc.) have not yet been decided. No design decisions have yet been made. Based on this initial phase of community engagement in early 2017, the development team plans to have draft proposal(s) for review and comment in February or March. There will be additional community input gathered on the draft proposal, and then a final proposal

Will the Site be Developed as a Homeless Shelter?
No. The City’s program requires the development of affordable housing. Also, the development team’s missions are to develop permanent, affordable housing. This means that the people who live in the housing planned for this site will be long-term tenants and pay rent.

How Does the County’s Coordinated Entry System (CES) Work?
The CES system created centralized wait lists for permanent supportive housing throughout LA County. Although the CES system is Countywide, the wait lists are regional. This site is in Service Planning Area 5 (SPA 5), and therefore would receive referrals for permanent supportive housing tenants from the SPA 5 wait list, which includes people who are currently without housing and living in Westside communities. CES is not one Countywide wait/referral list.

Why Should We Build Affordable and Permanent Supportive Housing in Venice and Not Other Communities?
Affordable and permanent supportive housing are primarily being built in other communities. There are more than 8,000 permanent supportive housing units (PSH) operating Countywide, and only 42 of them are in Venice. In other Westside communities, Santa Monica has more than 350 PSH units and Del Rey has at least 85 PSH units. The large majority of PSH units have been produced in communities in Downtown Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, and the Valley. There hasn’t been significant affordable housing production in Venice since the 1990s.