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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

VNC Unanimously Passes Parking and Transportation Motion to Provide CIS

The Venice Neighborhood Council unanimously passed the Parking and Transportation Committee’s motion last night (25 Feb) at a special meeting to provide a Community Impact Statement (CIS)  to the City regarding the Venice Median.

Legally the City is required to ask impacted neighborhoods for a CIS but the City did not ask and the VNC decided to provide such since the parking in Venice has been deemed critical.

See previous story for the motion.




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.

VNC Meets Tuesday to Discuss Limiting Oversize Vehicles on Main Between Rose and Sunset

Venice Neighborhood Council will meet Tuesday at 7 pm to discuss oversize vehicles on west side of Main between Rose and Sunset in addition to other items. Meet will be held at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

The agenda did not reproduce. Agenda will be available at the meeting.

VNC Parking and Transportation Committee will Hold a Special Meeting 13 Feb

Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Parking and Transportation Committee will hold a special meeting 13 February, 7 pm, at the Canal Club. The purpose of the meeting is to provide a “community impact statement” regarding possibly losing valuable property to affordable housing when it could be used to help with the parking crisis that exists now in Venice.

This community impact statement is in response to Councilman Mike Bonin’s motion (19-0072)that will go before the City Council to ask for a feasibility study of taking the Venice median parking lot and making it an affordable housing project. The motion asks for City agencies to do the community impact statement and the fiscal impact statement.

The councilman has not asked for the Venice Neighborhood Council to provide a community impact statement in violation of the City Charter, Section 907, which states:

Sec. 907. Early Warning System.
The Regulations shall establish procedures for receiving input from neighborhood councils prior to decisions by the City Council, City Council Committees and boards and commissions. The procedures shall include, but need not be limited to, notice to neighborhood councils as soon as practical, and a reasonable opportunity to provide input before decisions are made. Notices to be provided include matters to be considered by the City Council, City Council Committees, and City boards or commissions.

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 Winter Event for Community Will Be a Hootenanny

Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) will hold its first Hootenanny 16 February, 11 am to 4 pm, Oakwood Park at 7th and California Ave.


VNC to Meet Tuesday, 22 January, Discuss SB50

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


VNC Passes Motion to Request EIR for Venice Median Project

A special Venice Neighborhood Council meeting was held 15 January to consider a motion covering 86 reasons “why Venetians want an Environmental Impact Report for the Venice Median Project.”

Jay Handel, co-chair of the Los Angeles  Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates opened by explaining that an environmental impact report is “What can happen in a neighborhood that is going to affect me.”

The motion passed unanimously so a letter will be sent to  Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Mike Bonin, Vince Berto, Kevin Keller, Johnny Le and the Los Angeles Planning Commission to urge full and formal attention be paid to the items listed in preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed development on the Venice Median (aka Reese-Davidson ‘Community’) project.

The Venice Median project consists of 140 affordable housing units that are planned for the parking lot between North and South Venice Blvd, between Dell and Pacific.

Several items were added to the list, such as request an impact report from fire and police as to how this project would affect their ability to serve Venetians; how would deviating from the Venice Specific Plan affect other construction projects; how would adding more homeless to the community affect drug trafficking in Venice, etc.

These are the items presented and the other items will be added.  EIR Board Special Meeting Agenda January 2019 (1)







VNC to Hold Special Meet Tuesday to Hear EIR for Venice Median Project

Venice Neighborhood Council (VNV) will hold a special meeting tomorrow night  (15 January), 7 pm,  to discuss the motion dealing with the EIR for the Venice Median Project, which consists of the 140 units to be built between North and South Venice Blvd and between Pacific and Dell.

Three VNC Committees Meet to Broaden Scope of Venice Median Project EIR

By Angela McGregor

Last month, Venice Community Housing and Hollywood Community Housing requested an Environmental Impact Report on their proposed Reese-Davidson Community Center for the Venice Median Lot (the initial proposal found here: https://planning.lacity.org/eir/nops/ReeseDavidson/InitialStudy.pdf).

With public commentary due by January 21st on the scope of the report, three VNC committees — LUPC, Neighborhood and Parking & Transportation — met to gather input on the scope of the EIR.

The meeting was chaired by Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Vice Chair George Francisco and VNC Budget advocate Jay Handel opened the meeting with an explanation of the EIR process. Public speakers were encouraged merely to request that the City examine potential issues specific to the proposed development, and not opine on the project’s suitability or economic cost. Melissa Diner, VNC Secretary, typed up the commentary as it was offered. Major concerns included:

1) Lost open space (over 30 mature trees will be cut down, and only 13% of the project is open).

2) Overwhelming mass and scale, with an over-concentration of low-income residents in one densely populated facility, too similar to failed housing projects like Cabrini Green, in Chicago. In the opinions of many residents, the building is simply “overwhelming” with far too many (140) units.

3) The traffic impacts on an area already prone to absolute gridlock in the summer months will be catastrophic. Any traffic studies should include trip counts for residents, visitors and employees. Furthermore, the damp, coastal atmosphere coupled with so much additional traffic makes air quality a major concern as well.

4) The developers have stated the project will take up to four years to build. Three major concerns stemmed from this: 1) Noise levels for adjacent residents during construction 2) The impact of de-watering the site (placing the foundation into the water table) on the adjacent canals and 3) the loss of the existing 188 parking spaces on the site for the duration of construction.

5) The project is in a flood zone, and recent flooding from the canals into Windward Circle imply that the loss of open space with this project might have impacts on flood relief and drainage. It is also in a tsunami zone, and might impair evacuation. Finally, recent projections of sea level rise due to climate change would indicate that the site may well be underwater within a few decades.

6) The surrounding infrastructure is already under stress and could prove inadequate to service a project of this size. There have been recent sewer leaks, for example.

7) Negative impacts on tourism were brought up, as the mass, scale and architecture of this project are contrary to the character of the surrounding neighborhood. The project’s impact on the historical significance and overall character of the nearby canals should be addressed.

At the end of the meeting, after Board comment had ended, these concerns and others were compiled into a motion which will be voted on at a special VNC Board meeting on January 15th.

In addition, a representative of VCH announced that another EIR scoping meeting will be held Monday, 14 January  at 5 pm at the Oakwood Community Center.