Posted: March 19, 2014 in Gentrification, Oakwood, VNC

NO-VENICE-WAIVERSUpdate from VCPUCC re: the Coastal Commission on Wednesday, March 12, 2014:

A posse from the Venice Coalition to Preserve our Unique Community Character (VCPUCC) headed to Long Beach in the early hours of Wednesday morning,  to ask the CA Coastal Commission (CCC) to reconsider the “de minimis waiver” process that allowed coastal development permits to bypass the full City Planning process.

The group of about a dozen VCPUCC members lined up early outside the CIty of Long Beach council chambers, where the CCC monthly meeting was being held. Each member of the group filled out a speaker card to speak during public comment at the meeting.

Competition from other groups to speak during public comment was stiff, and as so many speaker cards were submitted, and there was only 30 minutes total available for everyone to speak, only one of the group got to speak at the beginning of the meeting.

However, there was an opportunity to speak on two agenda items later in the day that were Venice de minimis waiver applications. The VCPUCC group spoke on both items and persuaded the Coastal Commission to deny all the March 2014 de minimus waivers, and to pull the waiver process from Venice completely, which means proposed developments have to go through the whole City Dept. of Planning (CDP) process.

This is good news because, in the past, developers could apply to the CCC for a de minimis waiver and bypass the laborious City Planning process. Now, they will have to present their projects to the community, go through LUPC and VNC screening process and, finally, have a City Planning public hearing before being given the green light to build.

As many of us know, LUPC and City Planning are part of the problem. We need to monitor both entities to keep tabs on how they are processing developer applications and issuing permits.

We also need to be vigilant about developments springing up in our neighborhoods.

Also, read ACTION PLAN below.

Here’s the link to sign up for advance notice of City Planning Public Hearings for Venice:


As stated at our first meeting, our first priority is to monitor and collect info. on these rogue developments that are springing up in the community. We need photos + documentation:

– that clearly identify the location and the possible violations.

– organized by address and date.

– close-up of possible violations you think are happening.

– from distance for other things we might not even know.

– if there isn’t a posted permit, take photo where it would be missing from

– where there is grading and no mitigation to control dust.

– where there are piles of excavated dirt in road or alley with no cover.

Please sign up to receive Planning notices in the Venice area:

>> Here is the link to sign up for all Planning notices for West LA.

You can look for the Venice section and see if there are any projects coming up on your block or near by.

We can follow the project from the beginning.

If it sounds like a significant project take a photo of the existing house for the record.

We can write to request more information, write letters opposing the project and letters asking for consideration, like a hearing.

These letters do count and if you discover a project in your neighborhood you can check it out and see if there are VSP or Coastal Act violations.

Please email us with info. of developments in your neighborhood – thanks.


12012hCITYWATCH L.A.  ~ LA Mansionization: the More You Stir It, the More It Stinks -

Written by Dick Platkin

HOW THE LAWS FAILED US-On paper the fight against the mansionization of Los Angeles’s neighborhoods has been won. After a decade of tough skirmishes at City Hall and in local neighborhoods, Los Angeles now has legally adopted anti-mansionization planning policies and citywide ordinances. At the policy level, the Los Angeles General Plan, its 35 Community Plans, and the City Planning Commission’s “Do Real Planning” policy declaration all support restrictions on mansionization — the process of real estate speculators demolishing older single-family homes and then replacing them with over-sized, out-of-character suburban-style spec houses.

Another victory was the City Council’s adoption of the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) in 2008 and the Baseline Hillside Mansionization Ordinance several years later.

But, as anyone who drives through vast swaths of Los Angeles can plainly see, the mansionization process never stopped, and it is now in overdrive. Based on these simple, observable facts, the adopted mansionization policies and their implementing ordinances are strictly ornamental.

To, therefore, figure out exactly how the City of Los Angeles still manages to approve McMansions despite these adopted policies and ordinances, anti-mansionization advocates initially determined that the culprit was the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance’s itself. After all, this ordinance was sabotaged by last minute exemptions and bonuses unsuccessfully opposed by the President of the City Planning Commission and the Director of City Planning.

We have since learned, however, that there are two other, little-known processes that assist the construction of McMansions. The first one is Building and Safety’s publicly inaccessible procedures for reviewing McMansion building permits. This is the critical moment when Building and Safety dishes out the bonuses and exemptions that allow the construction of McMansions. The second process is the Department of Building and Safety’s totally deficient – and outright scary — oversight of house demolitions.

While we have little doubt that the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) only works until that moment when local real estate economics reach a mansionization tipping point, we now understand the actual process is more complex. This is why amendments to eliminate those fatal, last-minute BMO loopholes, are only the first step.

The second step is also essential, making the internal review and enforcement processes of the Los Angeles Department of Building Safety transparent to the public. More


Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice —




Los Angeles Action to be Held in Venice Beach


Sign the petition

We the undersigned call for the following:

- an immediate moratorium on Small Lot Subdivisions (SLS) in VENICE, CA

- a denial of all Small Lot Subdivisions currently pending for VENICE, CA

- an immediate moratorium on the “Big Box” mansionization of VENICE, CA

- a certified Local Coastal Plan (LCP) for VENICE, CA

- no building permits to be issued for Small Lot Subdivisions prior to recordation of final map In VENICE, CA

- FULL public notification and participation, as set forth by Federal, State, and Local Law, in any and all proposed developments in VENICE, CA.

Additionally, we the undersigned call for full enforcement of  the California Coastal Act,  the Mello Act, and the Venice Specific Plan, because the cumulative effect of recent development in VENICE, CA is diminishing the quality of life for it’s residents, and negating the purpose of said protections put in place to preserve the Coastal Zone.

The below examples are pending approval by the L.A. City Planning Department:

1)  Proposed 3-lot Small Lot Subdivision in violation of Venice Specific Plan.
Owned by 664 Sunset Avenue LLC 
664 Sunset Avenue Venice CA  90291 /
AA-2013-767-PMLA-SL ZA-2013-768-CDP-MEL**ENV-2013-769-MND

2)  Proposed 3-lot Small Lot Subdivision in violation of Venice Specific Plan.
Claims to be owner/occupy – owned by 664 Sunset Avenue LLC
758 Sunset Avenue Venice CA  90291
AA-2013-1086-PMLA-SL**ENV-2013-1084-MND-REC1 ZA 2013-1085(CDP)(MEL)(ZAA)

Community members are alarmed their phone calls and emails expressing concern and asking questions to City Planning are not being returned.

Here are 3 consistent and repeated ways that the City is ignoring and violating Venice Specific Plan (VSP):

1. City Planning is interpreting the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance (SLSO) to trump the Specific Plan, although the law says that specific plans always trump ordinances. The City is interpreting the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance to allow more units on lots than the Specific Plan allows, and is not requiring any guest parking at all, and is allowing tandem parking that people often don’t use, rather than side-by-side parking.

2. Allowing buildings to be constructed to the maximum possible size even when the proposed building is totally out of scale with the neighborhood i.e. three story buildings that block all of the neighbors’ sunlight in a one-story or two-story neighborhood. The Specific Plan requires an evaluation of the compatibility of the mass and scale of the proposed building with the other buildings in the neighborhood. The Planning Department does not do this, and they have set up a process where there is no appeal.

If the Planning Department continues to get away with this, soon Venice will be all 3-story compounds with very little sun or air between the buildings.

3. The Planning Department is issuing illegal DIRs that blatantly violate the Specific Plan. Then the City says that there’s no appeal because the 14-day deadline has passed. The community has no real notice and no opportunity to respond. The City refuses to send us a .pdf of the DIRs as they are issued, only a mailed copy.

Whereas per The CA Coastal Act.
Section 30116 Sensitive Coastal Resource Areas – Venice has the following characteristics:
b.  areas possessing significant recreational value.
c. Special communities or neighborhoods which are significant visitor designation areas.
Areas that provide existing coastal housing or recreational opportunities for low- and moderate income-persons.
The public has a right to fully participate in decisions affecting coastal planning, conservation and development.

From Section 30250 Location; existing developed area:
“In addition, land divisions, other than leases for agricultural uses, outside existing developed areas shall be permitted only where 50 percent of the usable parcels in the area have been developed and the created parcels would be no smaller than the average size of surrounding parcels.”

Section 30251 Scenic and visual qualities:
“Permitted development shall be sited and designed to protect views to and along the ocean and scenic coastal areas.

Section 30252 (e) and enhancement of public access:
Where appropriate, protect special communities and neighborhoods that, because of their unique characteristics, are popular visitor destination points for recreational uses.”

Sign the petition


Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice —


9th Circuit Court of Appeals Heard Desertrain vs. City of Los Angeles; Looks Like LA City Living in Vehicle Law is Unconstitutionally Vague

December 6, 2013


Pasadena CA, December 5, 2013— The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments today regarding Desertrain vs. the City of Los Angeles, a Venice Beach lawsuit.

The vagueness of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) 85.02, the city ordinance making it illegal to habitate in a vehicle, was the main topic for the oral arguments presented by Civil Rights Attorney Carol Sobel.

LAMC 85.02 was used during a concerted Venice homeless eradication effort. This effort included a special Los Angeles Police Task Force that arrested, towed, ticketed, and threatened homeless people accused of living in a vehicle.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2010 alleging that the City of Los Angeles violated the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case was not successful in the lower federal court, but was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by Sobel.

The three judge panel especially questioned the enforcement criteria and lack of duration for LAMC 85.02. “The City Attorney had difficulty answering the questions posed by the judges” according to plaintiff, Steve Jacobs-Elstein.

Venice is a special coastal community historically known for the diversity of its population; a community known for acceptance and tolerance. It is home to one of the largest free clinics in the country and provides homeless services second only to the skid row area in Los Angeles.

As Venice property values continue to soar, comes an influx of newer residents who can afford million dollar buildings by the sea, and hardships increase for those who can no longer afford to be housed in the community.

Surely, with all this new wealth, better solutions can be created.


Justice Committee & Media Group

Venice Boardwalk Safety Voting

Posted: November 29, 2013 in LAPD, Venice Boardwalk, VNC

November 29, 2013

The Venice Neighborhood Council will hold a special public board meeting 7pm Monday, Dec 2 at Westminster Elementary School at 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd to vote on a number of motions that pertain to public safety on the Venice Boardwalk.  

This summer staff and representatives from The Mayor’s office, the City Attorney, Council District 11, Recreation & Parks, LAPD, LAFD, Bureau of Street Services, DOT, and Bureau of Engineering conducted a site visit at Venice Beach to determine ways to make the areas safer.  A formal Needs Assessment for Venice Beach Public Safety was submitted by the Department of Rec and Parks to LA City Council’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee for approval.  Councilmember Mike Bonin has asked that the Venice community and the Venice Neighborhood Council have a chance to take a position on the assessment before it is voted upon.

Since that time the VNC and its Ocean Front Walk Committee have hosted several public meetings and a town hall to discuss and weigh support for the assessment.

On Monday, November 25 the OFW Committee passed 12 motions that in large part reject many of the city’s recommendations within the assessment, including retractable bollards and security cameras. The committee added several motions, including one to support increased maintenance of the bike path, and one to support the voluntary winter storage program.  The Board will vote on the 12 OFW motions on Monday before issuing its recommendation to Councilmember Mike Bonin and the city.