Archive for the ‘LUPC’ Category

On April 5, 2016 the Venice Coalition to Preserve our Unique Community Character (VC-PUCC) Led a Walking Tour Illustrating Their Lawsuit Against the City of Los Angeles’ Flagrant Disregard for Its Own Planning Policies

SaveVenice

Venice, CA: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 – Acclaimed land use attorney, Sabrina Venskus, explains in detail the “Save Venice”  lawsuit to community members and media on a walking tour through Venice highlighting, not gardens, but over-sized construction that has relied on Los Angeles Planning Department’s illegal development approval procedures.

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES CASE NO.:
BC 611549 – COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF FOR VIOLATIONS
OF PLAINTIFFS’ CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS UNDER THE CALIFORNIA
CONSTITUTION (Cal. Const., art.1, para.7), THE CALIFORNIA COASTAL ACT (Pub. Resources Code, para. 30000 et seq.), THE VENICE LAND USE PLAN (Los Angeles Planning and Zoning Law), and CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE para. 526a

For years, the City of Los Angeles Planning Department has ignored planning and zoning laws regulating the Venice Coastal Zone. The City has approved huge development projects through the “Venice Sign Off” or VSO procedure, which effectively allows developers to side-step their responsibilities under the California Constitution to construct large developments without first notifying neighbors or holding public hearings regarding potential projects.

The City of Los Angeles Planning Department’s VSO procedure fails to ensure that developments comply with the Venice Land Use Plan requirements that all development respect the mass, scale, character and landscaping of existing neighborhoods. Additionally, the City of Los Angeles Planning Department has illegally issued hundreds of Coastal Exemptions, which has enabled developers to by-pass important protections imposed by the California Coastal Act.

As a result, huge construction projects have spread across Venice, substantially and irrevocably destroying the character, density, and charm of Venice neighborhoods; blocking airflow and sunlight; destroying vegetation; obstructing picturesque views; and eliminating affordable housing units in this fragile and unique coastal zone.

These projects have completely blindsided residents, who often do not realize that construction has been approved on their streets until bulldozers arrive at 7 a.m. and it’s too late to raise their voices. Today, the Venice Coalition to Preserve our Unique Community Character says enough is enough. It’s time for the City to honor Venice
residents’ Constitutional rights, comply with the law, and respect the neighborhoods and communities that make Venice unique.

HELP US SAVE VENICE – DONATE TO THE SAVE VENICE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND –

save-venice

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE SAVE VENICE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND – THANK YOU!

***

Advertisements
On April 5, 2016 the Venice Coalition to Preserve our Unique Community Character (VC-PUCC) Led a Walking Tour Illustrating Their Lawsuit Against the City of Los Angeles’ Flagrant Disregard for Its Own Planning Policies

Loss of community diversity, low and moderate-income families, affordable housing, quality of life, and unique Venice character cited as outcome of City’s development approval process.

On Tuesday, April 5th, starting at 635 San Juan, Venice, members of The Venice Coalition to Preserve our Unique Community Character (VC-PUCC) took community members and media on a walking tour through Venice highlighting, not gardens, but over-sized construction that has relied on Los Angeles Planning Department’s illegal development approval procedures.

The use of Venice Sign Off (VSO) and Coastal Exemption (CEX) permits have allowed developers to eliminate affordable housing and unique characteristics of Venice protected by the California Coastal Act and Venice Specific Plan, often without input from community members.

A lawsuit filed by the law firm Venskus and Associates on behalf of VC-PUCC asserts that 230 VSO permits and 265 CEX permits were approved in Venice in the 20 months between February 2014 and October 2015, many of them in violation of existing planning policy. Despite the history of activism in Venice, these new development projects have completely blindsided residents.

“Nobody but poor people wanted to live in Venice,” said plaintiff Laddie (Celia) Williams. “Now our Craftsmen bungalows have been turned into Lego-boxes and there are fewer and fewer low and middle-income people left in our community. But Venice is waking up to what the City has been doing.”

Huge construction projects have spread across Venice, destroying the character, density, and diversity of Venice neighborhoods; eliminating affordable housing units and pushing low and middle-income residents and communities of color out of Venice, blocking airflow and sunlight; destroying vegetation; and obstructing views in this fragile and unique coastal zone.

The tour, led by VC-PUCC members and attorney Venskus, will begin at 635 San Juan Avenue, which had 3 rent-stabilized units on it before the building was destroyed after receiving both VSO and CEX permits – and has been at the center of controversy for over a year. The tour will continue to Santa Clara Avenue, where longtime resident Alma Collins will share the story of her former home, where she was sandwiched between two big box homes – and on to a walk street where a tragic story accompanies the looming transformation of a small bungalow into two 2900 sq foot homes.

“It’s time for the City to honor Venice residents’ Constitutional rights, comply with the law, and respect the neighborhoods and communities that make Venice – and Los Angeles as a whole – unique,” stated Alma Collins.

HELP US SAVE VENICE – DONATE TO THE SAVE VENICE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND –

save-venice

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE SAVE VENICE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND – THANK YOU!

021p

CityWatchL.A.: VOICES OF THE PEOPLE–The big-bucks three-story duplex looks like a boxy alien spacecraft that strayed off course and crash-landed among the row of bewildered 1940’s bungalows in Venice. Standing across the street from this monstrosity, long-time Venice resident John Galbraith tells a visitor: “This kind of construction is happening all over Venice. This isn’t even the worst of it.”

Still, this duplex in the 600 block of Broadway Street has gained a certain notoriety. (Photo above.)

A recent lawsuit cited the structure as a prime example of a dysfunctional system at City Hall. The lawsuit, filed by a Venice advocacy group, alleges Los Angeles city officials have illegally permitted hundreds of properties to be built or significantly remodeled in Venice.

“The laws are on the books to deal with projects like this but no one’s enforcing them,” Venice yoga instructor and former land-use attorney Max Sloves said as he stopped riding his bike to talk to a visitor. “Venice is so far away from City Hall. We feel disconnected. These buildings go up so fast that before anyone knows it they’re built.”

More

save-veniceDONATE TO THE SAVE VENICE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

645 E Santa Clara Ave Venice CA 90291-VSO and CEX

From Laddie Williams:

Driving down Santa Clara Ave. I noticed this building that is being demolished and wondered if this came before LUPC?

I know this property was owned by the Brown Family for well over forty years, it should be protected by the Mello Act and why is it that these properties are being approved?  This property was sold in the Summer of 2015, and had an occupant who lived in the back of the property and it is a Coastal Exemption (CEX) and a Venice Sign Off (VSO). I know that he accepted money but he had resided there well over twenty years.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The only permit on the gate was Los Angeles Building and Safety (see pictures above).  With this property being in the coastal zone I thought it needed Coastal permission before work could occur.  It appears a second story will be added to a single family unit in the coastal area?  This needs to be reported to the Coastal Commission and the Director of Planning, it violates the Coastal Act and the Venice Specific Plan and the Venice Land Use Plan.

This is one example of properties that are being demolished in Venice but there are many more.

HELP US SAVE VENICE – DONATE TO THE SAVE VENICE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND –

save-venice

CLICK TO MAKE DONATION

Saturday May 2, 2015 at 733 Brooks Ave Venice
5:00 PM until 11:00 PM
Entry charge $20.00 – Food drinks and entertainment

save-venicePLEASE SUPPORT VC-PUCC IN THIS EFFORT
TO PRESERVE OUR UNIQUE COMMUNITY CHARACTER FOR GENERATIONS TO COME

As many of you know, neighbors and activists in Venice have been fighting a series of violations of the planning and zoning codes in Venice, perpetrated by the City Planning Dept., that are destroying the character and charm of Venice neighborhoods, while at the same time, eliminating existing affordable housing.

So, we think it’s time to bring a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles for violating State, City and Local Coastal Planning and Zoning laws with regard to development projects in Venice. Many of the developments are being planned as small lot subdivisions and “mansionization” projects, that are beginning to proliferate and threaten our special, unique community of Venice Beach.

The lawsuit will be brought by Sabrina Venskus, of Venskus & Associates, the law firm that has successfully represented a number of landmark cases to date: a key attorney representing environmentalists who forced Playa Vista’s developers and the Los Angeles City Council to reduce the scope of the luxury housing and commercial project threatening the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem.

Faulty findings in small lot subdivision (SLS) and mansionization projects that do not comply with the Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan’s mass scale and character stipulations, and other zoning regulations, must be challenged and overturned if we are to have a chance to SAVE VENICE!

Together, as citizens, we need to continue to work to stop the City’s illegal conduct, so we can preserve affordable housing and the quality of life of existing residents and businesses in our precious Venice community.

So, it’s time to put on the gloves and take it to the next level.

SEE YOU AT THE SAVE VENICE EVENT!

If you can’t make it to the event, please consider making a donation online at: http://www.savevenice.me/ and click on the “Donate” button. Thankyou 🙂

March 26, 2015

DENY 259 HAMPTON PROJECT – NO MORE ALCOHOL LICENSES IN VENICE – THERE IS ALREADY AN OVER-SATURATION OF ALCOHOL IN VENICE – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

AlcoholBan

Dear friends and neighbors,

Even though the community WON the 259 Hampton Drive appeal at the WLA Planning Commission Hearing on Jan 7, 2015 — the owner requested a re-hearing, because HE LEFT THE BUILDING BEFORE THE HEARING STARTED!!! Now he’s demanding his RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS! As a result, the project will be reviewed AGAIN by the WLA Planning Commission on April 1, 2015 @ 4:30 pm.

It is time we launched into URGENT ACTION in preparation for this Appeal re-hearing of 259 Hampton Drive — NEXT WED 1st April at 4.30pm at West LA Planning Commission.

Go here to watch video of 1st Appeal Hearing that took place on January 7, 2015 – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4bxvYWxZpRJmJt23sLSX1PCtJizDdj_G

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CAN BE THERE TO TESTIFY OR SILENTLY SUPPORT – and bring a friend /neighbor (or three!) We need as many bodies in the room as we can get to save our neighborhood!

**WE WON THE CASE LAST TIME AND WE CAN AGAIN IF WE ALL SHOW UP!!!**

ASAP- WE NEED TO URGENTLY SEND TWO LETTERS:
Please take just 10 mins out of your busy day to do so. One letter to Mike Bonin, and one to the Commissioners. Please send to ALL email addresses I have listed and BCC me on them, so we can keep it on our case file.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE DEAR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS!!! Remember, together many voices can and DO make a change!

LETTER #1 TO COUNCILMAN BONIN:

mike.bonin@lacity.org
councilmember.bonin@lacity.org

cc:
chris.robertson@lacity.org
cecilia.castillo@lacity.org
tricia.keane@lacity.org

SUBJECT LINE:
DENY 259 HAMPTON PROJECT…. UPHOLD APPEAL: ZA-2012-1770-CDP-CUB

***Please personalize it as you see fit. It will be better if not all letters read the same! Does NOT have to be LOTS of detail. This is a sample letter, with listed points you can pull from. If you live across the alley, say so. If you own across the street, say so. Make it personal as to how YOUR LIVES will be affected!

***Don’t forget to sign your name and address (if you are close by) at the bottom.
————————-

Dear Councilman Bonin,

I request that you OPPOSE the proposed bar/restaurant with full alcohol at 259 HAMPTON DRIVE due for rehearing on Aril 1st. The project is a 2 story, open rooftop bar/restaurant WITH ZERO PARKING, 15 FEET from peoples homes. It has been operating illegally as a sit down restaurant for five years already.

We thank you for coming out in opposition against 320 Sunset, which was the right decision in support of the Venice community. We remind you that this project at 259 Hampton is a mere block and a half away, hence imposes a worse cumulative negative impact on the community and surrounding neighbors.

To quote from YOUR letter of opposition against Sunset, dated 31 October 2014:-

“It is absolutely imperative that we do not sacrifice the sanctity and well being of the existing adjacent residential neighborhoods. The success of one cannot be to the detriment of the other.”

“The noise and other disruption that will result from the operation of this restaurant/bar is an due burden to place on the neighbors across the alley” [and across the road]

“I am deeply concerned that the noise and its impacts from the patio, given the proximity to residences cannot and will not be adequately mitigated.”

[Zero parking]…”does not meet the REAL demand that a project of this scale will generate.”

We find that all of your concerns as quoted for the Sunset project should be applicable to the 259 Hampton proposal. The intensification of this site sets a very worrisome precedent, and is detrimental to our neighborhood for the following reasons:-

OVER SATURATION OF ALCOHOL
* Venice is over-saturated with alcohol licenses already. Four times the allowable limit per ABC. ABC Regulation 61.4 states that there should not be alcohol licenses approved within 100 feet of residential homes, yet this project is 15 feet from residents!

SENSITIVE ISSUES – ALCOHOL
* This project is on the same block as 2 CHURCHES and A HERITAGE LISTED SYNAGOGUE – as well as CHILD CARE and PRE-SCHOOL. This is an essential factor in the dis-allowing of alcohol per ABC, and adds concern re the density and intensification of 259 Hampton site.

INCREASED CRIME
*It is well documented that there is a direct correlation between high density of alcohol outlets and the increase in serious crime. In this census tract, there is almost four times the average crime rate for LA. The LAPD has weighed in that they DO NOT WANT ANY new alcohol licenses in Venice, and THEY ARE PARTICULARLY OPPOSING THIS APPLICATION FOR ALCOHOL AT 259 HAMPTON DRIVE. Venice may be a tourist destination to some, but to thousands of us it is our home.

NOISE NUISANCE
* A bar/restaurant within 15 feet of residential homes can never be truly mitigated from noise unless it is completely sealed on all four sides and rooftop. This is not the case on this project. It is an open air roof and some open sides. There are several homes across a 15 foot alley, and also 35 feet across the street.

ZERO PARKING
* There is NO ACTUAL PARKING. Not even one disabled space. Paying for in lieu spaces does nothing to help the serious parking drought in Venice. Providing parking for patrons is the cost of doing business, and mandated by the Venice Specific Plan. An $18,000 in lieu fee to the city will not take those vehicles off our residential streets and make the streets safe for our families, nor will it serve to green our environment.

TRAFFIC DANGER
* Traffic is already congested in this area, all day every day. Extra car traffic this business will generate, crawling looking for parking on residential streets adds to the danger. Many families and children walk, cycle, and skateboard in this area. To add alcohol and inebriated drivers into this mix is very dangerous.

NIGHT-TIME DANGER
* We should not be deprived of the ability to park close to our own homes and be forced to park 3 to 4 blocks away at night – and worry if we will make it home safely at night. This strips our quality of life and put us in grave danger.

Councilman Bonin, I urge you to act in favor of our, the Venice community’s interests. Please back us up in preserving the sanctity and well being of our neighborhood. We have a right to peace and quiet enjoyment in our homes, and look to you for protecting our rights.

PLEASE DENY 259 HAMPTON.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME…
YOUR ADDRESS…
———————————————————————————————

LETTER #2 TO PLANNING COMMISSION:-
email:- APCwestLA@lacity.org

SUBJECT LINE:
DENY 259 HAMPTON DRIVE, VENICE … UPHOLD APPEALS: ZA-2012-1770-CDP-CUB-1A, and DIR-2010-2932-SPP-1A-REC

***AGAIN- Please personalize it as you see fit.

***Don’t forget to sign your name and address (if you are close by) at the bottom.
————————

LETTER STARTS HERE:-

Dear Commission Executive Assistant – WLAAPC,

Would you please print 15 copies of my letter to follow (for the file, 5 commission members, Planning Dept, ZA Dept, Commission Executive, and City Attorney) and distribute accordingly, in time for the April 1 re-hearing. Thank you in advance.
———–

Dear Commissioners,

I request that you uphold your decision, of January 7, 2015, to DENY the proposed bar/restaurant with full alcohol at 259 HAMPTON DRIVE, which is due for rehearing on April 1st. As you may recall, the project proposes a 2 story, open rooftop bar/restaurant WITH ZERO PARKING, 15 FEET from people’s homes. It has been operating illegally as a sit down restaurant for the past five years.

These are the reasons why this project should be DENIED AGAIN:

OVER SATURATION OF ALCOHOL
* Venice is over-saturated with alcohol licenses already. Four times the allowable limit per ABC. ABC Regulation 61.4 states that there should not be alcohol licenses approved within 100 feet of residential homes, yet this project is 15 feet from residents!

SENSITIVE ISSUES – ALCOHOL
* This project is on the same block as 2 CHURCHES and A HERITAGE LISTED SYNAGOGUE – as well as CHILD CARE and PRE-SCHOOL. This is an essential factor in the dis-allowing of alcohol per ABC, and adds concern re the density and intensification of 259 Hampton site.

INCREASED CRIME
*It is well documented that there is a direct correlation between high density of alcohol outlets and the increase in serious crime. In this census tract, there is almost four times the average crime rate for LA. The LAPD has weighed in that they DO NOT WANT ANY new alcohol licenses in Venice, and THEY ARE PARTICULARLY OPPOSING THIS APPLICATION FOR ALCOHOL AT 259 HAMPTON DRIVE. Venice may be a tourist destination to some, but to thousands of us it is our home.

NOISE NUISANCE
* A bar/restaurant within 15 feet of residential homes can never be truly mitigated from noise unless it is completely sealed on all four sides and rooftop. This is not the case on this project. It is an open air roof and some open sides. There are several homes across a 15 foot alley, and also 35 feet across the street.

ZERO PARKING
* There is NO ACTUAL PARKING. Not even one disabled space. Paying for in lieu spaces does nothing to help the serious parking drought in Venice. Providing parking for patrons is the cost of doing business, and mandated by the Venice Specific Plan. An $18,000 in lieu fee to the city will not take those vehicles off our residential streets and make the streets safe for our families, nor will it serve to green our environment.

TRAFFIC DANGER
* Traffic is already congested in this area, all day every day. Extra car traffic this business will generate, crawling looking for parking on residential streets adds to the danger. Many families and children walk, cycle, and skateboard in this area. To add alcohol and inebriated drivers into this mix is very dangerous.

NIGHT-TIME DANGER
* We should not be deprived of the ability to park close to our own homes and be forced to park 3 to 4 blocks away at night – and worry if we will make it home safely at night. This strips our quality of life and put us in grave danger.

I urge you to act in favor of our, the Venice community’s interests. Please back us up in preserving the sanctity and well being of our neighborhood. We have a right to peace and quiet enjoyment in our homes, and look to you for protecting our rights.

PLEASE DENY 259 HAMPTON AGAIN!!! Thank you.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME HERE…
YOUR ADDRESS…

March 20, 2015

GLOBAL INVESTORS:  FUTURE OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT IN SOCAL COASTAL REGIONS IS IN HIGHER-END RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES [in case you didn’t already know]

These investors are aiming to turn Venice into an enclave for the rich, gentrifying our community with their billions, with no thought for the community and how their ‘investments’ are creating misery and despair for low to middle income residents overwhelmed by mansionization, small lot subdivisions, and new trendy restaurants serving late-night liquor, creating an over-concentration of alcohol and traffic hazards in our neighborhoods. 

In October 2013, Global RE Investment Firm Colony Capital (with investors in China, England, France, Italy, Lebanon, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, & U.S.) invested $50 million in American Coastal Properties (with Pritzker/Vlock Family):

ColonyCapital

In March 2014, American Coastal Properties purchased 714 Hampton Ave for $1.2 million. They believe that the FUTURE OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT in the Southern California Coastal regions over the next few years is in repositioning higher-end residential properties, as opposed to buy-to-rent flips, for which profit margins have been compressed. Finding “up-and-coming” neighborhoods with dated housing stock that can be transformed into architectural design homes or town homes (small lot subdivisions) is their basic strategy, which represents true in-fill development.

AmCoastalProps