Posts Tagged ‘City Planning’

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!

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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…

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