Posts Tagged ‘los angeles’

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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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!

ORGANIZATIONS COMMEMORATE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
BY HOLDING WEST COAST DAYS OF ACTION
FOR HOMELESS BILL OF RIGHTS

Los Angeles Action to be Held in Venice Beach


HBR_Details_Flyer[1]

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
Jose.romero-navarro@lacity.org /Joey.romero@lacity.org
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
Joey.vasquez@lacity.org
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

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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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

VENICE RV

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.

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Justice Committee & Media Group    http://www.justice.wetnostril.net

Darlene Knoll has lived in her RV on the street for the past 8 years. She has been harassed and intimidated by LAPD to the point that she sought sanctuary in a church parking lot, afraid to be on the street. Darlene has become an activist, trying to protect the homeless in Venice but she is afraid of being targeted by the new LAPD Task Force that has been towing vehicles and arresting their owners.

June 21, 2010
Breaking News
by Tibby Rothman, Venice Paper

Venice– Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has added his name to the California Coastal Commission’s in rejecting an agreement that would pave the way for permit parking in Venice.

His actions add a new player to the highly contentious permit parking battle. A debate that has seen charged rhetoric from those at its edges but calm discussion and disagreement amongst the preponderance of ordinary Venetians both for and against. While some Venetians see permit parking as a tactic to end the practice of mobile homes plaguing the area, others have protested it as an unwelcome layer of expense and bureaucracy.

On June 17, Villaraigosa rejected city council approval of a plan that could lead to permit parking in the area. (The Coastal Commission had rejected the same plan a week earlier.) His measured letter to the council stated that homelessness was a city-wide problem that needed to be addressed on a city-wide level. He also sought to differentiate between those on the streets because they had been hit hard by economic conditions, and those who simply sought it as a lifestyle.

The development pits the Mayor’s office against City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who had sided with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation on the issue. The foundation is part of a law suit which supports permit parking in the area. The foundation is a strange bedfellow for supposedly liberal Venice. Amongst its other issues, the foundation is supporting legal efforts to repeal the recently passed federal health care reform bill.

Here’s the text of the Mayor’s letter to the City Council stating his position:

June 17, 2010

Honorable Members of the Los Angeles City Council
clo City Clerk
City Hall, Room 395
Re: CF 10-0843. Venice Stakeholders Association v. California Coastal Commission; City of Los Angeles v. California Coastal Commission; Settlement Agreement

Honorable Members:
Today I return without signature Council File 10-0843, which approves a settlement agreement that would allow for the initiation of overnight parking districts (OPDs) in the community of Venice in West Los Angeles.

I am taking this step in light of the June 10, 2010 decision of the California Coastal Commission to reject the City’s latest application for the establishment of Overnight Parking Districts in the Venice coastal zone. This decision has the practical effect of voiding the settlement agreement and making the City Council’s action moot.

Though technically a parking issue, the underlying issue is the growing number of residents that dwell in vehicles on our City streets. As a City, I believe we have the ability to differentiate between the needs of those legitimately suffering from economic dislocation who are in need of safe places to park and help in obtaining services and housing, and those who are taking unfair advantage of both the system and the historically welcoming tradition of the Venice community by creating nuisances and sometimes committing crimes. We can combine compassion and pragmatism with appropriate measured law enforcement to avoid the further victimization of both the housed and the un-housed populations of Venice.

Homelessness and economic dislocation are issues in every part of Los Angeles, not to mention the region, state and nation. I applaud Councilman Rosendahl for his efforts on issues of homelessness and support his proposal to create safe-haven public parking areas for people who are willing to accept homeless-related services. Programs in Eugene, OR and Santa Barbara, CA have been very successful at bridging this gap. Such a program could provide a number of locations that are dispersed throughout the region, where services could be provided and allow for people to impose overnight parking restrictions without taking away some of the last housing options that some people have.

In this case, and all over our City, it’s time we embraced the challenge and began working toward real solutions, not those that push problems from one block to another, from one neighborhood to another. We can do better, and we must do better.

Therefore, I am returning this file without signature and hope that we can work together to find an appropriate solution for this important and growing problem.