Posts Tagged ‘permit’

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


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.

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.





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.




Very creative video to be presented at the CA Coastal Commission TODAY – Friday June 13 – thank you to the Venice Coalition to Preserve Community Character (VCPUCC) and film maker Xaime Casillas for speaking out about Hyper-Gentrification in Venice Beach (stay tuned) –

Mark Ryavec at NOPD Coastal Commission Meeting 2010

Mark Ryavec at NOPD Coastal Commission Meeting

If you live in Venice, CA and you pay attention to local politics – you will, no doubt, eventually come across the name Mark Ryavec.  To some, he is a hero who seeks to gentrify Venice and improve it’s ‘quality of life’; while to others, he is a villain and, some might say, a bigot – who seeks to rid Venice of it’s free-spirited homeless population and install permit-parking on its streets, in an attempt to protect 24 hour street parking for residents only.  How you perceive Ryavec, the man, may depend entirely on which side of the argument you come down on.

But for those who are still straddling the fence, let’s take a look at what we know about Ryavec, the man – courtesy of Google.

To begin with, Mark Ryavec is the president of Venice Stakeholders Association – whose mission is: “dedicated to civic improvement”; and, as such, in March, 2013, filed a complaint to the Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) for an “Investigation of Ethics Violation by Linda Lucks, President of the Venice Neighborhood Council’ (a position that Ryavec has coveted for several years, having run – and lost to Linda Lucks, twice, for the position of president – in the last two local Neighborhood elections).

Ryavec is a leading proponent of Preferential Parking Districts (PPDs) in Venice and has spearheaded a movement to implement Overnight Parking Districts (OPDs) for the past several years.  Twice he, and his supporters, have lobbied the City of L.A. (COLA) and the CA Coastal Commission (CCC) for OPDs in Venice – and twice, first in 2009 and then in 2010 his efforts have been thwarted by those who prefer to keep the streets of Venice free – and open to all – in alignment with the CA Coastal Act of 1976.

In spite of his two stinging defeats at the CCC in 2009 and 2010, Ryavec has drummed up support to continue his lawsuit, started in 2010, which according to the Venice Beachhead argues that: “no Coastal Commission approval is needed in order to establish OPDs in Venice. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, although at first against Ryavec’s lawsuit, changed his mind and joined forces with Ryavec against the Coastal Commission.”

On April 16, 2013 the proposed lawsuit settlement was brought before the VNC monthly board meeting.  Ryavec and a panel of OPD supporters (Arturo Pina, District Director of CD11;  Jane Usher, Senior Advisor to the City Attorney; and Tamara Martin of LADOT) discussed the OPD settlement being proposed to CCC –


On October 15, 2012, according to PRnewswire, Mr. Ryavec announced his candidacy for the CD11 seat on Los Angeles City Council vacated by Bill Rosendahl.  “Formerly a legislative analyst for the City Council and chief deputy tax assessor for Los Angeles County, [Ryavec] said he is running to return the City’s focus to traditional municipal services.”

However, claiming “lackluster community and fundraising support”, Ryavec “quietly” withdrew his candidacy on November 7, 2012 stating:

“When I decided to enter this race I thought that I would be running against Councilman Bill Rosendahl.  He appeared to be confident that he would recover from the cancer that he was battling and run for a third term.

In the end, as we have seen, he has continued to improve but also made the prudent decision to focus on his health and not run.

In very short order, Bill endorsed his deputy Mike Bonin and Bonin immediately announced his candidacy, released the names of a whole passel of campaign co-chairs and endorsements from senior Democratic party elected officials and then reported that he had raised over $50,000 in nine days.  As a former political consultant myself, I have to say, “Well played, Mike.”

Later, on February 8, 2013, Ryavec endorsed former City prosecutor of 25 years, Tina Hess, in the CD11 race, presumably in the hope that Hess would carry on the fight to rid Venice of its homeless population.  As it turned out, Rosendahl’s deputy, Mike Bonin, won the race hands down; and we have yet to see if he will follow in Rosendahl’s footsteps, policy-wise.

Previous to these recent political sorties, Ryavec was always very verbal on the issue of (not) helping the homeless.  For example, on June 17, 2012 he brought a motion before the VNC to step up police enforcement of city codes aimed at homeless people living on Venice streets.


Earlier, on May 17, 2012, he had posted this article on Venice Patch: “Food Giveaways on Venice Beach Enable Status Quo, Ineffective at Helping People Get into Housing” – arguing that feeding hungry people was not a constitutionally protected activity and only served to encourage homeless people to stay in Venice.  Ryavec omits to acknowledge that there is no affordable housing available for homeless people – which is why many remain on the streets.

On March 3, 2012, in an article about a proposed ferris wheel at Venice Beach (opposed by many Venetians), the LAIST reported Ryavec (who never misses an opportunity to push his agenda) as stating: “the wheel could grant Venice the chance to apply with the Coastal Commission for 24-hour preferential parking permits for beach-adjacent residents.”

Ryavec always, it would seem, a law unto himself, has spearheaded a number of attacks on what he considers to be ‘blight’ on the streets of Venice, namely homeless people sleeping on sidewalks and living in vehicles.  And, in April 2012, to get back at those sympathetic to the homeless dilemma, he published a list of names and home addresses of 11 activists, journalists and politicians “who he said shouldn’t mind having the homeless set up tents and sleeping bags outside their doors because they had expressed sympathy for them.”  In fact, he even offered $20 to any homeless person who would set up camp outside their homes.

Back in the summer of 2010, Ryavec started his own personal campaign to rid Venice streets of RVs by lobbying hard “for permit-parking zones that would have locked out many RV dwellers” and claiming “The left here in Venice doesn’t want to see any rules… ’Keep Venice free’ and all this crap. They think there’s something romantic about people living in RVs. This is a marginal existence.”  And, for those unable to afford the high rents in Venice and most of Los Angeles, the only existence they can afford.


Happy Holidaze:

Just a quick word to let you know there’s new news & views on the SOV website:

  • An RV Dweller’s Perspective – He may live in his vehicle, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a good Venice neighbor
  • Video: Assistant City Attorney, Mark Brown, spoke with members of the Venice Boardwalk Ocean Front Walk Task Forcemeeting on Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010
  • VNC Town Hall on December 2nd!
  • …and more at:


    Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice

    July 13, 2010

    Mayor Villaraigosa sent the newly amended oversize vehicle ordinance back to the City Council and the drawing board with recommendations.

    See and download the letter here Oversize Vehicle Ordinace RWS letter (2010-07-13)

    For more go here:

    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.