2 blocks off the beach, near the base of the Venice Boardwalk, the Venice Median Project – a.k.a. the “Monster on the Median” – is the cornerstone of Bonin’s plan to transform Venice into “Skid Row West” – a cordoned off section of the Westside dedicated in large part to the delivery of housing and services to the homeless.
Last year, Bonin called for “up to 90 small units” on the Venice Median, but the project has since grown to 140 units for 500 residents, plus two multi-level parking structures (one on each side of the Grand Canal) and more than 10,000 square feet of ground-floor “social enterprise” space for operations like Homeboy Industries that either got started on Skid Row or are otherwise associated with homelessness programs.
About half the units are affordable housing, some of which will be reserved for artists. The other half are “permanent supportive housing” for chronically homeless with disabilities, including substance abuse disorders. Extensive services will be delivered on site, but, by law, there can be no sober living requirement.
Bonin’s hand-picked developers – Venice Community Housing and Hollywood Housing – are seeking zoning that will allow them to build up to 45 ft. in places (50% higher than the limits generally applicable to surrounding structures) with setbacks of just 5 ft. from sidewalks. As a result, all “green space” will be on the roofs of the parking structures, which, if Bonin and his developers have their way, will not be accessible to the public … but will provide residents with ocean views.
Bonin claims this massive project – the largest development in Venice since the days of Abbot Kinney – will reduce the homeless population in Venice, but by law, no priority can be given to Venice homeless. In fact, homeless in cities other than Los Angeles – including Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Malibu and Culver City – will have the same legal right as Venice homeless to live in the Venice Median Project.
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