STOP BONIN FROM MAKING VENICE A PERMANENT HOMELESS HUB

First Hearing on Reese-Davidson Community:

Wednesday, January 13, 9:30 AM

The access information is as follows:
Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device.
https://planning-lacity-org.zoom.us/j/85345357254
WEBINAR ID: 853 4535 7254
PASSCODE: 101696

Participants may also join by phone: 1 213 338 8477 or 1 669 900 9128
When prompted, enter the Webinar ID: 853 4535 7254

The hearing notice is here.

We encourage you to “dial in” and make brief comment in opposition to the project.

Speakers are typically allocated 90-120 seconds.

Suggested talking points are provided below.

The upcoming January 13 meeting is a meeting of the Deputy Advisory Agency (“DAA”) of the Los Angeles Planning Department, which comprises Planning Department staff. The DAA will make a recommendation on whether the Reese-Davidson Community qualifies for an exemption from environmental review under state law A.B. 1197. It will also make certain findings as to whether it is proper to combine the 40 or so existing lots at the proposed building site into two parcels for purposes of construction. The required findings largely involve environmental impacts and impacts on public safety.

In addition, a “hearing officer” from the Planning Commission will take preliminary public comment on whether it is appropriate to exempt the proposed zone change for the building site from environmental review under A.B. 1197 and various other issues.

Once the DAA makes its findings and recommendations with respect to environmental review and lot consolidation, there will be hearings before the Planning Commission, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee of the City Council, and then the City Council itself. We will provide information on those hearings as it becomes available and estimate the City approval process will take approximately four months in total. The project will then go before the California Coastal Commission.

All of the foregoing bodies will rubber stamp the project, applaud the developers and, in some cases, make unfounded personal attacks on those in opposition.

In our view, however, there are numerous unlawful aspects to both the project and the review process and it is, therefore, essential that Venice residents participate actively in the approval process, to build a factual record and preserve as many rights as possible for litigation.

Suggested Talking Points

The following talking points are tailored to the items on the January 13 agenda for the DAA Hearing. They also reflect time limits and the relatively narrow scope of the DAA’s authority. We will provide new talking points, addressing other issues, for subsequent hearings. Of course, you should also feel free to say whatever you like about the project. These are merely suggestions to assist in preparing your remarks (which, again, must be very brief). You can also go to our home page – www.fightbackvenice.org – for more information about the project.

  • This hearing should not proceed at all because:
    • The information that has been provided to the public is inaccurate and misleading. The project plans falsely show a single project with conventional parking in two parking structures. However, there are actually two projects in development: the Reese-Davidson Community, which VCHC is developing, and the East Parking Tower, which the City of Los Angeles is developing. The plan for the East Parking Tower has not yet been provided to the public. All we know is that it will likely be robotic (automated-lift) parking, which is noisy, slow and uniquely unsuited for beach traffic.
    • The City has failed to make the contents of the environmental file for the Reese-Davidson Community available to the public. Approval of the proposed lot combination requires a finding that the Reese-Davidson Community will not have adverse environmental impacts. The environmental file goes directly to that issue and must be made public before the approval process can start.
    • The City has failed to provide documents showing the impact that the Reese-Davidson Community will have on law enforcement and schools. The Reese-Davidson Community is projected to have at least 420 residents, and public records show that VCHC properties have extremely high incident rates. The LAPD and LAUSD have created documents describing impacts on law enforcement and schools. The public must see those before any hearings are held.
    • The COVID pandemic and lockdown have made it unduly difficult for the public to focus on this issue, exchange information, organize and otherwise participate in the hearing process.
  • No exemption from environmental review should be granted because:
    • VCHC publicly promised to prepare an exhaustive Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) for the project.
    • The Venice Neighborhood Council has demanded an exhaustive environmental review for the project.
    • The exemption from environmental review that VCHC is seeking for the Reese-Davidson Community (under A.B. 1197) applies only to supportive housing for the homeless, but less than one quarter of the project consists of supportive housing for the homeless. Plus, the Reese-Davidson community has outrageous design elements—including a 70-foot tower with observation deck—of the sort the legislature obviously did not intend to exempt from review.
    • The supportive housing exemption cannot possibly apply to the East Parking Tower, which is a separate project consisting solely of public parking that has nothing to do with supportive housing.
  • The lot combination should not be approved because:
    • The proposed building site is one of the most environmentally sensitive and environmentally risky locations in Venice:
      • It is at or below sea level, just a block off the beach. There is no place in Venice more vulnerable to sea level rise and Councilman Bonin himself predicted that it will be underwater in 50 years.
      • It sits directly on the Venice Canals, which draw from and feed into the protected Ballona Wetlands.
      • It is in a tsunami hazard zone on a tsunami escape route. A project of this scale will amplify the impact of a tsunami by deflecting waves into existing homes; impede escape; and deprive Venice of a crucial disaster relief staging area.
    • The project will destroy the staging area currently used for maintenance of the Venice Canals, which are on the National Historic Registry, without providing a replacement.
    • The project will adversely affect public safety by:
      • Further straining law enforcement, which has recently experienced severe cuts despite spiking crime rates, with 420 new residents, many of whom have special needs.
      • Permanently locking in grossly substandard streets and sidewalks and moving parking further away from the beach – on a corridor used by more than 10 million beachgoers a year.
      • Preventing the installation of protected bike lanes as called for in LA’s Mobility Plan.
    • The project eliminates the last major open space parcel in Venice and does not comply with the Venice Specific Plan, with respect to height, density, set backs or parking.
  • In general, the Reese-Davidson Community should not be approved because:
    • It is an outrageous misuse of funds that does nothing to solve homelessness in Venice or elsewhere. According to City records, the Reese-Davidson Community will cost $100 million, not counting the value of the 3-acre building site. Yet we are only going to get 68 homeless housing units.
    • It violates the City’s anti-containment policy. Venice, which measures just 3-square miles, currently has more than a dozen new or pending homeless projects, but there is nothing in Brentwood, Pacific Palisades or most other Council District 11 communities. Also, Venice accounts for less than 5% of the land in Council District 11, but 60% of the homeless. The overconcentration of homeless resources in Venice has created a magnet effect. Other communities need to start doing their fair share and the City must stop piling on Venice.

In addition, please:

  1. Send the one-click email opposing the project, if you have not already done so.
  2. Leave a voicemail opposing the project for Ira Brown, LA Planning Department, at 213-978-1453.
  3. Organize distribution of this flyer or this flyer about the project in your neighborhood.
  4. Donate to our legal fund!