Entitlement for The Venice Tree House

LA City Code Enforcement has slammed the hammer down hard on the Venice owner of of a sweet kid’s tree house citing an endless string of ‘violations.’ This is not one of those ‘forts’ we built as kids that we put together with any scrap piece of wood we could find to hammer a nail into. No, this is one of those exquisite little thoughtful structures made of bamboo which has been happily in use by the neighborhood kids all these years without any problems whatsoever.

Here in Venice, consultants pour thru property history records searching for ‘entitlements’ allowing ‘grandfathering’ clauses to be cited as justification for parking requirements.

‘Grandfathering’ rules in Venice. Right now, Local 1205 has a hearing scheduled to obtain an ABC license and expand to sidewalk seating plus add rear patio seating despite not having one parking space for all the seats they already have. The consultants have found some parking ‘out’ which ‘grandfathers’ the total lack of parking.

And there’s more — The building now undergoing big expansion next to the new Pork Belly just ‘legalized’ 3 parking spaces thereby filling an additional parking requirement when these parking spaces have actually been in parking use for 40 years! The old records never reflected these parking spaces so now this owner can ‘create’ parking officially and meet a parking requirement. And then there is Gjelina who has expanded and expanded without adding one parking space through the use of ‘grandfathering’ with the help of their restaurant consultant sleuths. Gjelina takes up so much parking in the Electric Avenue neighborhood that residents are on a perpetual parking hunt. The old World Gym is now doubling the size of the property plus adding a restaurant. It will do this with half the parking which would be required if old parking rules were not ‘grandfathered’ and that new freebie obtained for parking ‘credits’ for bike racks if their plans get approval from the city.

Who is going to pour through the records and find an old rule which will ‘entitle’ the
owner of the tree house to keep her kid’s play house? Let’s hope she gets help from
Councilman Bonin. Surely one of his legal eagles will find that holy grail of tree house
entitlement.

We hope they will.

The Hotel – Who’s minding the store?

It’s our store. There does not seem to be anyone out there taking a real look at this city-block-long 92 room hotel with spa, and at least 3 restaurants and bars. Before long, this developer LLC will slam our neighborhood with an endless stream of delivery trucks to service the restaurants and 92 room hotel. You already know about non-stop garbage trucks and how they squeeze in and out of our alleys. Imagine the future when this project gets fully built.

The developers are dancing through the permitting process hoping to get away without providing any off street parking for all their service trucks. The current plan allots approximately 4 parking spaces on Broadway at the curb for all service trucks.

Folks, remember we have a school right in this location. We have many kids who walk down Broadway to get to and from Westminster School. The developers are shutting their eyes to the risks they are building into our neighborhood with the inevitable congestion on Electric, Westminster, Broadway and Abbot Kinney. They are blind to the damage that the truck congestion will do to our neighborhoods. Trucks waiting for a place to load and unload will be forced to wait on the residential streets adjacent to the hotel as they stage to get into its so-called ‘loading dock.’

The developers are attempting to ‘buy’ their list of desired exemptions and exceptions with a few low income units carved somewhere into this project. Is the developer offering to build units for a few people in lieu of actually dedicating land to manage their trucks a fair trade for the residents of Venice? Topping this potential madness is their plan to bust the height limit with a 4th floor!

We are concerned when these LLC developers sell their bonanza project to Four Seasons or Marriott and are rich and long gone, the residents will be left with a nightmare of epic proportions. We hope the city is minding the store.

Say something! Do something!

Councilman:
mike.bonin@lacity.org

Venice Neighborhood Council:
LUPC@venicenc.org
Board@venicenc.org

‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…’

Notice the real change on Abbot Kinney? No, we don’t mean the newest trendy corporate-sponsored shop. No, we don’t mean how much the stupefying price was on the latest real estate deal. We mean the people! We mean the disengagement of the new ownership from the street. These are not touch-and-feel-owners. The new owners are LLC’s with investors whose focus is one thing — maximizing the cash return to their investors. And who can blame them? They paid big bucks to buy into this street. But at what cost? What is the cost to the actual community — to its residents?

Now that we are super cool and a destination spot in every guide book and investments are straight out of the Wild West old rules of engagement are gone.

The cost of these changes are not merely that things cost more to buy on the street with all our precious new shops paying huge rents. No, it is the cost of the decisions by these LLC’s which do not and never will make decisions which consider the soul of Venice. Why? Because in the world of LLC’s, there is no soul.

So, if you actually live here and are feeling your little fingers hanging precariously on to the mountains made of soul which used to surround our extraordinary community, you are very worried.

You can see the prices going up and the congestion increasing daily. Is anyone out there looking after the community? What ImagineVenice sees are corporate land and restaurant consultants pouring through the city rules to find obscure exceptions and freebies to max out their properties without a whit of concern for likely long-term damage to the community. On the table right now is the old World Gym building proposing to remodel and double its size without providing the additional parking new project rules would require. Why? Because LLC’s don’t live in Venice. They don’t drive the congested truck-packed streets or look for parking spaces. How will the new proposed hotel LLC feel without a dedicated loading dock — how will it feel when trucks back up on to Abbot Kinney making their 24/7 deliveries and their trash truck rolls over some child on his way to school on Broadway, 4th or Electric?

Remember neighbors, it is your neighborhood. Don’t start believing that LLC’s have souls.

It is up to us to look after our community. We are its soul.