The Neighborhood 2 Anti-neighborhood Developers 0
The decision was unanimous: 5 – 0 at the Planning Commissioner’s meeting last week.
One of the commissioners had the audacity to look at the city planner and ask “why did you approve this?”
The project is so bad that it received their unanimous vote to support the appeal against the Planning department and Zoning Administrator’s decisions. The 259 Hampton application approval to expand an illegally operating restaurant, approve the sale of alcohol, and permit no parking whatsoever was bad. The Commission saw why a neighborhood was willing to spend six hours at their meeting and their vote showed it.
The ZA and the Planning department ‘deciders’ again chose to ‘interpret’ silence in the Venice Land Use Plan as intent, to favor a bad project. They are blind to the negative effects it would have on its neighbors. The hue and cry from the neighbors and many other Venice residents has fallen on their deaf ears. They continue to go down the same road and approve projects where all the cars are parked virtually. If Planning or Zoning had made site visits and observed actual conditions in this parking deficient and congested neighborhood, and put the residents in first position ahead of the owner applicant and transient tourists, their conscience would have prevented them from approving 259 Hampton.
The neighborhood again came together in big numbers and said enough is enough. They testified before the commission with two sound engineer residents who totally and expertly refuted the “no noise” claims of the applicant.
The ZA and Planning departments need to be reminded that Venice’s noise, traffic congestion and lack of parking should be all that any of them need to consider and start saying NO to applicants. We hope they will now pay attention to what the actual realities are in our neighborhoods and stop looking for ways to game the system, mark the box with ‘X’ and move the application off their desks. They are responsible for the problems caused because of their thoughtless. Approvals are given without a scintilla of regard for the collateral damage those decisions would cause.
It takes tremendous effort and energy to fight bad development decisions already made. The last two ‘victories,’ with multi-department opposition to 320 Sunset and the successful appeal of 259 Hampton should wake up the ‘deciders’ that business as usual is over in Venice. They now must put neighborhoods first.
Activists working to protect Venice’s unique neighborhoods grow in numbers every day. Venice residents are living with the noise, near gridlock on many streets and overall general congestion caused by bad city decisions. No effort is now too much. Residents realize that the only way to get the city to work for Venice is to demand it.