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

We hope they will.

White houses, red tile roofs

Why do people live here? Why do they actually choose to buy in Venice? Why do they build their dream house here? And why do they authentically remodel a one hundred year old, tear-down bungalow right next to a new modern mansion on one side of them, and a couple of run-down units on the other side? Why do some grouse as another old bungalow gets torn down on Abbot Kinney as its owner gets ready to build his dream home? Why do people loudly complain about new big homes and the loss of many of its  tiny old bungalows – and about the arrival of “them,” – the celebs, the big-shot writers, the Google tycoon, the new gentry class, the rich and beautiful? You know that person, living right next to you in their own multi-story multi-million dollar new Craftsmen Walk Street home.

At our prices, Venice people can live just about anywhere. They can move to that sparkling beach town 20 minutes south where the police are straight out of “In the Heat of the Night” and they quickly, urgently, move those vagrants and panhandlers on to the next town. That pristine town where there are no ‘dumpster divers’ prowling the alley, or where they won’t come across a homeless guy sleeping in a shop doorway like we do walking the dog early in the morning on Abbot Kinney. They can move to any nearby town where they are not on a perpetual hunt for a parking space near their home.

The cycle of complainers and judgers is repeating itself again. Loud complaints that the Venice Specific Plan isn’t specific enough! They want the city to control just how homes should look here in Venice. They want to sue the city! They want another Board of architectural police who will dictate and decide for you what you can build and how your house must look, you know, just like their house! And they want on that Board!

We have no architectural review board here with their community ‘standards’ and their endless meetings. We have no public meetings here to decide how your house should look, meetings filled with rancor pitting one neighbor against another. We are free here in our Venice. Just follow some basic city rules, come and build or remodel your dream – you are welcome here.

Look around you, look at the cacophony of properties. Big, tiny, tall, some screaming very loudly ‘look at me!’ Bungalows in serious need of paint, actual vintage Craftsman  lovingly restored right next to a Craftsman replica, a ‘Tuscan’ villa, or edgy modern architecture… build it here! You want to tear apart that million dollar bungalow and add another story? Go right ahead! Wild happy colors? Paint them here!

Or, choose conformity, the safety, the predictability of Rancho Palos Verdes or Mission Viejo and live on a manicured street where all the houses are the same height and are all mandated to be only white with the required red tile roof.

Venice is most definitely not a ‘planned community.’ We are unique, we exude that certain vibe, we have an irreplaceable one-of-a-kind ambiance here because we  always welcome a wide range of behavior with open arms. That’s what makes us who and what we are. There is a real sense of place here in Venice. Nourish it and protect it!

Welcome to the neighborhood–all of you!