Edition 4
April 17, 2013

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!


Venice Parking Update

ImagineVenice continues to emphasize the need to make some sense out of Venice’s parking chaos. Our proposals are simple, inexpensive and not political dynamite — and are likely to bring real relief from the immense parking pressures affecting our community.

ImagineVenice Proposes:

Parking for workers on Abbot Kinney is a desperate need. There are more than 100 workers who need parking between Hal’s, Casa Linda, Abbots Pizza, Abbots Habit and Gjelina alone. They now take up most the dedicated parking lot spaces behind Abbot Kinney and squeeze into the adjacent residential neighborhoods.

1. We propose re-grading the ‘Centennial Park’ area on the median strip at Abbot Kinney and create a dedicated permit parking lot for workers at a reasonable monthly cost.

2. We urge completion of all of the parking lots already dedicated and funded behind Abbot Kinney and install 4 hour meters on all of them. This is a simple low-cost solution and will immediately provide the shops and restaurants with continuous rapid turnover of parking spaces.

3. We urge the installation of 2 hour meters on Abbot Kinney increasing diner and shopper parking availability. Meters should also reduce the hit and miss parking enforcement aggravation.

4. We support Preferential Parking and Restricted Overnight Parking district choices because such districts are a block by block neighborhood choice determined by a 2/3rd vote of the residents.

5. And lastly, we urge the city to consider building a parking structure on the median strip east of the Venice Library. A structure would expand the parking lot already there and absorb many of the beach goers whose cars fill our residential streets. Besides greatly reducing the summer parking impact on our residential streets it would provide good overflow parking for Abbot Kinney.