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PREVIOUS CITY ACTIONS & COALITION RESPONSES

DOCUMENT LIBRARY

WHERE WE ARE WITH THE VENICE MEDIAN PROJECT:

  • The Project is now called the “Venice Dell Project” (after Sonya Reese insisted the developers remove her legendary grandfather’s name from the project- it is no longer the “Reese Davidson Project”).
  • The project is often referred to as “The Monster” because of it’s behemoth size and the ill intent and misrepresentation of facts manipulated by former Councilman Bonin, who was determined to desecrate our community in order to push through his political agenda and vanity project.
  • We’ve revealed the project most recently appears to have had its name changed to “Venice Village” by the current owner/holding company of the development, Hollywood Community Housing, who now holds 99.99% of the project.

WE’VE TAKEN TWO CASES TO COURT:

The original CEQA lawsuit has been heard by Judge Fruin in LA Superior Court. The causes of action are listed below. Note the judge inexplicably removed our Due Process claim which will be addressed on appeal if necessary.

  • Violation of CEQA (environmental review)
  • Violation of Subdivision Map Act (requiring independent CEQA Review when joining 40 lots).
  • Unlawful Spot Zoning
  • Violation of Coastal Act and Certified Land Use Plan
  • Violation of Mello Act and other affordable housing requirements.
  • Violation of Fair Hearing Constitutional and Due Process Requirements.
  • Failure to Conduct required AB 52 review consultation, Los Indios de San Gabriel
  • Failure to proceed in accordance with law in adoption of the June 2022 General Plan Amendment, Land Use Plan Amendment and Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan Amendment

(Full lawsuit in Library of Documents)

AND OUR DDA CASE (Disposition and Development Agreement):

We challenged the project on many legal levels. Of heightened concern is that the 2.64 acre site was leased away to developers through a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA). For one dollar a year for the next 99 years, our last open space in Venice has been leased to the new “Venice Dell, GP, LLC (a new corporate entity comprised of Venice Community Housing Corp. and Hollywood Community Housing Corp.). The new LLC is to take over the lease of the land and all the entitlements. The catch here- this new LLC then turns around and sells ownership to another new entity who will own 99.99% of the project with investors benefiting from lucrative tax credits. The kicker here, it appears that Hollywood Community Housing has become the 99.99% holding partner, leaving Venice Community Housing with only 0.005% of the project. That is what we’ve identified as the Venice “land giveaway” to a Hollywood developer.

The DDA was pushed through the City’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee in May 2022, and then rushed through City Council just in time to meet funding application deadlines. We do not believe the DDA was legally executed and asked for an injunction re: the use of taxpayer funds to further the project.

    COASTAL COMMISSION STILL PENDING:

    Council approved the project in June 2022. Fortunately, being in the Dual Coastal Zone, the project must also obtain approval from the Coastal Commission. This is a serious challenge for Coastal as we’ve called out the many factors that are in direct conflict with everything the Coastal Act was created to protect.

    When the Coastal Commission received the dual zone application, our Coalition immediately pointed out the shortcomings of the project. Coastal has now issued five (5) “notices of incomplete application” to the applicants. (See all notices in document library). The Coalition called attention to the plans for the public beach parking structure, as it is clear the City submitted plans they have no intention of using, meaning the plans the City approved are knowingly inaccurate and incomplete.

    Watch this shocking video from our friends at Fight Back Venice who discovered this flawed parking early on:

    Here are developers’ last parking plans as we know them. Note – this is only half the project, east of Grand Canal:

    Now we wait to see how the developers respond to Coastal’s demands to address their major concerns about the project.

    ABOUT US:

    WE ARE THE COALITION FOR SAFE COASTAL DEVELOPMENT
    A Venice based group of concerned community members, working to ensure environmental protections, due process and legal requirements are respected for new development in our coastal community.

    We’re standing up to unscrupulous politicians and developers attempting to change zoning and ignore public safeguards in place to protect our coastal areas and as a result putting public safety at risk.

    We’re currently fighting to stop the City of Los Angeles from building a massive, mixed-use development at the gateway to Venice beach, that ignores nearly every principle of Safe Coastal Development.

    We are a 501(c)(4) California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation.
    Donations are not tax-deductible. Your personal information is always private.

    THE LEGAL BATTLE IS ON:

    Through the nonstop efforts of dedicated volunteers and with the financial support of our community, we have made impressive progress in court and continue to do so. With your support, we will stop the Venice Median Project in the name of Safe Coastal Development.

    Venice Median Project

    So called non-profit developers Venice Community Housing Corp. and Hollywood Community Housing Corp., seeking to earn multi-million dollar development fees, have been selected by our political representatives to push a project through in a completely unfeasible area. An environmentally sensitive and FEMA designated Flood Zone, with sea level rise in a Tsunami escape route, and built over the nationally historic designated Venice Canals.

    Project Overview

    Project Overview

    • A mixed-use project of 140 total units for 420+ residents and guests in two campuses—one on each side of Grand Canal.
    • Only 7 units designated as “extremely low income” (4 of which will be required to house evicted residents who will be displaced by the development). 68 Units will be designated as “Permanent Supportive Housing” allowing for the exemption from environmental review through new state law AB1197, which targets only Los Angeles. The remainder of the units can be for those earning up to $90,000/year, with half of those reserved for artists.
    • Twice the size of typical housing projects, but no priority for Venice homeless and no sober living requirement.
    • Project is predominantly a large, mechanical lift, infeasible beach parking tower with conflicting plans not fully disclosed to City Council when they approved the project.
    • Community space and “social enterprise” space for the training and employment of homeless and formerly homeless persons.
    • “Texas-Donut Style” architecture in which all residential units share a wall with a parking tower.

    Location

    Location

    • Largest remaining parcel of open space in Venice.
    • 2.65 acres, one block off of Venice Beach, situated on either side of Grand Canal, encompassing the 100-year-old historic Short Line Bridge, in the Venice Canals Historic District.
    • FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area, with projected flooding 8 feet above sea level.
    • Tsunami inundation zone.
    • High water table creating building and safety challenges.

    Mass & Scale

    Mass & Scale

    • 68-ft tower with observation deck at the corner of Venice Blvd. & Pacific.
    • 45-foot parking tower.
    • Minimal 5-foot setbacks on ground floor, with no setbacks at all for upper levels.
    • Massive building footprint, which goes to the edge of the lot on all sides, requires:
      • Demolition of four existing units of affordable housing;
      • Destruction of the east apron and west apron of the historic Short Line Bridge;
      • Waiver of developers’ legal obligation to expand surrounding streets and sidewalks.

    Parking & Beach Access

    Parking & Beach Access

    • Plans available to the public show roughly half the parking spaces required under the Venice Land Use Plan for a project this size.
    • The City is planning to use mechanical lift parking against walls shared with residential units.
    • Existing beach parking will be moved east of Grand Canal, 500 feet further from the beach and parking supply in the area will be frozen for at least 50 years.
    • Streets and sidewalks will be frozen at their current substandard sizes, despite City plans to make the area a “Pedestrian Enhanced District” with extra-wide sidewalks and a “Bicycle Enhanced District” with separate bike lanes.
    • Access to the designated public boat launch to the Venice Canals will be obstructed with no ability to back a trailer down the launch.

    Cost

    Cost

    • Over $1.2 million per unit (avg size 460 square feet), consisting of project cost per developers of $79.8 million (for residential only, excludes cost of all commercial elements of project), plus replacement of the existing beach parking at a cost of approx. $20 million, plus land value of $70 million, divided by 136 affordable units.
    • To be noted, the total cost of the project is $86.0 million (excluding land value and cost of required replacement of public beach parking(, including the $7.1 million cost of the commercial component, which the developers falsely claim is required for the project.
    • Coalition’s land value estimate–for 40 consecutive lots, along the Venice Canals, a block from the beach–logically uses the price of the last empty lot sold in the canals, $1.75 million, x 40 lots, resulting in a conservative $70 million. In contrast, the most recent project pro forma from the developers includes a wildly understated land value appraisal for the site of $3.3 million
    • Also included in the most recent project pro forma: $7.1 million in combined developer and architect fees.

    (See Developers’ project costs in Document Library)

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