Protect Our Coastal Zone

Donate to our legal fund to Stop the Venice Dell Project on the Venice Median!

JUNE 24th: City Council Approved the Project for a 2nd time (after being tied up for 6 months correcting errors from a faulty hearing process). Council blindly followed Mike Bonin’s lead and voted 10-2 to approve his Venice Median Project- completely expected and the reason we’re well prepared for the next steps.

NEXT UP:

CA Coastal Commission Hearing- TBD

Most likely late Summer, early Fall - depending on how fast the City tries to push this through. We’ll need everyone to call in, email and attend the hearing if possible. We’ll be reaching out with more info when we have it.

The Coalition will need it’s legal team in full operation for the anticipated appeal and challenge to the decision if more sensible minds don’t prevail.

We are prepared with your support!

LEGAL ACTIONS TO DATE:

6/22/22 - City Council approved the Project for a 2nd time (after being tied up for 6 months correcting errors from a faulty hearing process). Council blindly followed Mike Bonin’s lead and voted 10-2 to approve his Venice Median Project, even with extensive evidence presented by Safe Coastal’s legal team showing Mike Bonin and the developers are hiding costs and misrepresenting facts about the project. Disappointing, but completely expected. Coalition is now preparing for the Coastal Commission hearing, TBD.

6/17/22 - Full Council hearing vote to approve the PLUM Vote. Coalition legal team filed a letter objecting to the item filed as “already heard” with no opportunity for public comment. The project was brought up quickly with Councilman Joe Buscaino as the only “no" in the 9-1 vote. In a stunning turn of events- after general comment when several of our supporters drew attention back to the project, Paul Koretz surprised us by asking to change his vote to a “No”. With less than a 3/4 majority of full council (4 absent, 1 recused, 2 no’s) the item was ordered to be reheard on 6/22/22.

6/15/22 - Full council approved the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA). Even with the Coalition filing a damning analysis in an expert study pointing out serious geotechnical issues that have been ignored for years by the developer. The report showed there is not substantial evidence the Project is feasible on the ground or economically with this revelation of deficient health and safety reviews of the project.

6/14/22 - The PLUM committee didn’t seem interested in responding to our submission of a new geotechnical expert’s damning soils report.

Through a report we recently obtained in public records, we found a 4 ½ year old (2017) Soils Report relied on by Mike Bonin and others last December when the project was approved. Funny thing--the City’s consultant states in the report that it is not to be relied on after 3 years and yet Council relied on the outdated report. Our experts called out the liquefaction risks due to sea level/ground water rise and the pesky fact that the project may not survive even the first 55 years of its 99-year lease.

Still, PLUM ignored all this and, with no questions or deliberation, voted to move the project forward.

6/9/22 - Homelessness & Poverty, by a vote of 3-1, approved a Designated Development Agreement prematurely without approved entitlements or Coastal permits. Joe Buscaino was the only Councilmember opposing on our behalf. The Coalition’s legal team wrote a robust letter pointing out the City had no intention of building the parking plans that were on file along with several other legal flaws. Councilman Blumenfield questioned the City Attorney about these issues during the hearing and was told they would not be discussed in a public forum. Blumenfield went ahead with an “aye” vote trusting he would be filled in later on why he shouldn’t be troubled by our legal concerns.

3/3/22 - Coalition filed amended complaint w/ Native Americans Los Indios de San Gabriel added as petitioners (Their rights to environmental review also stripped by new state law AB1197 targeting only LA and this project).

2/28/22 - Coalition filed “Brown Act Cure and Correct” for City’s lack of due process for hearing and called attention to back dating documents in the council file documents.

2/28/22 - Coalition wrote complaint to City Planning Commission

JANUARY 13, 2022 - The Coalition for Safe Coastal Development formed to filed legal action to stop the insanity. We now look to the Courts for justice to put order back into this reckless plan for coastal development.

DECEMBER 1, 2021 - LA City Council voted to follow Mike Bonin’s lead and approve the Venice Median Project (previously the “Reese Davidson Community", otherwise known as “The Monster”), bypassing all environmental and zoning laws, with incomplete information and without proper review by City Planning.

What Next?

WE CONTINUE TO NEED FUNDING FOR ALL LEGAL ACTIONS- EVERY DONATION HELPS!

We Are:

A Venice based group of concerned community members, working to ensure environmental protections, due process and legal requirements are respected for all new development in our coastal community.

The Coalition for Safe Coastal Development
is a 501(c) (4) California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation.
Donations are not tax-deductible.

What Are We Fighting?

Unscrupulous politicians and developers, changing zoning and ignoring safeguards in protected coastal areas, and putting public safety at risk. The City of Los Angeles is seeking to build a massive concrete mixed-use project (140 units and 420+ residents) at the gateway to Venice beach that ignores nearly every principle of coastal development.

Why?

The most egregious coastal development of all time, the Venice Median Project on the Venice Canals must be stopped.

  • A full environmental review for this massive project was promised when first suggested 5 years ago but never delivered. In our City of broken promises, that right of safety to CEQA review (CA Environmental Quality Act) was stripped away with new law (AB1197) specifically targeting Los Angeles and Los Angeles only.
  • Final insult in the approval process- Councilman Mike Bonin cut the usual City Planning hearing process short and moved this tightly veiled project directly to City Council.
  • City Council voted to approve this project without a legitimate fair hearing and without full knowledge of the development or how it will effect our community.
  • Our community has been shut out. Our elected representatives will not listen or respond to our legitimate concerns.

What Now?

The legal battle has begun!

For 5 Years, a meticulous record has been compiled to document the neglect of public safety, lack of transparency and due process in city hearings.

We have been forced by those who fail to hear us to go to the one place we know we can be heard - a court of law.

After years of no response to our pleas for more information and safe development, we anticipated this moment and are prepared for the legal challenge.

Through the effort and support of committed local residents, the initial legal action has been filed.

Volunteers have worked tirelessly to reach this point.

Now a legal team is needed to seek justice. Please support our cause so we can continue the legal battle and reclaim our coastal community.

Protect our Coastal Zone

Every dollar of your donation goes to the legal action to stop this project.

Venice Median Project

Big business 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

  • 140 units for 420+ residents in two campuses—one on each side of Grand Canal.
  • Twice the size of typical housing projects, but no priority for Venice homeless and no sober living requirement.
  • Project is predominantly two large, partially automated parking towers for which plans have not been publicly disclosed.
  • 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.
  • Project will require commercial zoning … but will be exempt from provisions in the Venice Specific Plan applicable to commercial and mixed-use developments.

Location

  • Largest remaining parcel of open space in Venice.
  • 2.65 acres, one block off of Venice Beach on Grand Canal, encompassing 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.
  • Developers have hired lawyers to seek an exemption from environmental review

Mass & Scale

  • 70-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

  • Plans available to the public show roughly half the parking spaces required under the Venice Specific Plan for a project this size.
  • Secret plans not yet released to the public show the City is planning to use robotic / mechanical lift parking on the roof and against walls shared with residential units.
  • 40% of 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.

Cost

  • More than $1 million per unit with estimated project cost of at least $177 million including land and replacement of existing beach parking.