Protect Our Coastal Zone







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 its behemoth size and the ill intent and misrepresentation of facts manipulated by a Councilman intent on desecrating our community in order to push through his political agenda.

Important to know, the Coalition for Safe Coastal Development is the only organization supporting the legal effort to stop this ill-conceived monstrosity from ever breaking ground.

We have worked diligently for the last 6 years to fight this (initially with the help of Fight Back Venice, now all legal action is being handled exclusively through the Coalition). We are well positioned to respond with all the information gathered meticulously throughout this process.


Council approved the project in late June. Fortunately, being in the Dual Coastal Zone, the project must also obtain approval from the Coastal Commission. This will be 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. We are thrilled to finally be heard! Coastal has issued a “notice of incomplete application to the applicants”. (Full notice in document library). Also, the Coalition had pointed out to Coastal Staff the incomplete file submitted by City Planning for the City Coastal Development Permit. For example, the file lacked the approved/stamped “Exhibit A” plans that should have been provided by the City. We also 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 submitted are knowingly inaccurate and incomplete.

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

August 16th was the deadline to file an appeal opposing the project. Our Coalition filed a thorough, detailed appeal as did several other groups and individuals in the community. Biggest surprise was the Coastal Commission Director himself filing an appeal!
(See Coastal appeal in document library)

Coastal Commission added a motion on their September 8th agenda to extend time for consideration of the Land Use Plan amendments from 90 days to up to a year. With overwhelming support from the community, and 114 people writing in to support the motion to give Coastal proper time to evaluate the innumerable risks of the project, the vote to extend was unanimous. Coastal has up until November 23, 2023 to review the Land Use Plan amendments.

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

We are optimistic but fully on guard to prepare for the developers’ next move.


We continue to challenge the project on many legal levels. Of heightened concern is that the 2.64 acre site was leased away to developers through a “Disbursement 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 takes over the lease of the land and all the entitlements. The catch here- this new LLC will turn around and sell ownership to another new entity (yet to be named) who will then own 99.99% of the project with investors benefitting from lucrative tax credits.

This was pushed through the Homelessness and Poverty Committee in May and then rushed through City Council just in time to meet funding application deadlines. We have challenged this action in Court. We do not believe the DDA was legally executed and are also asking for an injunction re: the use of taxpayer funds to further this project.

(Full lawsuit in Library of Documents)

Meanwhile, our original lawsuit is in play and making its way through the court system.

We’ve amended the original complaint to include the latest issues and our legal team is organizing the administrative record due for submission in November. This will require continued legal costs.

The causes of action in this lawsuit cover:

  1. Violation of CEQA (environmental review)
  2. Violation of Subdivision Map Act (requiring independent CEQA Review when joining 40 lots)
  3. Unlawful Spot Zoning
  4. Violation of Coastal Act and Certified Land Use Plan.
  5. Violation of Mello Act and other affordable housing requirements.
  6. Violation of Fair Hearing Constitutional Due Process Requirements
  7. Violation of 1st Amendment Rights
  8. Failure to Conduct required AB 52 review consultation, Los Indios de San Gabriel
  9. 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)


6/22/22 – City Council approved the Project for a 2nd time (after being tied up for 6 months correcting errors in land use plan and 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.

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 Disposition and 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 shockingly 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 file 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.


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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.


Through the nonstop effort of dedicated volunteers and with the financial support of our community, initial legal actions have been filed. With your continued support, we will stop the Venice Median Project and reclaim our precious coastal community open space.

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. Half of these units will be reserved for “artists”. The remainder of the units can be for those earning up to $90,000/year.
  • 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.



  • 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.



  • 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)