We’ve been busy–
First, a quick celebration for getting Traci Park elected, woo hoo! We’ve been laying low, letting everyone focus on the election and couldn’t be more thrilled by this victory. We look forward to working with our new Councilmember as we continue to find cause to stop the Venice Median project, but make no mistake- this is far from over!
Many assume having Coastal’s support and a common sense candidate in office is enough to stop the project. Not the case. Once a project is approved by City Council it can’t be reversed without cause. We’re pleased to report, we believe we have found that cause.
We recently filed a lawsuit to challenge the “DDA,” that’s the Disposition and Development Agreement, the final contract and most disturbing part of the City approval process that leased away our public land at the Venice Median to developers for $1.00 a year for the next 99 years!
In a May hearing before the Homelessness and Poverty Committee and then City Council, the DDA was approved unceremoniously, without the Coastal Commission entitlements needed to build the project.
To make this sweetheart development agreement even more sweet for all who stand to profit from it, Venice Community Housing Corp. and Hollywood Community Housing Corp., the non-profit developers who would take in close to $4 million in fees, would hand over the vast majority of the ownership, 99.99%, to a new, still unnamed investor group searching for those coveted tax credits, retaining just 0.005% each of ownership in the project. Also to note, the affordability covenant only runs for 49 years of the 99 year lease! This sure feels like a land grab masking as “Affordable Housing.”
Knowing that the DDA would become permanent and irrevocable unless we questioned its legitimacy, we made the decision to file a lawsuit challenging the DDA. 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.
Once again, Mike Bonin in his overzealousness to push this project through, put the cart before the horse, moving to dispose of our public land to those who will profit for the next 99 years.
In response to this action, if things go our way, the new City Council will have to go through the process of correcting their missteps.
Check out the full lawsuit in our document library on the Safe Coastal website, and please, please, please if you’re able, make a donation to our legal team while you’re there.
The team is doing phenomenal work to give us every possible advantage to shut this project down. The original CEQA lawsuit is still in full play. We’re also currently responding to an aggressive strategy against us by the mega law firm Latham and Watkins (representing the developers) that borderlines on harassment and thus we now have additional legal expenses in responding.
We remain confident of the strong offensive position we’re able to take on all fronts, with the Coalition’s small, highly skilled “special ops unit” going up against the City army of staff and lawyers.
We’re putting everything we’ve got into stopping this monster of a project and can only continue to do so with the financial support of the community.
Thank you to all those who have donated. If you haven’t yet, now would be a really good time!
The Team at Safe Coastal Development