As we close out the year and look towards 2024, we’re excited to share we’ll be kicking off the new year with an actual trial date for our first lawsuit challenging the Venice Median Project.
JANUARY 16th is the big day and we’re fired up to finally have our day in court! This commitment to fight for Venice has taken more time and money than ever expected, but we haven’t let up because we know Venice is worth fighting for!
Among other causes of action being heard on the 16th, this CEQA lawsuit includes challenging the exemption from environmental review (in the coastal zone!) through a new state law (AB1197) targeting only Los Angeles, legislation we believe to be erroneously applied to the project.
While our case is strong, we are well aware we may need to immediately appeal a ruling by Judge Fruin, whose concerning actions with our rulings to date make us hyper aware we’ll need to be prepared for that possibility.
Our second lawsuit challenges the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA lawsuit) that leases away our priceless, last open space Venice land to developers for 1 dollar a year for the next 99 years (with only the first 55 years required to be “affordable” housing).
Rubbing more salt in the wound, the appraisal used to make their numbers work in order to dispose of these 40 adjacent lots of primo real estate a block from the beach and straddling the banks of the historic Venice Canals, came in at a ridiculous $3.4 million dollars (with comp values including a foreclosure property in Brentwood and no similar comps using Venice property).
Appraisal value in 12/22 by Gold Coast Appraisals, Inc. of $3.4 million used to justify the disposition of land for the DDA:
Through public records requests we’ve found copies of the City’s original appraisal for the site in 2016 by Curtis-Rosenthal, Inc. at $34 million, still absurdly low for these 40 lots, but makes you question how this piece of land is the only property in Venice to have lost $30 million dollars in value during a real estate boom:
And for comparison, here’s a 12/21 recorded sale of a single empty lot from Zillow, listed at $1,750,000- multiplied by 40 lots would give a conservative estimate of $70 million for value of the Median site:
This is the number we used to ascertain total costs of the project including the City’s estimated $20 million dollars for the new parking garage, added to the building costs which brings the average 460 sq.ft. unit cost to over $1.2 million dollars. We believe these excessive costs are the root of the problem in solving the “homeless crisis”, definitely not the solution.
We’re optimistic about the DDA case and have been assigned a more objective judge, adding to our optimism. We’ll share that court date once scheduled.
Meanwhile, we absolutely need help paying our lawyers. The developers and the City have tried everything possible to drain our funds by forcing us back to court again and again with their devious antics. Every trip to the courtroom requires prep and costs additional money.
If you could help us out, or already have and can share with someone in a position to help, we’d be most grateful this holiday season.
Here’s to a productive and successful 2024, let’s go get em!
The Team at Safe Coastal Development
PS. Our website now takes easy credit card donations, please test it out!