By Roxanne Brown – Member, Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset
THE LAND USE and PLANNING COMMITTEE (LUPC) MEETING AUGUST 5th
Kim’s Market (600 Mildred): LUPC denied owners’ (Searle’s) proposed restaurant with liquor license at this location.
320 Sunset: Leaseholder, Fran Camaj, who also owns Gjelina’s at 1427 Abbott Kinney, was not in attendance. Camaj’s architect, Steven Vitalich, was there, but said Camaj had asked him not to speak at this meeting. LUPC was reviewing the proposed restaurant with liquor license (on and off-site sales) and late-night hours at this location.
At this August 5th meeting, Mark Kleiman, 320’s case manager, noted that when Camaj applied for a bakery permit at 320 Sunset, he stated that a bakery would be a less intense use of the space than the prior use – an office of six architects. Kleiman discovered that six months prior to that statement, Camaj had already signed a lease saying 320 Sunset would be a bakery and café –a much more intensive use of the space.
Kleiman also referred to an April 2011 Zoning Administration hearing report, noting that Gjelina’s had violated many conditions: music and noise being heard outside the restaurant, seating in excess of code, converting and using office space for dining without permits, and much more. The report was 157 pages long.
Neighbors complain to this day about amplified music and added noise from patrons talking loudly while walking to their cars parked in front of residents’ homes. In Gjelina’s seven years of doing business these concerns have not been rectified.
Knowing this, how does the city enable Camaj to open two more establishments – one at 1305 Abbott Kinney and one at 320 Sunset? Councilman Bonin: Are you out there? Where are you?
VENICE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL MEETING AUGUST 19, 2014
320 SUNSET: Mark Kleiman, LUPC case manager, announced to residents gathered and the VNC that he had learned 320’s architect, Steven Vitalich, allegedly had lied at the LUPC meeting on August 5th. Vitalich had been asked three times if 320 Sunset had a Certificate of Occupancy (CoO) and three times Vitalich had said, “No.” It turns out that 320 Sunset had been given a CoO for a BAKERY AND RETAIL ONLY with NO SEATING eight days prior to LUPC’s August 5th meeting. The VNC voted to deny the restaurant with alcohol as proposed at 320 Sunset.
It’s so refreshing to have the newly elected VNC LUPC Chair, Robin Rudisill, working with transparency, integrity and honesty. VNC appointed some wonderful people with these same qualities to LUPC. Venetians’ votes in recent elections led to these changes. Your vote counts. Your vote makes a difference.
ALCOHOL AND BEVERAGE CONTROL (ABC): 320’s ABC case manager, Marella Herrera, has informed Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset (CNS) that she will call the applicant to “see if they still want to continue this process based on all the protest we received.” It appears our many letters of protest are making an impact.
320 SUNSET and KIM’S MARKET RECAP: Restaurants with liquor licenses (and proposed outdoor patios) in such congested residential locations are often recipes for disaster. Here’s why:
LOUD NOISE LEVELS JUST FEET AWAY FROM RESIDENTS’ HOMES:
Kim’s Market is just 3 feet away from a resident’s home.
320 Sunset is only 12 feet 6 inches from residents’ homes.
Adding alcohol significantly increases volume and bad behavior.
ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN IN ALREADY DENSE/CONGESTED AREAS:
KIM’S MARKET is at the INTERSECTION of Venice, narrow Ocean, and Mildred, with Venice Library and Venice Farmers’ Market across the road.
320 SUNSET – EIGHT ROADS COME TOGETHER AND SURROUND THIS LOCATION – Narrow Sunset, bounded by busy Hampton and busy 4th Street, and 3rd Street dead ends almost right into 320 Sunset. Just west of 3rd Street is Gold’s Gym’s back parking lot’s one entry/exit – virtually across from 320 Sunset’s parking lot’s one entry/exit. Just west of that is the narrow alley connecting Vernon and Sunset. Behind 320 Sunset is the narrow 12-13 foot alley linking 4th and Vernon and Sunset.
At both locations, we have tourists (who don’t know where they are going) and residents walking, biking, skateboarding, motorcycling, scooting, and people driving SUVs, Vespas, and vehicles of all sizes and shapes.
Add alcohol, restaurants’ patrons and employees, plus restaurants’ delivery trucks, vendors’ vehicles, maintenance trucks and equipment to this mix? Do I hear a collision?
What happens to coastal and emergency vehicles’ access?
I wonder who at city hall or in city council told Camaj (320 Sunset) and Searle (Kim’s Market) that restaurants with liquor licenses were possible at these locations – that their proposals would likely go through?
Where is city leadership? As Venetians’ representative in city hall, Councilman Bonin should investigate this. And perhaps some city employees need to be reminded of the fact that they work for the tax- paying citizens of Venice.
GOOD NEWS: The absurdity of these two projects and others is bringing the community together. Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset (CNS), Stop 600 Mildred, and other community organizations are now working together. United our numbers grow and our voices get louder.
GET INVOLVED: Attend LUPC and VNC meetings. Check their meeting times and agenda at Venicenc.org.
Write to Councilman Bonin: Council Member Bonin, City Hall Office, 200 N. Spring St. #475,Los Angeles, CA 90012 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Email CNS at email@example.com
Above: 320 Sunset: too narrow for delivery trucks