Development/Gentrification

COUNCILMAN MIKE BONIN TAKES JURISDICTION OVER A SMALL LOT SUBDIVISION CASE THAT WAS DENIED BY THE WEST LOS ANGELES AREA PLANNING COMMISSION

By Ivonne Guzman

On February 4, 2015 an appeal was heard by the the West Los Angeles Planning Area Commission for a Small Lot Subdivision case at 758 Sunset Ave in the Venice Coastal Zone.
The hearing lasted over four hours. After much deliberation AND community input the appeal was upheld and the project was turned down.
On Tuesday March 31, 2015 in the Supplemental Agenda of the full City Council Meeting, Councilman Mike Bonin made null and void the hearing held February 4 by the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission (WLA APC) by exercising Charter Section 245 of the City Charter.
The project has been referred to the Los Angeles City PLUM Committee and will be heard on APRIL 14, 2015 at 2:30 pm and move on to the FULL City Council thereafter. This action gives the project an opportunity to move forward and undermines the authority of the WLA APC and the time and effort spent by all those who attended the hearing, sent in letters and participated in the democratic process.
In the matter of 758 Sunset, the West LA APC considered four issues —  a Tentative Parcel Map, a Coastal Development Permit (CDP), a Mello Act Determination, and a Zoning Administrator’s Adjustment. The commission approved the Parcel Map, approved the CDP, and approved the Mello Act Determination, but denied the Adjustment. The denial of the Adjustment effectively halted the project. However, since then, the Planning Department and the City Attorney have determined that the request for the Adjustment was not required, and the Planning should not have advised the applicant to seek it. 
There is no mention of other facts which would warrant denial of the project, such as lack of notice to the tenants, the need for more parking and compatibility with the existing neighborhood.
When the WLA APC approved the Coastal Development Permit and Tentative Parcel Map it was with the understanding that denial of the Adjustment would stop the project. Now it is being made to appear that there was only one issue with the project. According to those interviewed, the Adjustment was only one of many issues raised and discussed.
This action taken by Mike Bonin threatens the future of the Venice Coastal Zone while it fails to enhance the neighborhoods, smart growth, OR the democratic process.
July 19, 2013 quotes from Mike Bonin’s Inaugural Speech in Venice:
“I want to keep faith with the people who spend their time and their effort cherishing our neighborhoods, protecting our neighborhoods, and trying to protect our quality of life”. “I want to be very clear to the Developers in this City that the purpose of development is to enhance neighborhoods, not to THREATEN them.”
FAST FORWARD TO 2015:
Venice has seen more demolitions of homes, loss of affordable housing, and lawless land use in the last two years than in its entire history. The Venice Coastal Zone is being threatened through lack of representation and out of scale development within its neighborhoods. Venice is rapidly and unprecedentedly being stripped of its resource value, community character and the ability to travel without gridlock.
Another area of major concern not being addressed is the impact these rapid changes are having on the natural habitats of birds, bees, butterflies, etc. This alone warrants a closer look at the long term effects of the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance, which allows development that covers every square inch of a parcel.
Support those who have dedicated their lives to protect our neighborhood and quality of life in Venice.
Please send an email to Councilman Mike Bonin at mike.bonin@lacity.org and sharon.gin@lacity.org subject line: Council file 15-0362 ask him to uphold the appeal for 758 Sunset. Most importantly, please attend the April 14 hearing at City Hall, 230 N. Main Street, L.A., at 2:30 pm.

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