Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Venice Stakeholders Opposes Bonin's Plan for 90 Units of Housing for Chronic Homeless on Venice Median Lot

This letter, along with Mr. Ryavec's testimony, was delivered to Mr. Bonin today before the City Council's Transportation Committee.

May 11, 2016

Councilman Mike Bonin, Chair, Transportation Committee
Members of the Transportation Committee
City Hall
200 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Re: CF 15-1138-S9/Opposition to Release of Request for Proposal (RFP) to provide Housing for 90 Chronic Homeless Individuals on Beach Parking Lot in Advance of Public Hearings  

Dear Councilmember Bonin and Members of the Committee,

Venice Stakeholders Association is a non-profit public benefit organization dedicated to civic improvement and public safety.

We are opposed to the release of a Request for Proposal to provide housing for 90 chronic homeless individuals on beach parking lot #731 in Venice for several reasons:

1.      There have been no hearings in the community on this concept; it has not been submitted to either the Venice Neighborhood Council or the Venice Canals Association.
2.      Additional resident and visitor parking is sorely needed at this location.  The highest and best use for this site is as an automated parking facility which would triple parking capacity at this location and advance the California Coastal Commission’s objective of greater public access to the beach and ocean.
3.      Other homeless serving facilities in Venice have a long history of being an extreme burden to nearby residents.  For example, this past Sunday a client of the St. Joseph Service Center on Lincoln Boulevard started a fire which damaged part of a nearby residence and forced the pregnant owner to evacuate her home due to lingering fumes. Residents living adjacent to the subject parking lot on Venice Boulevard are already burdened by break-ins, assaults, sidewalk blockage, harassment, and late night noise caused by transients living in the area.  There is no requirement in State or City law for the operator of the proposed housing to provide 24/7 security in perpetuity to protect nearby residents from similar noxious activities by the occupants of the proposed facility, so we conclude that this project will place an unacceptable burden on residents and thus should be sited elsewhere.
4.      There are many other less utilized and more isolated city parking lots in other areas of Council District 11 and, indeed, elsewhere in the City that would be better suited for the proposed project.
5.      The release of an RFP puts “the cart before the house.” The California Environmental Quality Act requires that the concept of housing on this site – a significant change of use - receive an environmental review in advance of the City starting down the path to construction of a structure by releasing an RFP. 

I have attached for your consideration a recent article from The Argonaut that speaks to these concerns in more detail.  I would ask that the City Clerk make this letter and attachment a part of the council file.  Thank you. 

Sincerely yours,
Mark Ryavec
Mark Ryavec, president