Sue Kaplan Named Chair of VNC Ad Hoc Committee on Character, Mass and Scale


Via Linda Lucks, Venice Neighborhood Council President:


Dear Board:

At the September VNC Board meeting, the board voted to create an ad hoc committee on Character, Mass and Scale in response to ongoing concerns expressed by numerous Venetians and the WLA Planning Commission. As the VNC’s mission is to listen to and respond to neighborhood concerns, the board  has taken action.

I am naming Sue Kaplan, the leader of the Venice Walk Street Association to chair the ad hoc committee because and I am confident that she brings to the table the necessary skill set,  knowledge and intelligence and motivation to protect our communities, to move the mission statement  forward in a fair and balanced way.

The motion and mission statement are below. I added a second motion the board passed requiring LUPC to consider Character, Massing and Scale in future deliberations:

MOTION: The VNC Board shall create the Mass, Scale, and Character Ad hoc Committee with the following Mission Statement approved by the Administrative Committee:

MISSION STATEMENT: The Mass, Scale, and Character Adhoc Committee will study the application of requirements for new development in the Coastal Zone to be compatible with existing neighborhoods in mass, scale, and character as mandated by the VCZSP and related planning documents. It will meet with, and solicit input from residents of the Venice Coastal Zone, city officials, and other interested and relevant people in order to research standards and protocols by which these issues may be evaluated in new Coastal Development Projects in order to implement the intent and letter of the governing planning documents in the most fair and practical manner. The conclusions of this Committee will be reported directly to the Venice Neighborhood Council Board. The Committee shall automatically terminate after one year or the seating of a new VNC Board, whichever occurs first.

Motion for LUPC:

MOTION : The VNC Board instructs that the Land Use And Planning Committee shall consider mass, scale, and character for an applicant’s proposed project, even when the proposed project is otherwise in compliance with the height, setback, and other requirements of the Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan and the Los Angeles Municipal Codes.

More Background:

The Specific Plan and Coastal Plan require judgment in making findings that are discretionary. Here are the relevant codes:

Venice Specific Plan, Sec. 8.C requires that 2 findings be made:
“1. That the Venice Coastal Development Project is compatible in scale and character with the existing neighborhood, and that the Venice Coastal Development Project would not be materially detrimental to adjoining lots or the immediate neighborhood.  ”
2. That the Venice Coastal Development Project is in conformity with the certified Venice Coastal Program.”*

Section 3.F furthers the purpose of the Plan
“To regulate all development, including use, height, density, setback, buffer zone and other factors in order that it be compatible in character with the existing community…” [bold added]

Venice Coastal Land Use Plan Policy 11.C.10
“New development along walk streets shall enhance both public access and neighborhood character…”