January 23, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Beach BID’s Slow Start

No services two years after approval, refunds are being issued.

By Sam Catanzaro

In 2016 the Los Angeles City Council approved the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) at Venice Beach but more than two years later property owners are still waiting to see the services, activities and programs that are part of the BID.

BIDs are geographically defined assessment districts in which property owners charge themselves a fee to fund agreed-upon services that go beyond what the city is providing. BIDs exist all over the world and appear in every major American city. The City of Los Angeles currently has more than 40 BIDs in communities such as Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Westchester, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Encino, South Los Angeles and Wilmington.

The Venice Beach BID includes large portions of Ocean Front Walk, Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Rose Avenue and Venice Boulevard. The BID is run by the Venice Beach Property Owners Association, a non-profit contracted by the City. In 2017 the Venice Beach BID allocated 73 percent of the 1.7 million dollars collected from property owners into programs aimed at making the community cleaner and safer, promising bicycle, vehicle and foot patrols, sweeping and pressure washing, landscaping, trash removal and graffiti removal but none of these services are being provided yet.

The Los Angeles City Clerk is now issuing refunds to Venice Beach BID property owners on the fees levied because no services were provided.

“State law requires that no property owner pay more for services than they specially benefit,” City Clerk Holly Wolcott told Yo! Venice. “The entirety of the funds were not spent because most of the services were not started so they [the Venice Beach Property Owners Association] have opted to refund those funds.”

Wolcott says that these refunds will be sent out in phases, with the first occurring by mid-July. Second phase refunds will be sent no sooner than September 2018.

Despite the slow start, City officials, including Councilmember Mike Bonin, remain in support of the BID.

Ocean Front Walk is one of the areas included in the Venice Beach BID. Photo by Thinkstock.

On May 14 Venice BID services began with the rollout of their “Clean” and “Safe” teams. The “Safe” team — made up of private security personnel from Allied Universal — will ride bikes and carry handcuffs and pepper spray to patrol the district, calling the police when necessary.

“Councilmember Bonin has been, and remains a strong supporter of the BID because it will provide supplemental services to make Venice the neighborhood every resident of the community deserves,” Bonin’s office told Yo! Venice. “The Councilmember stands by his commitment to work with both BID proponents and opponents to make sure that the BID is a vehicle that celebrates and enhances what it is special about Venice – its funky character, its diversity, and its tolerance of people of all walks of life.”

State law bars a BID from including buildings or lots in residential neighborhoods but homes that are deemed to be sitting on industrially or commercially zoned land are included and must pay into the fund. Some of these residents are frustrated that despite an overwhelming opposition to the BID among homeowners, the proposal still passed. When the Venice Beach BID went up for a vote among property owners, there were more “no” votes than “yes” votes. The district was approved, however, because more weight was given to bigger properties with more street frontage.

“This BID is anti-democratic, irresponsible, and unaccountable,” wrote Venice resident David Ewing in a letter to City Council. “These are not special services needed by businesses, nor is the BID set up to serve the entire business community within the district.”

Other residents say that they enjoy all the new restaurants and stores that have come along with Venice’s development but worry that the BID may hurt the businesses that make Venice a special place.

“While I am happy that we now have many good restaurants and small businesses in Venice, we need to remain cognizant of the fact that new businesses and development have pushed out mom-and-pop shops, artistic boutiques created by artists, and artists themselves,” Venice resident Roxanne Steinberg told City Hall. “With so-called “improvement” the heart and soul that makes Venice special gets lost forever.”

Tara Devine, Chief Executive Officer for the Venice BID, told Yo! Venice that she hopes opponents of the BID will be swayed once they see the services provided.

“The BID hopes to change your mind over time,” Devine said. “We hope that providing “clean and safe” services and seeing gradual, increasing cleanliness and safety in your neighborhood will win your support in the future.”

Yo! Venice read through more than 300 letters Venice residents sent to City Council and only found one in support of the BID, from Venice resident Kathleen Rawson. Rawson believes that the Venice will benefit from the BID’s private investment into security and sanitation but acknowledges and understands the opposition from many residents.    

“It is true, they are concerned and rightfully so. Venice is changing, and much of it is not for the better as we see our quaint neighborhoods being bulldozed and replaced by cold, huge and unfriendly boxes shut off from each other,” Rawson wrote but added, “Venice is in a position to greatly benefit from this private investment if it is properly implemented.”

More information about the BID can be found at www.venicebeachbid.com or by contacting the City Clerk’s BID division at 213.978.1099 or Clerk.NBID@lacity.org.

Related Posts

Venice Student Receives Education Award from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Seven area students were presented Education Awards by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition at the first-ever...

Venice-Area DUI Checkpoint This Weekend

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

DUI and license checkpoint Friday night at Venice-area intersection By Chad Winthrop A Los Angeles Police Department DUI checkpoint is...

Edify TV: Westside Hot Chocolate Standouts

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

With both rain and National Hot Chocolate Day on the horizon, get cozy with these standout hot chocolates on the...

Missing Women Kolby Story’s Family and Friends Seek Answers: YO! Venice Show – January, 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Missing Women Kolby Story’s Family and Friends Seek Answers * Los...

Popular San Francisco Sandwich Shop Opening in Westside

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 21, 2021 By Kerry Slater Santa Monica Pastry Shop Closes  A beloved Santa Monica pastry shop...

Food Review: A Darn Good but Pricey Burger

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Smash burgers done right at Tripp Burgers By Kerry Slater Surrounded by a collection of strip malls, a Westside pop-up...

FDA-Authorized Coronavirus Testing at Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel

January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021

Drive-thru and walk-up testing seven-days a week   The award-winning Shore Hotel, located steps away from the world-famous Santa Monica Pier,...

‘Doctor’s Office on Wheels’ Homeless and Those at Risk of Losing Homes

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

Venice Family Clinic launches mobile clinic van aimed at preventing homelessness By Chad Winthrop A Venice non-profit has launched a...

Edify TV: Ticketing Maskless Angelenos?

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

Los Angeles lawmakers want to fine people for not wearing masks. Learn more in this video made possible by School...

Missing Man Last Seen in Palms Area

January 18, 2021

January 18, 2021

Chance Olsewski last seen in on the Westside on Friday A missing 20-year-old man was last seen in the Palms...

Video: 25K New Housing Units in LA?

January 17, 2021

January 17, 2021

With a massive spike in homelessness forecasted, LA lawmakers want to build 25,000 new housing units. Learn more in this...

Illegal Marina del Rey Boat Charters

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

The issue of illegal charters brought up at recent County meeting By Toi Creel Officials recently discussed the issue of...

Edify TV: The Westside’s Best Pies

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Here are some of the best pies on the Westside ahead of National Pie Day on January 23. Learn more...

LAPD Arrests Shoreline Crips Gang Member on Suspicion of Murder In Oakwood Park: YO! Venice Show – January, 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * LAPD Arrests Shoreline Crips Gang Member on Suspicion of Murder In...

Popular Coffee Shop Adding New Westside Storefront

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 14, 2021 By Kerry Slater 65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down  A beloved...