Venice Community Housing project rejected unanimously
By Toi Creel
A 40-unit supportive housing project continues to be met with pushback from the Venice community.
The Lincoln Apartments project–slated for 2567 Lincoln Boulevard–was recently voted down both by the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Land Use Planning Commission (5-2) and by the VNC as a whole unanimously (13-0) after a six-hour meeting last Thursday.
The $20 million project, developed by Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCH), includes a plan for a four-story, 40-unit apartment complex alongside the preservation of a small commercial building used by Safe Place for Youth (SPY).
Areas of concern include: the fact the building would share a property line with St. Mark School for elementary and middle school children in a residential area, criminal complaints from SPY’s drop-in center for homeless youth and the lack of sober living requirements along with its cost.
“SPY has said their models does not lend to doing background checks or research everyone in the database,” said Tracy Carpenter, concerned mother and neighbor.
Carpenter told Yo! Venice the 1,000 opposition letters from Venice stakeholders and residents were underrepresented in the reports.
“It’s completely irresponsible and negligent to not do background checks. More importantly, I think it’s irresponsible to have a project like this in a neighborhood with children. We have evidence, but that seems to be left out or excluded in the city Planning reports,” Carpenter said.
Several people shared their thoughts on the apartments for this article, a representation of the more than 2,000 emails that the VNC board says it has received on the development.
Nikki Shallenberger, 20-year Venice resident and St. Mark parent says she agrees there needs to be resources for those struggling to find homes, she just doesn’t want the homes to be created in an area code with a large number of children.
“It’s not that we’re worried about what happens. We’ve seen what happens with the clientele of SPY. There are still kids traumatized from the lockdown,” Shallenberger said, referring to an incident where a man wielding a chain forced the school got to go into lockdown.
“Certainly you could build more units in a less expensive zip code with the same amount of money,” Shallenberger said.
However, supporters like VCH describe the housing as inclusive, reminding critics about fair housing laws. VCH has said they will do background checks, but that they won’t exclude people based on criminal history.
Despite the VNC’s rejection of the project, the board serves only as an advisory body and therefore the project will next go before City Planning Commission on May 28th.