Will the VNC’s Land Use Standing Committee concern itself with what some regard as trifling matters?
By Nick Antonicello
The Oct. 3 meeting of the Land Use & Planning Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) became a rather lengthy discussion by committee members on the meaning of the term De Minimus, as well as which has greater impact on board deliberation, the Venice Specific Plan or the authority and governance of the California Coastal Commission.
Board Chairman Michael Jensen, who was elected to a second term as LUPC head last March, is the committee’s longest serving member and views LUPC as a city chartered government body and thus being in accordance with the Venice Specific Plan as the primary guide to the board’s action and deliberations.
Jensen is a practicing attorney here in the state of California and a resident of Venice.
Robin Rudisill, a former LUPC chair and a 2017 candidate for the LA City Council made it clear that she believed the California Coastal Commission as the primary guide post for board action as did Richard Stranger, one of the standing committee’s newly appointed members by the VNC.
De Minimus by definition are issues or items too trivial or minor for consideration, especially when applying the law.
In effect, items lacking significance or importance to take any formal committee action.
Rudisill asked Chairman Jensen to meet with her to flush out these fundamental interpretative differences, or that a meeting take place to discuss in greater detail.
Discussion then became public comment, and two VNC board members, Outreach Chair Erica Moore and Treasurer Helen Fallon wanted to weigh-in, but were barred from commenting due to directives from the City of LA, particularly DONE (Department of Neighborhood Empowerment), as well as an explanation offered by VNC President Brian Averill, also in attendance that no participation of any kind was proper or appropriate by current VNC members.
Formerly, “qualifying questions” were acceptable, but now no longer applicable according to Averill.
Rudisill then made a motion tabling the De Minimus cases for the VNC Consent Calendar, which passed and effectively wiped away LUPC action for the evening.
Some confusion had erupted, as committee member Gabriel Smith tried to offer a substitute motion, but the meeting had been already effectively adjourned.
In total, thirty-eight De Minimus items were tabled, and the actions included demolition of an existing detached garage and construction of a new ADU (accessory dwelling unit) over a six-car garage, change of use from office and retail to office and health club, and another was the conversion of a three-car garage to an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and finally an interior remodel and third-story addition including a rooftop deck.
At this point the only other agenda item was the appointment of committee members to case assignments, but it is unclear if the appointments will have to be made again at the board’s November meeting since this was an announcement not conducted during committee business.
There were four case numbers assigned for 601-601.5 OFW (Oceanfront Walk), 1301 Abbot Kinney, 726 Rose and 10 East Washington Boulevard.
In other board business the prior minutes apparently passed by those who qualified to cast a vote and Chairman Jensen offered a basic orientation of how one participates on the committee.
Again, differing opinions were stated as a flow chart was provided how a case file makes its way through the LUPC committee process and ultimately before the full board with a letter in support or opposition to the appropriate LA City authorities.
The meeting ended at roughly 8PM.
Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year resident of Venice who covers the actions of the Venice Neighborhood Council. Have a take or a tip on all things Venice? Contact Antonicello via -email at email@example.com