“Listening Session” Creates More Questions Than Answers at VNC General Monthly Meeting and Zoom Presentation!
By Nick Antonicello
The Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) blocked out about an hour at last Tuesday’s monthly meeting for a team of LA City Planning staffers to discuss the revisions and changes to the Venice Specific Plan, the document that in concert with the California Coastal Commission will govern land use here in the community once approved.
A slide presentation was delivered by Kiran Rishi, Senior Planner for the City of Los Angeles along with Diego Janacuna and Eva Chang-Person, who also presented to the public. The presentation can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zj8-9VLyNcmgv82jJIMgL8C4jPjdAau6Eg8wSyIFluU/edit.
Having attended both the VNC formal presentation Tuesday as well as the EVNA Zoom call Thursday, many residents were concerned about what “data” exactly was being applied to the logic of this new master plan for Venice moving forward?
Jeff Khau, a senior planning staffer for Councilwoman Traci Park (CD-11) navigated the Zoom presentation and the ongoing theme was evident, where is the data?
Several East Venice residents were concerned about plans to commercialize Penmar, while others complained about a lack of planning that addresses the housing needs of the middle class and the future of affordable units.
Many questioned the logic of a transit corridor in a post pandemic world where shopping habits have migrated online, while noting the sky rocketing vacancy rates should also be acknowledged.
Some residents complained that “no one is being heard,” and that a lack of trust was evident between residents and city officials.
While the meetings were polite, you got the feeling residents were not receiving the assurances they came to hear.
Rishi indicated in the Zoom presentation that an interactive parcel map would be created so that any changes being considered can be reviewed and plotted in real time.
But at the end of the day, were city planners just listening, and not hearing real stakeholder concerns?
That seemed to be the $64,000 question in both presentations.
And while these presentations and listening sessions are ongoing. Khau made it clear that the role of the CD-11 Council Office is to ensure stakeholders are heard.
On a separate note, Khau indicated that the proposal to tear down the 90 Freeway was virtually dead on arrival and that opposition to the project hovered at around 70% according to the council office.
The Zoom meeting had roughly twenty participants and ran some ninety minutes with everyone who wanted to speak were heard, but it was evident that only a handful of callers actually read the revised proposal.
Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year resident of Venice and covers public policy that pertains to the neighborhood. Have a take or a tip on all things Venice? Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org