Venice Affordable Housing
Canal: The project has a multi-phase approval process in Los Angeles. Courtesy image

A proposed large-scale supportive/affordable housing project to be located steps from the beach in Venice is set to go before the California Coastal Commission this week, but commission staff have requested a delay in the proceeding, pushing the local coastal program amendment hearing back by up to a year.

If built, the project would bring 140 affordable housing units to Venice, with about half allocated to formerly homeless households, a quarter allocated to low-income artists and the remainder set aside for other low-income households.

The project was first envisioned about six years ago, after the City of Los Angeles first approved its site — bounded by North Venice Boulevard, South Venice Boulevard, Dell Avenue and Pacific Avenue — as part of LA’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Sites Program in 2016. 

Since then, a slow visioning, design and approval process has begun, with the nonprofit Venice Community Housing Corporation and Hollywood Community Housing Corporation selected as partners in 2017.

In January 2021, LA City Planning began community hearings to collect input on the project’s initial plans, which also call for job training and life skills, physical and mental health services, addiction treatment, and one-on-one case management for residents of the 68 supportive housing units for the formerly homeless. According to Venice Community House Corporation, the project will also “serve Venice residents with small-scale retail, green and open space, and community arts spaces.” 

Public reception of the plan was and remains decidedly mixed. According to Daily Press reporting from the time, of 92 community members who called in to comment on the proposal, 48 were opposed and 42 were in favor, with both sides offering passionate opinions on the matter.

The latest update on the long-envisioned project came earlier this year in July, when the City of Los Angeles submitted a request to amend its certified Venice Land Use Plan (LUP) with the California Coastal Commission, which has jurisdiction over the area due to its proximity to the coast. This is an administrative step that would continue to move permitting for the project forward.

In the report for the upcoming Sept. 8, 2022, California Coastal Commission meeting in Pismo Beach, Commission staff indicated the proposed amendment was “found to be in proper order and legally adequate,” but still requested a delay for up to one year before scheduling a public hearing and final action on the amendment.

“Due to the coastal development permit application and local action CDP appeal associated with the amendment (i.e. the Venice Dell Community Project), a time extension is necessary to allow staff to conduct comprehensive analysis of the proposed project and any potential impacts to coastal resources resulting from a change to development standards,” staff wrote.

The requested extension would give Commission staff until Nov. 15, 2023, to schedule the hearing, but the report indicated they believed far less time would be necessary.

“Although staff believes this matter will be brought to a hearing in the near-term, staff recommends that the Commission extend the deadline for a full year until November 15, 2023 as provided by the Coastal Act to allow for additional time in the review process and flexibility for coordination with the City of Los Angeles on potential modifications, establishing hearing schedules, and managing competing priorities,” the Sept. 8 agenda item states.

The extension request will go before the full California Coastal Commission during its Thursday, Sept. 8, regular meeting, which was set to begin at 9 a.m. at Cliffs Hotel & Spa, 2757 Shell Beach Road in Pismo Beach. The agenda and hearing can also be viewed at coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda.

emily@smdp.com

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