Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Abbot Kinney Hotel Developers Are WINNING - Here Are Two Simple Things You Can Do To Change That

 
Hotel complex as seen from Abbot Kinney. Existing buildings are in orange. The proposed hotel complex is in purple. Click on the image to see full size.



FIRST THE BAD NEWS: Ignoring community concerns that the block-long Abbot Kinney hotel complex would set a dangerous development precedent for Venice in terms of mass, scale and neighborhood character, that it still violated the letter and spirit of Venice Specific Plan, and still had significant unresolved problems regarding traffic gridlock and inadequate parking, the Venice Neighborhood Council's Land Use Committee last week voted to approve the hotel complex as currently proposed.  
 

NOW THE GOOD NEWS: The Committee's recommendation can be overturned at the February 18th meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council Board. But only if we as a community make our voices heard loud and clear. 


WRITE AN EMAIL  
Even if you've written letters in opposition to the hotel before, we need to you to write again because we will be contacting different city officials with a list of concerns which reflect the latest decision.
 
Please send your email to the following addresses: 
Board@VeniceNC.org 
apcwestla@lacity.org  
mike.bonin@lacity.org
tricia.keane@lacity.org  
veniceforchange@gmail.com
 
You must put this in the subject line: 1033 S Abbott Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291: CASE #APCW2012-3354

 
ATTEND THE MEETING    
WHEN: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18  - 7:00PM
WHERE: WESTMINSTER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AUDITORIUM (corner of Westminster and Abbott Kinney)

  
Numbers matter. The developer has gone on record that anyone with concerns about the project are in the minority.  So we need as many people to attend as possible. Get there early and fill out a speaker card. Bring a friend! 


LEARN THE FACTS  
 
IT SETS A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT FOR ALL OF VENICE:
In his letter to supporters, project architect David Hertz wrote "the project is fully compliant with the Venice Specific Plan and Local Coastal Plan and we are not asking for any exceptions to these plans whatsoever." This is not the case.
 
By tying 8 lots together to create the block-long hotel complex, the developers are violating both the spirit and letter of the VSP in terms of mass, scale and retaining the character of the community. They claim they can do this because the hotel somehow qualifies as a residential "mixed use" development, not a commercial one. If this tenuous legal definition is allowed to stand it would create a new legal and development precedent never envisioned when the VSP was created. It would open the door to neighborhood-busting development all over Venice.
      
THERE'S STILL NOT ENOUGH PARKING: The developer is offering only 163 parking spaces for a hotel complex that, according to the developer's own documents submitted to City Planning, at capacity can accommodate up to 921 people.  That includes all 87 hotel rooms, 240 restaurant seats, a coffee bar, a spa and thousands of feet of retail/cafe space. By the developer's own estimates, the hotel and three restaurants alone will have 160 total employees, with 50 on-site at any one time.

If you listen carefully to the developers, they never claim they're providing enough parking for the project's use, only what they are legally required. There's a reason for that - their numbers just don't add up. The reality is we'll be indirectly subsidizing the hotel as inadequate parking forces hotel patrons and employees to hunt for free street parking in our neighborhoods. Worse, since we live in the Coastal Zone, the California Coastal Commission will not allow us to have residents-only permit parking to mitigate the hotel's overflow.   


TRAFFIC WILL STILL BE A NIGHTMARE: A traffic report released by LADOT states the hotel complex will add nearly 700 net new car trips a day. The developer is quick to point out that only translates into a 1% increase in "peak hour" traffic. What they don't tell you is that the rest of that traffic will hit our streets during "off peak" times - the middle of the night, on busy weekends and during school hours as young children cross the street going to and from Westminster Elementary School.

They also don't tell you the traffic report ignores the impact to Electric Ave. even though all of the hotel's traffic will be entering and exiting from that street. It also doesn't take into account that the project has no loading dock, instead directing all deliveries and trash pick-ups onto Broadway - only feet away from the Westminster Elementary School crosswalk. To get an idea of how trash pickups on Broadway affects traffic flow in the area, here's a photo I took one recent morning from the corner of Broadway and Electric.


THEY WILL SELL ALCOHOL STARTING AT 9AM, 7 DAYS A WEEK:
A recent search of planning documents reveal the developer is proposing to sell alcohol on the premises from 9am to 2am, 7 days a week, and to have alcohol available via hotel mini-bars 24 hours a day.  In fact, alcohol sales are so important to this developer, he states in the document that entire project would be "infeasible" without it. 

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