Venice, CA, August 17, 2016 - Last night at its monthly meeting, the VNC Board voted (12-2-1) in favor of a motion to oppose a homeless storage program at the Westminster Senior Center at 1234 Pacific Ave. The VNC motion and subsequent vote was in response to a motion (CF-151138 S-8) brought before the Los Angeles City Council by 11th District Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents Venice.
Since CM Bonin initially presented a proposal to repurpose the shuttered senior center at a March forum on homelessness, few details have been outlined as to how the program will be operated.
Organized residents, concerned that the Senior Center's close proximity to residences and Westminster Avenue Elementary School make it an ill-suited location for such a program, submitted a motion to the VNC's Administrative Committee. The motion was then referred to the VNC's Homeless Committee that submitted a formal resolution to the Board.
Homeless Committee Chair, Will Hawkins, presented the motion to the Board with a clear caveat. He said his Committee is dedicated to working with CM Bonin, residents, and homeless advocates to develop a storage program that can accommodate those in need with less impact to residents. Many Board members affirmed that sentiment. Hawkins' Committee will be taking up the matter in the coming month.
MOTION: Whereas a Motion (CF 151138 S8) has been introduced to the Los Angeles City Council to convert the Westminster Senior Center at 1234 Pacific Avenue for use as storage for the possessions of persons who are homeless and; Whereas the use of the property was dedicated by declaration by the Los Angeles Superior Court to such public use for public playground and recreation purposes; on July 5, 1950;
Therefore, be it resolved, that the Venice Neighborhood Council opposes the use of the Westminster Senior Center at 1234 Pacific Avenue for use as storage; and The Venice Neighborhood Council recommends to Councilman Bonin, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and Mayor Eric Garcetti that the use of the Westminster Senior Center remain as originally dedicated "for public use for public playground and recreation purposes" as indicated in the original disposition of the property by the Los Angeles Superior Court on July 5, 1950.
Additionally, the Board voted on ten land-use cases, approving seven projects as presented and rejecting three. One of the projects rejected was a plan to convert a mixed-use duplex to a fully commercial building at 519-521 Bocaccio Place.
A motion submitted by Mark Ryavec of the Venice Stakeholders Association calling for the City to conclude the Jones Settlement and enforce Ordinance LAMC 41.18 was pulled from the agenda by protocol and referred to the Homeless Committee. LAMC 41.18 states that there may be "no sitting, lying, or sleeping on a sidewalk within 300 feet of a residentially zoned property."
In a special Board election, Hollie Stenson was elected as a community officer. Stenson, who had previously run for Outreach Officer, fills a seat vacated by Gina Maslow.