Judy Esposito has consented to letting us publish her letter to the California Coastal Commission.
Dear Mr. Hudson and Ms. Henry, California Coastal Comission.
I represent a large group of people, some of whom were appellants of several of the coastal exemption cases a year ago in Santa Rosa. You may remember me from our coastal meeting in Santa Rosa, where you went to bat so brilliantly for us when you and the Commissioners declared several phony “remodels” here in Venice to be what they truly were–demolitions requiring a coastal permit. Thirteen other properties were recognized to be the same, thanks to Robin Rudisill and yourselves. There just aren’t enough words of appreciation from us to you !!!!!
Now we are so very much in need of your expert help again, and on an even bigger and more dangerous issue. Our neighborhoods here in Venice, WEST of Lincoln Blvd., are not under any protection from the constant devouring of our homes and construction of homes grossly out of scale with our existing neighborhoods. Small homes are being demolished and replaced by McMansions. It’s a fast spreading cancer, ensuring the sure death of our Neighborhoods if we can’t stop it very soon!
Neither the City nor the Venice Neighborhood Council are taking into consideration the compatibility of new OR remodel projects’ mass, scale, and character to the existing neighborhoods! The result is ruinous !!!
We have been told by the City Planners responsible for the local CDP’s and related Findings that it is not required that the City or the Coastal Commission analyze projects for protection of neighborhood character or visual resources via an analysis of compatibility of the project to the mass, scale and character of the existing surrounding neighborhood.
Is this true? Has the law changed? Or has the interpretation of the law changed?
Are there ANY controls over projects that don’t get CDP’s? I ask because everyone is cheating on size of developments. It is up to average citizens to follow up on these developments and it becomes a full time job, and one that I feel very ill equipped to tackle (though I have no choice but to try). My efforts thus far have failed to limit the size of these ever-encroaching McMansions.
The land use process is completely broken in Venice.
Our Council District 11 councilman is completely unresponsive to multiple requests for urgent meetings re. our serious land use concerns. I was told that he is unavailable because he is so busy meeting with developers and even going out to lunch with them….when we, as residents, have no access to him at all. Our councilman is supporting developers 100% at the complete and PERMANENT ruination of our precious coastal neighborhoods.
My neighbors are terribly concerned that the Coastal Commission does not add the expected layer of regulation in the coastal zone (except for the dual zone areas right next to the ocean and our canals), and so our neighborhoods are WORSE OFF than neighborhoods not in the Coastal Zone. This is because although we have laws to protect our coastal neighborhoods, not only does the City not follow these laws, but we don’t even get the benefit of the FAR limits put into place elsewhere in the City. Our politicians, especially our councilman, harm us by saying that we don’t need those FAR limits as we are protected in the coastal zone, and then they do NOTHING when the City does NOT follow the coastal zone laws, such as assuring compatibility of massing, scale, and landscape (i.e. “character”) to the existing neighborhood, for all new development and renovations (Certified Land Use Policy I.E.2.).
We had understood that a good part of the reason for the Coastal Commission and its California Coastal Act is because it is known that corruption and political interference has in the past occurred in this regard, especially in the extremely valuable coastal areas. Thus our Coastal Act legislation limits what can be built. Even with this protection, this is a difficult task, up against such obstacles as corruption, ideological entrenchment, and special interest lobbyists/corporate power. This is why we NEED the Coastal Commission to take their role as regulator of the coast 100% seriously and to invoke the law and require the City to do the same! The coast is too fragile and too vulnerable to allow “home rule” to take priority and thus allow the statewide public interests to be overruled for purposes of a local government’s needs or wishes. The safeguarding of the broader public interests must be given overriding consideration.
But the laws are NOT being followed, which is criminal, and the City and State each know exactly what each other is doing and they are LETTING IT HAPPEN. We see it clearly, and we know you see it. Please take steps to stop this.
Lastly, do you think it would help us to contact those in the current U.S. administration that are so frustrated with the politics of the City of L.A. and their Sanctuary City issues? Perhaps they would be sensitive when learning of the crime that is being perpetuated on all of us by the Mayor, City Attorney and Councilman and perhaps they might be willing to help by investigating it. We assume that this would mean working with the U.S. Attorney and the FBI re: ongoing RICO Act violations. We cannot live with this, and you are in a position to stop it and prevent this.
As you know, when massive structures go up, we not only lose our coastal neighborhoods’ charm and put our Coastal Commission-designated status as a Special Coastal Community at risk, but we lose our views, LIGHT and even AIR FLOW. It IS CRIMINAL AND WE MUST STOP IT. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO DO SO.
Please let me know when I and some other representatives of the Venice neighborhoods can meet with you to discuss what we can do to address these crimes against our neighborhoods.
With most sincere appreciation for your time and understanding,