The Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council voted unanimously last week to oppose the Playa Vista Phase II development.

The Venice group will ask the Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Management Committee to postpone a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, September 8th, and consideration of approval until the Neighborhood Council concerns have been addressed.

CONFLICTS WITH DONE —At its Monday, August 23rd, meeting, the Venice Neighborhood Council also approved a letter to City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) general manager Greg Nelson, seeking to resolve any issues that Nelson has with the legitimacy and finality of the June 27th Grass Roots Venice election.

Sabrina Venskus, election committee chair, said Nelson had requested a number of election-related documents, but neither she nor the board has heard from Nelson since his request.

At issue is whether bylaws passed and ratified in April and May by an earlier Grass Roots Venice board are valid inasmuch as the bylaws were never approved by the DONE.

A new Grass Roots Venice board held a June 27th election under bylaws approved by the DONE in 2002, claiming the April and May bylaws were not operative because they were never ratified by the DONE.

The DONE responded by calling the June 27th election invalid and withholding city funding for the Grass Roots Venice council.

In his letter to the Venice community last week, Nelson said that because the June 27th election was invalid, Grass Roots Venice now has no quorum under which to operate.

Last week, Grass Roots Venice board members said Nelsonís interpretation of the June 27th vote and the status of the Neighborhood Council has misled the Venice community.

Grass Roots Venice board members claim they have had a valid board quorum for every meeting both before and after July 1st, and that the council treasurer was elected to a two-year term in 2003.

“Regardless of differing opinions on the candidates election, our understanding is that there is nothing more to finalize in the June 27th bylaws election, which was separate from the candidates election,” the Neighborhood Council wrote to Nelson.

“We are waiting for a response from your office on both sets of changes, so please let us know which, if any, of these changes would have to be approved by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners rather than by DONE,” the Grass Roots group wrote Nelson.

OPPOSING PLAYA VISTA —Grass Roots Venice leaders claim they havenít received access to Playa Vista documents from the City Planning Department prior to decision-making hearings by the Los Angeles City Council.

Venice Neighborhood Council members are also upset that Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski has not met with the Grass Roots group to discuss the groupís concerns about Playa Vista.

The Venice Neighborhood Council claims that the city has not addressed concerns, including:

– that the Playa Vista environmental report is flawed; and

– that Phase I is only partially built and that the full impact on surrounding communities such as Venice has not yet been felt.

Phase I of the Playa Vista project was approved by the Los Angeles City Council in 1993.

Grass Roots Venice members and others have claimed that the approval of Playa Vista Phase I was conditioned on the premise that no additional phases of the development would be approved until Phase I was completed and in full operation to allow the community to measure adverse effects of the project.

Grass Roots Venice members claim that if the Playa Vista Phase II is approved as currently proposed, the total Playa Vista project will result in 80,000 new vehicle trips per day, jamming the San Diego Freeway (I-405), Lincoln Boulevard, Walgrove Avenue and Palms Boulevard, causing a significant increase in new traffic cutting through neighborhoods on smaller local streets.

Additionally, the Neighborhood Council alleges that destruction of more than 400 Native American Gabrielino/Tongva Indian burial sites must be stopped and sacred burial grounds preserved on the Playa Vista site.

The Venice group claimed that the presence of the burial sites was neither acknowledged in the EIR nor addressed by the City Planning Commission.

Grass Roots Venice is also claiming that approximately 200 acres of undeveloped historical wetlands remain in Playa Vista “Area D” — east of Jefferson Boulevard and south of Ballona Creek — and that the city has not analyzed the question of “badly needed” open space.

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