A Venice Neighborhood Council committee is pushing for a commercial construction moratorium on Lincoln Boulevard, in response to community concerns about increased traffic with large developments proposed on the major Venice thoroughfare.

The Venice Neighborhood Council Land Use and Planning Committee voted Wednesday, September 27th, to support a proposed commercial construction moratorium, calling for an initial suspension of building permits for developments in excess of 50,000 square feet on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice for a six-month period.

The moratorium would suspend large commercial construction projects, including large multi-unit housing projects on commercial lots, while an Interim Control Ordinance is developed to mitigate traffic in the area, Land Use and Planning Committee members said.

The committee will recommend that the Neighborhood Council support the proposal at its meeting Tuesday, October 17th.

In supporting the moratorium, the committee made several amendments to the original proposal, which called for suspension of building permits not only on Lincoln, but also Washington and Venice Boulevards and Rose Avenue in Venice.

The committee amended the proposal to address Lincoln Boulevard construction and not projects on the three other major thoroughfares in the community.

Land Use and Planning Committee chair Challis MacPherson said the move was in response to community input received at the August 23rd meeting, where residents said that their real concerns are with Lincoln Boulevard construction.

Many residents at the meeting seemed to agree that Lincoln should be the focus of the moratorium because it has “big plots of land,” MacPherson said.

“The other streets are built out and there are not as large lots as Lincoln,” committee member Michael King said.

The big parcels on Lincoln allow for “huge development” projects, which can potentially lead to a large amount of increased traffic in the area, King said.

MacPherson said there are some “urgent areas” of proposed development on the thoroughfare, such as a 31-story mixed-use condominium project at 4363 Lincoln Blvd., near the Marina Freeway (State Route 90) entrance.

Land use committee members also amended the proposal to specifically focus on new commercial development projects in the area that would produce “greater than an additional 25 car trips per day at peak hours.”

Another major amendment by committee members was to make the moratorium applicable only to “massive new commercial developments in excess of 50,000 square feet.”

The change will aim to restrict large traffic-generating development projects on the primary street but not affect “relatively small” projects, MacPherson said.

A six-month moratorium would allow time for transportation infrastructure and mitigation measures to be put in place prior to the generation of increased traffic, land use committee members said.

MacPherson said a moratorium would also allow the community to begin the process of updating the Venice Specific Plan, which was adopted seven years ago.

The Land Use and Planning Committee first introduced the idea of a commercial moratorium in November, and in February, recommended the proposal to the Neighborhood Council, which requested further review.

After receiving additional community input and making various amendments, King said the committee has created a more specific moratorium proposal.

“I think we finally got enough testimony from the stakeholders to let us fine-tune the language,” King said.

“We’ve done a good job recrafting the language.”

MacPherson agreed, saying she expects that the Neighborhood Council may make some changes but ultimately support the proposal.

“I think we did good work and crafted a good document,” she said.

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