A proposed six-month commercial construction moratorium on four major thoroughfares in Venice is coming to the community discussion table.

Venice community members will have an opportunity to comment on the commercial moratorium proposal at a meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council Land Use and Planning Committee at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday, August 23rd, at the Venice High School auditorium, 13000 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista.

The public comment portion of the meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m. Persons with experience on commercial moratoriums are also scheduled to give presentations at the meeting.

The Neighborhood Council Land Use and Planning Committee has proposed a moratorium on new commercial construction projects, calling for an initial suspension of all building permits on Rose Avenue and Washington, Venice and Lincoln Boulevards in Venice over a six-month period.

The moratorium would suspend commercial construction projects, including large multi-unit housing projects on commercial lots, while an Interim Control Ordinance is developed to mitigate traffic in the areas, land use committee members said.

The land use committee will take verbal and written comments from the public at the August 23rd meeting but will not take any action on the proposal.

Committee members are expected to vote to recommend the proposal to the full Venice Neighborhood Council at the committee’s next meeting, Wednesday, September 6th.

The committee has also proposed that public hearings be held on amendments to portions of the existing Venice Specific Plan. The proposal calls on city planning and transportation officials to draft an Interim Control Ordinance, which would require traffic and infrastructure mitigations in the commercial areas.

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

Committee members said the proposal is in response to community concerns about rising traffic congestion with new large commercial development projects proposed in the area.

“This is something that’s been agitating Venice for some time now,” Land Use and Planning Committee co-chair Challis MacPherson said of increased traffic. “We’re under a lot of pressure right now.”

The moratorium would aim to address the traffic concerns “at their source” by restricting large traffic-generating developments on the primary streets in Venice, land use committee members said.

Committee member Michael King said the moratorium is proposed for those specific streets because they have big parcels that allow for large-scale projects, which have the potential to be “big traffic generators.”

“There’s a lot of pressure for building on these streets,” MacPherson added.

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.

“This gives us an opportunity to look at what’s being developed,” 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, MacPherson said.

The Venice Specific Plan is “out of date” and needs to be updated, she said.

But some critics say that a commercial moratorium in the area may result in the loss of jobs, lost tax revenue and abandoned derelict properties.

The Neighborhood Council Land Use and Planning Committee will review the public comments on the moratorium proposal before voting to recommend that the Venice Neighborhood Council move forward with the plan, MacPherson said.

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