Compiled by Gary Walker

Hahn Wants Mobile Firing Range out of Marina del Rey

Trailer used for target practice caught fire in March, injuring a Sheriff’s deputy

Citing potential dangers to the public and the nearby Ballona Wetlands, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn wants the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department to keep trailers used for target practice out of Marina del Rey.

A mobile shooting range in the Ballona Wetlands parking lot across the street from the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station on Fiji Way erupted in flames on March 8, causing repeated explosions of ammunition that was stored inside. Although there were no injuries to the public, one deputy was treated for smoke inhalation and burns to his hands and face.

“While I am relieved that the fire was quickly contained and there were no fatalities, I am deeply concerned that a facility containing highly combustible, live ammunition should be located in the marina at all — let alone be placed directly next to protected wetlands,” Hahn wrote in a March 18 letter to L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “In light of these safety concerns, I am requesting that the mobile shooting range be located outside of Marina del Rey at a safer, more secure location.”

Capt. Joseph Stephen of the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station said that having deputies conduct target practice elsewhere shouldn’t be much of a problem.

“There are shooting trailers in fairly close proximity, like the South L.A. Station, so the deputies can get over there fairly easily during their shifts or prior to coming to work. It  shouldn’t hamper the deputies too much,” he said.

Local advocates for wetlands protection have long wanted government vehicles out of the parking lot on the wetlands.

Walter Lamb of the Ballona Land Trust has petitioned for not only removal of the firing range, but also for the parking lot itself to be restored as part of the wetlands.

“Having a mobile shooting range so near to wildlife, a well-used bicycle path and residents was a very bad idea,” said Marcia Hanscom of the Ballona Institute.

County Extends Marina Rent Increase Cap

Temporary measure to stabilize housing costs will remain in place all year

Marina del Rey tenants who live in older buildings will continue to benefit from temporary rent stabilization measures that cap rent increases at 3%.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave final approval to extend an interim ordinance enacted last year through the end of 2019.

The ordinance impacts some 200,000 renters throughout unincorporated areas governed directly by the county, according to housing officials.

“Our housing market is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many families who live here,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the ordinance’s author. “Rent stabilization is the law in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and the city of Los Angeles, and recently other cities have adopted rent stabilization or other measures to protect renters, including Glendale, Long Beach and Inglewood. The county can only protect 10% of the local population, so I’m happy to see other cities taking up this important issue to stabilize communities and curb the number of people falling into homelessness due to skyrocketing rents.”

A UCLA study last year found that more than two-thirds of county residents favor laws to protect renters, and a 2017 study by the real estate company Zillow concluded that every 5% increase in overall rental costs risks pushing as many as 2,000 renters into homelessness throughout Greater Los Angeles.

According to property management website Rent Café, the average rent in Los Angeles increased 6% from 2018 to 2019, from $2,320 to $2,459. Rental prices have risen faster in Marina del Rey than in most other unincorporated neighborhoods, prompting county leaders to provide additional relief.

Supervisor Janice Hahn, whose district includes Marina del Rey, brokered a deal last November to grant a 39-year lease extension to Mariners Village in exchange for converting nearly 200 of the sprawling residential complex’s 981 apartments into designated affordable housing.

‘A Willingness to Work with Us’

Oxford Triangle Association no longer opposes permanent supportive housing at Thatcher Yard

A proposal to build 98 units of permanent supportive housing on the former city maintenance yard on Thatcher Avenue in Venice now has support from an influential neighborhood group that had opposed the project.

The public-private partnership with local affordable housing developer Thomas Safran and Associates would create 68 apartments for seniors and 30 for families on the two-acre city parcel behind Yvonne B. Burke Park, with a maximum building height of 40 feet.

While the Thatcher Yards project does not necessarily require resident support to get city approval, an April 5 letter of support from the Oxford Triangle Association to the city Planning Department is a significant development.

Citing concerns about density and neighborhood character, the Oxford Triangle Association had staunchly opposed any new housing at Thatcher Yard. They aren’t exactly jumping for joy about it now, but credited developer Thomas Safran with being open to suggestions and addressing some of their concerns.

“We’ve been working on this for three years —we’ve done surveys in the community and we’ve met many, many times with the Safran Group to achieve the best project, given its inevitability,” said Karen Kennedy, an Oxford Triangle resident for the past 40 years and one of the association members who worked directly with the developer. “[Safran] demonstrated a willingness to work with us as good neighbors.”

In a recent newsletter to constituents, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin — the driving force behind the Thatcher Yard proposal — praised the Oxford Triangle Association’s letter as “a fantastic example of how neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles are coming together to help end homelessness by saying ‘yes’ to solutions.”

Kennedy said that Bonin “did nothing to help [the association] and had no influence on our decision.”

Meanwhile, the project itself is on some kind of hold with the city. A city Planning Department spokesperson did not return calls about the status of the project.