Two Venice organizations frequently at odds over new development have joined forces in insisting that the developer of a proposed large complex set aside affordable parking for nearby residents.
Officers of the Venice Town Council, a grass-roots community organization, and the Venice Chamber of Commerce said last week that parking must be provided in the $16-million Venice Renaissance Center at Rose Avenue and Main Street.
Patrick McCartney, council secretary, said an estimated 2,000 parking spaces are needed for residents of existing housing.
"The only way the community is ever going to solve the horrendous parking problems in Venice," McCartney said, "is to demand affordable new parking spaces in large-scale developments for existing residents who have no parking."
To Join Council
Phil Bubar, president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, said that he will join with the council in seeking the parking. "We must come to terms with the parking problems in the community, particularly in the beach areas," Bubar said.
The two men made their comments after a luncheon speech last week by Harlan Lee, who is developing the project, which includes condominiums, housing for senior citizens and 33,000 square feet of commercial businesses.
Lee, who grew up in Venice and now lives and works in Marina del Rey, said at the luncheon that his project will include more than 100 parking spaces not scheduled to be used by residents of the complex.
But he declined to say, in response to questions by McCartney, whether any of the spaces would be set aside at affordable rates--$50 to $90 a month, according to McCartney--for residents living near the new development.
Lee said he planned to charge "whatever the market will bear" for the extra spots. He said in an interview after the speech, "Obviously, if we can . . . get $1 an hour, the parking is not going to be affordable for someone seeking monthly parking."
He said Venice's parking problems can be solved by building parking structures but not by trying to force new developers to provide parking.
The parking disagreement appeared to be the last stumbling block in Lee's attempt to obtain community support for the project. When the development was originally proposed in August, the Venice Town Council contended that it was too large.
The four-story project initially included 75 condominiums, to be priced between $175,000 and $185,000, five units of senior-citizen housing, 18 lofts for artists and the commercial space.
Lee has since agreed to build 23 units of senior citizen housing and rent them for $100 to $300 a month. He also plans to encourage the location of neighborhood-serving businesses such as a pharmacy, grocery store and delicatessen in the commercial area.
McCartney said that the changes Lee has proposed in the project have gone a long way toward removing Town Council opposition.
"I believe he will get his project," McCartney said. "But we are prepared to fight him on the parking and, when the project is completed, to make certain that the project does include neighborhood-serving businesses. We fear that the project will include a large restaurant, which is the last thing needed in this particular area."
The project is proposed on a vacant railroad yard just south of the Santa Monica border. It is one of three planned in the area.
The development is under study by the Los Angeles city planning department and is scheduled to go to the Planning Commission for action either later this month or in November, Lee said.