Some Venice residents living near property owned by the Venice-Marina del Rey Board of Realtors fear that the group's bid to change the property to a limited commercial zone will encourage further development in their neighborhood.
The board has applied to the Los Angeles Planning Commission for a zoning change from R4-1 multiple dwelling to CR-1 limited commercial for the lot at Lucille Avenue and Brenta Place where its one-story office building is located.
Board member Richard Otterstrom said the board wants the zoning change so that it can keep its office at the site. A variance that was granted to the board when it bought the property ran out, and a recent state law prohibits an additional variance.
Neighbors say they are afraid that the rezoning would stimulate the spread of commercial zoning into the area, which is about two blocks north of Venice Boulevard.
"It's a residential street, there's single family residences all around (the board's property)," said Tom Shea, a resident of Lucille Avenue. "The residents don't want commercial intrusion in their area."
Janet Gerard, another Lucille Avenue resident, said she thinks the real estate board should simply move to a commercial area.
"They knew it was a residential area when they bought it. The variance they got was a gift to them, and the Board of Realtors must have known they would have to leave."
Otterstrom said the board has no ulterior motives in applying for the rezoning.
"We're not looking for an unlimited commercial use. We're not looking to further develop the property or to get (the) zoning (change) to sell the property.
The Los Angeles City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the request Monday at 9:30 a.m. on the second floor of the West Los Angeles Municipal Building at 1645 Corinth Ave.
The change would require the City Council to amend the general plan.
A state law passed last April requires that zoning for an area conform with the city's overall plan for that area. The Los Angeles city plan designates the board's property as multiple residential.
Jane Blumenfeld, a commission hearing examiner, said that the Planning Commission could grant conditional approval for the board's request without a change in the general plan. The City Council would have to amend the plan before final approval could be granted, she said.
Conditional approval is not unprecedented, she said, adding that there are "tons" of zoning changes approved by the commission that are waiting for plan amendments to be granted by the council.
Blumenfeld said that if the zone change is not approved, the board would be prohibited from operating at the site.
"They would have to move and go to a commercial zone," she said.