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Praise for Rejection of Gallery Expansion

September 10, 1989

We residents are grateful for the accurate coverage done by Times reporter Nancy Hill-Holtzman in the article "Zoning Board Rejects Expansion of Venice Gallery in a Decision That Stuns Everyone" (Times, Aug. 31). We are also grateful to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) members John W. Mack, James Leewong and Nikolaus Patsaouras who voted to grant the neighbors' appeal and thereby denied a coastal development permit to build a parking structure for the L.A. Louver, Rebecca's Restaurant and the West Beach Cafe, and to expand the L.A. Louver gallery.

At the BZA hearing, we listened with dismay as City Zoning Administrator Robert Janovici repeatedly pleaded to the board members that they not "hold the gallery hostage" due to violations of city requirements at Rebecca's Restaurant. Would that Mr. Janovici would show the same degree of concern for the neighbors who, for five years, have been "held hostage" to restaurant garbage stored on the public right of way and a street blocked by restaurant patrons who stop in the middle of both traffic lanes for restaurant valet service.

It is worth noting that (developer) Werner Scharff, quoted in the article as saying "If anybody had told me directly (about the permit violations) I would have done something" is still in violation of the 1983 requirements to provide parking free of charge with an attendant on duty at all times for Rebecca's patrons, in spite of the public airing of this violation at the recent BZA hearing and the previous hearing held Feb. 6, 1989.

Although this BZA action is a major setback for the developers, they were already granted a zone change from residential to commercial in November, 1988, by our so-called "responsible growth" Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, who has been busy upzoning 16 residentially zoned lots in this immediate neighborhood to accommodate commercial projects proposed.

We hope Councilwoman Galanter will consider reversing her recent actions which have increased the amount of commercially zoned land in an area with traffic conditions that are, in Councilwoman Galanter's own words, "abominable."




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