L. A. Planning Commission to Vote on Temporary Growth Limits for Venice

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Planning Commission next week is scheduled to vote on temporary growth limits for Venice where several proposed commercial and residential projects are expected to increase already severe traffic congestion.

The interim control ordinance would pave the way for permanent restrictions, but still would permit considerable construction, said Rubell Helgeson, planning deputy to Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, whose district includes Venice.

Height Limits

Among other things, the law would limit heights of new buildings to between 28 and 35 feet. It also would encourage more public parking by allowing property owners to contribute to a parking fund instead of requiring them to set aside a certain percentage of their lots for on-site parking.

Galanter proposed the temporary limits to give planners a chance to keep growth in check while preparations are under way for a permanent ordinance, a Local Coastal Plan mandated by the state Coastal Commission in 1976.

The temporary law has a life span of a year, but it can be extended by the City Council on a year-to-year basis until the permanent law is in effect.

"There's really been an epidemic of people coming in and applying for variances and building permits" for projects that exceed permissible densities, said Jim Bickhart, Galanter's legislative deputy.

"And that really makes it difficult when you have people bumping up the ceiling like that," he continued. "It makes it difficult to do any planning with an idea to getting control of the situation."

The Planning Commission on Dec. 17 voted to postpone a decision on the temporary ordinance to Jan. 7 because members deadlocked on whether to include the Oxford Triangle neighborhood under the law.

An attorney for a developer planning a 2.1-million-square-foot shopping and residential complex for the neighborhood argued that imposing the law on the area would be unfair because separate building limits for the Oxford Triangle were passed earlier this year.

The project, called Admiralty Place, would be one of several large developments planned for the Venice area. Some of the others are the 957-acre Playa Vista project south of Marina del Rey and the 1.4-million-square-foot Marina Place complex in Culver City.

Coastal Plan

Galanter promised during her City Council campaign last spring to complete the long-delayed Local Coastal Plan for Venice, which was due in 1979. The plan is one of many ordered for California's coastal communities during the late 1970s to return control of coastal planning to local municipalities.

Galanter was a member of the now-defunct South Coast Regional Coastal Commission from 1977 to 1981.

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