It seems that a number of people in Venice are complaining about the Public Storage project now under construction in this community (Times, Jan. 25). Apparently these civic-minded folks are concerned because the building is, in their eyes, "ugly."
Well, to my way of thinking, people without homes is far more ugly than anything that Public Storage is building.
Venice has become a rich community where housing affordable to lower-income people has become more and more scarce. A recent survey done by Los Angeles magazine showed that, on a square foot basis, only Beverly Hills housing has increased in price more than Venice in the past four years. That same article pointed out that even though Venice homes were far smaller than those in every other neighborhood, they still more than doubled in value, from an average of $124,264 in 1979 to $256,802 in 1989.
Everyone agrees that traffic and parking problems in Venice are reaching alarming proportions. Another shopping mall, as many critics advocate, would certainly make a bad situation worse. Located within two blocks of the Venice Renaissance, the Ross Cafe, Chiat/Day and Gold's Gym, intense use of this property would have had horns honking and people cursing--just what we don't need.
We need affordable housing. Coupled with the low-intensity use of Public Storage, this badly needed housing is just what the doctor ordered. Parenthetically, some neighbors with small Venice homes will welcome a storage facility in the community, so maybe it's not as inappropriate a use as was implied by the arbiters of good taste.
I think that Councilwoman (Ruth) Galanter made a good decision with this project. The community gets badly needed affordable housing, a low intensity use storage facility and fewer cars on the road. Sounds like a winning proposition to me.