VENICE - The California Coastal Commission gave its staff more time to do its due diligence regarding a massive project that would significantly impact Venice if it moved forward.

The Commission voted Thursday to grant an extension of the consideration period for Coastal to review the Venice Median Project land use plan amendments up to a year. 

The extension will give the Commission time to properly evaluate the project, a 103,957-square-foot commercial and residential mixed-plan building planned on 40 lots in the historic Venice Canals.

RELATED STORY: Appeals Reveal Extent Bonin, VCHC Went to Push Venice Median Project Approval

Traditionally there is a 90-day time limit for the review of projects in the coastal area. Under a section of the Coastal Act and California Code of Regulations, the Commission may extend any time limitation established on projects for up to one year. In this case, Staff recommended that the Commission review the project up until November 15, 2023.

Before voting on the extension, a member of the Commission highlighted that 116 letters were submitted to weigh in on the extension; of those, 114 were in favor of it.

An organization fighting the project, Safe Coastal Development, stated in an email this week that the extra time is needed because the City ignored its pleas to address the project's severe environmental issues and violations of the Coastal Act.

More Work

Last month, the Commission sent the Venice Median Project application back to the nonprofit developers, Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC) and Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (HCHC). The Commission asked for more complete information on more than 20 critical items, including matters pertaining to sea-level rise, groundwater use, public access, how parking decisions were made and the nature of the financial arrangements involving the developers.

The same week, numerous appeals were filed by a wide-ranging group of people and organizations against the project. California Coastal Commission Executive Director John Ainsworth also filed an appeal on behalf of the Commission.  Ainsworth noted several essential contentions against the project: design standards, height concerns, parking requirements, boat-launch issues, cultural resources and coastal hazards.

CD11 candidates have differing opinions on the project. Erin Darling recently voiced his support for the project during a backyard meet and greet. Darling cited his backing for the nonprofit developer VCHC.

RELATED ARTICLE: Darling Doubles Down on Support for VCHC Project Despite Extensive Concerns

 Traci Park, also a candidate for CD11 has stated she stand with the "thousands of Venice community members who oppose the Venice Median Project."

"From the constant misinformation, due process violations and lack of transparency, serious environmental concerns, loss of coastal access for tens of thousands of visitors, to the significant change to the historic Venice Canal community, this project is wrong for Venice.

"The exorbitantly high fees and costs per unit are reason enough to oppose this development. Despite Mike Bonin's efforts to mislead the City Council and ram this through before he leaves office, the Executive Director of the Coastal Commission has filed his own appeal on the project, which substantiates many of the concerns and issues the city has ignored.

"We must work together as a community to build affordable and workforce housing, but this proposed development is not the solution."