An appellate court held that the City of Los Angeles’s procedure for approval or denial of development projects in Venice did not violate residents’ due process rights because the procedure was ministerial. Venice Coalition to Preserve Unique Community Character v. City of Los Angeles, No. B285295 (2nd Dist., Jan. 9, 2019).
The City uses two different but parallel processes to approve development projects in Venice. The first is pursuant to the Venice specific plan, which was adopted to implement the polices of the City’s general plan. To comply with the specific plan, projects must either undergo a project permit compliance review or obtain a determination that the project is exempt from such review. The specific plan gives the Director of Planning the ability to issue a “Venice Sign-Off” or “VSO” for certain small development projects, such as construction and demolition of four or fewer residential units not located on certain pedestrian-friendly streets. A VSO exempts the project from a project permit compliance review. The Director first determines if a project is in a category eligible for a VSO. If the project is eligible, then the Director determines whether it meets specific, fixed development requirements based on the project’s location. A project that meets those requirements is exempt from permit compliance review.
The second process involves the Coastal Act, which applies to all development in Venice. To comply with the Coastal Act, the project must either receive a Coastal Development Permit or qualify for an exemption from the CDP requirement. Continue Reading