Court dismisses petition to block fully entitled supportive and affordable housing development with 140 homes on City-owned parking lot, a key piece of Mayor Bass’s affordable housing agenda


LOS ANGELES, CA — For the second time in the past month, the Los Angeles Superior Court rejected an attempt to block the Venice Dell Community, a City-approved affordable and supportive housing development. Judge James C. Chalfant ruled on Tuesday, June 4, that the City of Los Angeles acted fully within its rights to enter into a Disposition and Development  Agreement with affordable housing providers to provide 140 much-needed new affordable homes in Venice on a city-owned parking lot.


This follows a ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin on Tuesday, May 21st in a separate case granting a complete victory to the City of Los Angeles and its partner affordable housing providers that rejected a multi-year CEQA lawsuit effort to block Venice Dell Community.

Becky Dennison, Executive Director of Venice Community Housing, made the following statement:

“Ever since this location was first identified as a potential site for housing by the City in 2016, more than 2,500 people have worked to shape the Venice Dell Community affordable housing project. This ruling paves the way for these 140 affordable homes to become a reality and provide much-needed homes to unhoused and low-income neighbors in dire need of a safe, comfortable place to live. Venice Dell is a key part of the future of permanent housing in our City, and we’re ready to show the way! We are grateful for the hundreds of Venetians and thousands of Angelenos who have supported us on this journey, and we are excited to work with the Bass administration to complete the final ministerial approvals and move on to construction.”


Sarah Letts, Executive Director of Hollywood Community Housing, made the following statement:

“The courts have now removed the last remaining legal challenge holding up development of this desperately needed housing. We are excited to move forward with Venice Dell and provide 140 affordable homes to Venice that will enable us to bring our unhoused neighbors inside to safe, dignified housing. We look forward to working with Mayor Bass and her administration to take the final steps to bring this project across the finish line so that we can build a more just and equitable future in Venice and help fulfill our community’s vision of a Westside for all.”

Judge Chalfant rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that Los Angeles Administrative Code was violated in the process of approving the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) regarding converting a City-owned parking lot into the Venice Dell Community.


Azeen Khanmalek, Executive Director of Abundant Housing Los Angeles, made the following statement:


“The movement to scale up the use of underutilized City-owned land was at stake in this courtroom, and it’s an enormous victory that the plaintiffs’ argument was rejected. Mayor Bass’s Executive Directive 3 prioritizes the use of City-owned property to address homelessness, and the Venice Dell Community is a perfect example of how we can turn a parking lot into the affordable homes we badly need. A different decision could have created a new way to block affordable housing on city-owned land, and threatened a policy at the foundation of our city’s movement to address this humanitarian crisis.”


The case was brought by the Coalition for Safe Coastal Development and Charles Rosin against the City of Los Angeles, with Venice Community Housing and Hollywood Community Housing Corporation identified as real parties in interest. Both long-time local non-profit developers were represented in this matter by pro bono counsel from Alston & Bird with additional pro bono support from Latham & Watkins. On July 1, all involved parties filed a joint Notice of Lodging of Proposed Judgment, an administrative step required to close out the case.


Turning city-owned land into safe, dignified housing

The Venice Dell Community will include 140 affordable apartment homes for low-income artists, lower-wage households, and individuals and families who have experienced homelessness. The property will serve Venice residents and visitors with small-scale retail, green and open space, and public parking, and will also alleviate homelessness by implementing a housing and service model that has a proven track record of saving public funds and improving lives.

Venice Dell will be developed on City-owned land at 200 N. Venice Blvd., first identified in 2016 by the City Administrative Office as one of the original Affordable Housing Opportunity Sites. The City initiated a competitive bid process in 2016, and after reviewing numerous proposals for this site, approved the CAO’s recommendation to select the development team of Venice Community Housing and Hollywood Community Housing.

Only a few procedural steps remain to advance Venice Dell to groundbreaking. To date, the Disposition and Development Agreement with the City has been signed, the entitlements approved by City Council and upheld by the Court, the community engaged and consulted, and a portion of the financing awarded. The Coastal Commission staff will submit a report and recommendation and schedule a hearing as soon as the City takes certain administrative actions that they have been delaying.

Restoring racial and economic diversity to Venice

Although Angelenos have made it clear at the ballot box and in polls that they want more permanent housing as a solution to homelessness, Venice saw zero production of 100% affordable multi-family housing from 2001 to 2022 as rising prices turned a once-diverse community increasingly wealthy and white.

Gentrification has eroded Venice’s history as an inclusive neighborhood, as one of the only beach communities not fully bound by racially restrictive covenants. Even by the early 1990s, it remained both racially and economically diverse, with incomes ranging from the lowest in the region to the highest. Oakwood, the historic Black neighborhood within Venice, was 75% Black and Latinx in 1990, but by 2017 was 75% white.

Venice Community Housing provides housing for 1,200 tenants and is a mainstay of keeping Venice economically and racially diverse. The overwhelming majority of VCH tenants are Latinx and Black, with about 50% of households served headed by or including people with disabilities. Venice Community Housing’s efforts to create new 100% affordable housing in Venice has won wide community support far in excess of opposition, adding over 80 units of supportive and affordable housing in Venice since 2022.

While significant, these new units in no way make up for the lack of housing development and loss of units for the previous 20 years. Venice Dell would help make a much bigger impact, and continue the process of ensuring access to the Coastal community of Venice for people of all income levels.