“This is the oddest decision I have seen in many years,” Mark Ryavec, the president of civic improvement group Venice Stakeholders Association, tells Yo! Venice! Yesterday, the group issued a legal challenge to a recent decision by the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission to grant Gjelina approval to increase from 60 to 100 seats. The problem? Besides allegedly violating a slew of city codes, there’s technically only one parking space at Gjelina and demand for the restaurant is choking the street. “The adjacent neighbors are incensed that restaurant patrons are taking all their parking, forcing them to park at great distances from their homes,” Ryavec continues.
The VSA thinks that an increase in customers should naturally make the restaurant responsible for providing more parking spaces than the one spot handed down when Gjelina took over a retail space. The organization insists it supports Gjelina, but must take surrounding businesses and residents into consideration as well, in addition to enforcing correct legal procedures. The association’s treasurer says, “The way to facilitate such establishments is not to throw out planning and the rule of law, but instead to plan ahead and invest in our neighborhood parking infrastructure to encourage such places to locate here and exist within the mandates of the Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan.”
Meanwhile, Ryavac is perplexed over the fact that Gjelina’s lawyers have admitted that the restaurant packs in 40 more seats than it was legally allowed, saying, “I would have expected to see the Commission revoke the restaurant’s Conditional Use Permit, at least until they are in compliance…Instead, the Commission rewarded their bad behavior, legalizing the violation with a 66% increase in their seating.”
The VSA is hoping that the city will make the ever-popular restaurant comply with laws as they are written on the books. In the legal complaint, the group says it is filing the action “urgently in an effort to avoid litigation against the City for a patently illegal action taken by the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission (WLAAPC)…” If said action is not taken, the VSA is likely to file a lawsuit against the city. Either way, you’ll still probably have to queue up for Sunday brunch here.
Gjelina Venice : 100 Patrons and One Parking Space? [Yo! Venice!]