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Westside Neighborhood Councils Want Say in Development

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This issue could turn into an interesting catfight: The Argonaut is reporting that there's growing support on the Westside to allow neighborhood councils the ability to appeal City Council planning and land use decisions, a right currently only afforded to homeowners groups. Via the paper: "Venice Neighborhood Council President Mike Newhouse has appeared before several Westside advisory boards to seek support for what many feel is a worthwhile and logical tool to have when downtown politicians take positions that they believe are contrary to the best interests of their local communities." The tipping point for the Westside seems to be the city's recent approval of a 92-unit condominium development at 3160-3178 S. Barrington Avenue. As the paper notes, the neighborhood council granted a waiver to the developer over parking spaces under the impression that the project would be smaller, but city officials ultimately approved a larger project, a move which broke the good faith agreement, according to the group. Steve Donnell, head of the planning and land use committee for the Neighborhood Council of Westchester-Playa, tells the paper he supports the motion because neighborhood councils "are empowered to be the experts on issues in their own backyards," but advises against the power being used in a "knee-jerk way." City councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents Venice, also supports the motion, according to the Argonaut.
· Neighborhood councils seek right to challenge city in decisions affecting their communities [Argonaut]
· Barrington Project Brings Out Pitchforks in Mar Vista [Argonaut]