Beginning in 2018, the City of Venice began revising the zoning and building regulations that determine how and where growth and development take place. The body of rules is called the Land Development Regulations (LDRs). This is the first overhaul of these rules since the 1970s and the process is required to carry out Venice’s 2017-2027 Comprehensive Plan.
Venice voters provided significant input into the LDRs, first to the Planning Commission and beginning in 2022, to City Council, the ultimate decision-maker. Residents sent hundreds of letters pleading to protect Venice’s historic assets and streetscape, and hundreds of voters showed up for City Council meetings to provide input. More than 1,480 residents and visitors also signed a petition to preserve the downtown 35’ building height limit. The Council ignored all of this public input when it voted in July 2022 to approve LDRs that contained a number of rules which public comment overwhelmingly opposed, such as:
- Permitting taller buildings in many neighborhoods, including in Venice’s historic downtown, where City Council changed how building heights are measured.
- Neighborhoods around the historic downtown face the prospect of 6-story buildings in residential areas of 1- and 2-story homes. The Downtown Edge District near the Jervey Library, where some of the last John Nolen-era 1920’s homes exist, could allow buildings twice as tall as downtown.
- Residential planned unit developments (PUDs) are facing the possibility of outsized commercial development of a scale that is clearly not envisioned by the City’s 2017 Master Plan, and should only be permitted in areas zoned for commercial use.
Why This Matters
The new LDRs are a blueprint for remaking Venice- transforming the small-scale downtown core, the walkable neighborhoods and the visionary John Nolen Plan that residents cherish — and replacing it with out-of-scale buildings, increased congestion and strained infrastructure.
City Council rushed through the LDRs with many recent edits, voting 5-0 (with the Mayor absent), despite formal requests from local nonprofits and civic society groups to allow more time for discussion.
The only recourse available to Venice voters is a citizen referendum. If at least 10% of registered city voters give their signature in support, we can ask City Council to repeal the new LDRs and revise the objectionable sections.
If City Council continues to ignore its constituents, the matter will be put to a citizens’ referendum in a future election and the voters will decide.
What You Can Do
- If you’re a registered voter within Venice city limits, sign the petition.
- Whether or not you’re a registered Venice voter, please share this information to help raise awareness. You are important and this is your city too.