January 29, 2015

David Graham-Caso

Councilmember Proposes “Infrastructure Financing District” to Fund Affordable Housing, Create Parking Lots and Improve Transportation Infrastructure

VENICE – Seeking to reverse a chronic lack of investment in parking, affordable housing and transportation infrastructure in the Venice area, Councilmember Mike Bonin is proposing to take advantage of a new state law that would allow a portion of property taxes from Venice to be spent only on Venice projects.

Bonin introduced a motion to the City Council this week that calls for the City to begin the process of creating an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD) in Venice. Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts, which were created by a bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last year, allow for tax increments to finance specific public capital improvements in defined areas. The districts do not levy new taxes, but rather allow for needed improvements to be made by dedicating future tax increments to the projects.

“Venice is in dire need of more parking, improved transportation infrastructure, and a lot more affordable housing,” said Bonin. “An Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District could create a revenue stream to fund those long-neglected neighborhood priorities. And it could do it without raising taxes.”

In his motion, Bonin noted that Venice’s iconic status and international renown brings the impact of millions of visitors, but little of the benefit, because the sales tax goes to the general fund of the City of Los Angeles and does not specifically benefit Venice.

“Despite being one of the most-visited tourist attractions in all of Southern California, Venice has a chronic parking shortage, and the area has significantly less public or visitor parking than other coastal communities,” Bonin wrote. “Although the neighborhood is the soundstage for countless movies, television shows, and commercials, Venice Beach’s facilities are often dirty and unpleasant, lacking necessities such as a sufficient amount of public restrooms. While residents and local businesses suffer significant inconvenience from the large crowds that litter, make noise, and stress law enforcement resources, the City has failed to invest sufficient resources to preserve and protect public safety and quality of life. At the same time, the rapidly rising cost of land risks making affordable housing in Venice a relic of a previous decade.

“Venice deserves better, and Los Angeles can do better,” said Bonin.

Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District are a new tool, and have yet to be used in the state of California. Bonin’s colleague, Mitch O’Farrell, is also seeking to form an EIFD for the areas near the Los Angeles River. EIFD’s were a legislative effort to replace Community Redevelopment Areas, which the state recently abolished. Before an EIFD can be established, the City must create a process to form, certify and govern the districts.

Bonin’s motion is the latest in a series of actions he has taken to improve quality of life and public safety in Venice. Bonin has: been working with neighbors and business leaders in Venice to establish a Business Improvement District (BID); started to form a local collaborative to find housing and services for the local homeless population; urged more cops and more effective law enforcement strategies; increased the number of cleanups; hired People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to do outreach to the unhoused population; and sought to curb the impacts of court decisions that tie the city’s hands in Venice matters, like sidewalk cleanups and vending.

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Find out more and read the full motion here:



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