About 25 people attended a public hearing Monday afternoon at the Venice Public Library to offer their opinions on a proposed temporary zip line ride on Venice Beach with most citing concerns about commercialization of the park, traffic and noise.
The public hearing was hosted by the city's Department of Public Work's Bureau of Engineering as part of the city's application for a coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission. The Bureau of Engineering's draft report found that the project satisfied the six requirements for a coastal developmnent permit and recommended approval of the project.
A decision by the city on the zip line project was expected Tuesday by the end of the day, said James Doty of the Bureau of Engineering.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department is mandated to self-generate $30 to $40 million of its annual $185 million budget and Venice Beach, which attracts roughly 16 million visitors a year, has become a draw for private ride operators willing to split revenue with the city. The zip line proposal has been under consideration since May, after an earlier proposal to erect a giant Ferris wheel on Venice Beach this summer was met with strong criticism from the community.
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl attended the hearing Monday and said he supports the project, partly because ride operators will share part of the revenue to pay for bathroom cleanups and trash maintenance on Venice Beach.
The city said the zip line would be about 600-feet long, a change from previous statements that it would be about 720-feet long, and would cost $20 for an approximately 40-second ride. The permit calls for a three-month pilot program with Canadian-based Greenheart Conservation Company.
The zip line's 50-foot tall launch tower would be located across the boardwalk from the red-and-white awning of the Sidewalk Cafe, with the landing tower located west of 17th Avenue just north of the basketball courts. Ride operators expect to have three tandem zip lines with riders being given a bracelet with designated ride times to prevent long lines. The ride would operate from 11 a.m. until dark and would employ about 20 people. In addition to the ride, several live performances would be conducted throughout the three-month period.
The Venice Neighborhood Council in May voted 8-6 with three abstentions in favor of the proposal with 15 conditions attached. Those conditions included a pledge that two-thirds of gross revenues be spent on Venice Beach for maintenance and enhanced services and that the attraction be dismantled at the end of the three-month trial period.
Rosendahl said he hoped the permit application would be in front of the California Coastal Commisison at its August meeting and the ride, which can be assembled in 72 hours, could be open in time for Labor Day.