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Rosendahl Rebukes Postal Service Over Sale of Venice Post Office

In a strongly worded letter, City Councilman Bill Rosendahl says the U.S. Postal Service is violating federal rules by failing to comply with local planning and building codes as it moves forward with its plans to sell the Venice Post Office.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes Venice, has sent a letter to the U.S. Postal Service demanding an immediate end to the building of a postal facility to replace the historic Venice Post Office on Windward Circle.

The letter, which was sent Tuesday by Rosendahl and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, also requested an audit of the Postal Service's department of Facilities and Network Operations. At issue is the Postal Service's construction at the nearby Venice Carrier Annex at 313 Grand Blvd. to handle retail operations currently provided at the Venice Post Office at 1601 Main St.

The Postal Service has failed to comply with local planning, zoning requirements and building codes in violation of the Code of Federal Regulations, the letter said. The Postal Service has started construction on the Venice Carrier Annex to house the relocated retail operations, while simultaneously seeking to sell the Venice Post Office, the letter said.

The letter requested an immediate investigation and audit and demanded that the Postmaster General cease activites to relocate retail services to the Venice Carrier Annex.

The Venice Neighborhood Council during its March 20 meeting unanimously endorsed sending letters to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Rep. Henry Waxman urging them to support HR3591 and SB1853 that place restrictions on the closure of post office facilities. The bills require the Postal Service to allow users of a postal facility designated for closure or consolidation to present their views, conduct an investigation that includes consideration of the impact on the community of a facility's closure, submit a written decision on closure or consolidation of a facility and make public a notice of its findings posted within 90 days.

A wide range of community members have protested the plans to close the 1939 Venice Post Office and its historic mural known as the "Story of Venice," or the "First Thirty Years of Venice's History," that is one of two remaining murals by artist Edward Biberman. The art deco post office was built during the Great Depression under the federal Works Project Administration and is the last WPA building remaining in downtown Venice.

An online petition to save the Venice Post Office gathered more than 800 signatures.

The Venice Post Office building has been listed for sale online with an asking price of $7.5 million.

steve April 05, 2012 at 01:54 PM
in the absence of an updated community plan for Del Rey, Mar Vista and Palms, you are going to get this more and more. If Rosendahl was to find a way to have this updated, (more than 20 years since last update) instead of just saying City has no money, this kind of thing will not happen. Get used to it people, this will happen more often without a community plan update.
Jed Pauker April 05, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Thanks for covering this, Paul. I understand that online and ink signatures now total about 1500. A number of Venetians filed a Petition for Review, now pending before District Columbia Circuit Court, regarding the Postal Regulatory Commission's decision to enable VMPO's closure. While Mr. Waxman doesn't yet represent Venice, he does represent Santa Monica, whose US Postal Service employees were recently notified that Santa Monica Main Post Office will be closed and its services moved to a facility approximately a mile away. Interested parties may write for further information: savesantamonicamainpostoffice@gmail.com. On Tuesday, April 17 (Tax Day!), from 3-5:30pm, the Coalition to Save the Venice Post Office plans to hold a rally in front of the historic building at 1601 Main Street on Windward Circle. For more information: http://venicenc.org/vmpo. Venice Neighborhood Council, under the leadership of President Linda Lucks, supports SB1853/HR3591, and has received support from our US Congressperson Janice Hahn. The Coalition to Save the Venice Post Office continues to receive united community support, and has received a support letter from the Union of Canadian Postal Workers on this issue. All parties continue to seek definitive support from Rep Waxman and Sens Feinstein and Boxer.

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