On December 15, a small “Public Notice” sign was taped to the front door of the Venice Post Office. It informed anyone who took the time to read it that the postal service was considering selling the carrier annex, located across the street (313 Grand Blvd.). It went on to state, “We invite your comments regarding this disposal action by December 31, 2008.”
In other words, if you noticed the sign on Dec. 15, you had two weeks to comment on the “disposal” of an important piece of property in the center of town. Otherwise, tough luck. To make matters worse, the person to whom the comments were to be addressed, Gloria Charlson, is on vacation until Jan. 5. Sorry if you had any questions about the “disposal.” Efforts by the Beachhead to reach a live person at the Pacific Facilities Service Office, where Ms. Charlson works, were unsuccessful.
Post Office trucks park on the lot and letter carriers sort our mail in the former Safeway supermarket building on the site. If the P.O. has its way, the 1.78 acre site may end up as a hotel, luxury condominiums, or an upscale shopping mall. Other uses that Venetians have mentioned are low-income housing, a transitional living center, a Venice museum, and/or a park.
Why is the Post Office anxious to sell this valuable parcel at a time when property values are tanking? Why is there such a short time for Venice residents to comment on the proposed sale?
One visitor to the Post Office, Lisa Aycock, was able to contact Charlson before she left on vacation. Aycock told the Beachhead that Charlson said the space is underutilized and that the postal service needs money. Aycock was also able to learn that the only postings were to the Mayor’s office, city and county officials and on the door of the post office.
This sale that can have a huge effect on Venice, depending on what is built here. What can you do about it? Contact Gloria Charlson by letter (USPS, Pacific Facilities Service Office, 395 Oyster Point Blvd. #225, South San Francisco, CA 94080-0300), email (email@example.com) or phone (650-615-7264) and explain that you only found out about the proposed sale when you read about it in the newspaper. Tell her you want a longer period to comment, better notification (at least to neighbors within 500 feet of the property), and a public hearing to be held in Venice.
If you have ideas for future uses of the site, include them in your communication. If you don’t want the property sold, at least until property values rise again, say that as well.