The tables have turned on Gjelina. It's now Venice that finds itself in a position to deny the trendy restaurant what it wants. A decision was made by The West L.A. Area Planning Commission to reverse its earlier decision that Gjelina be granted an increase in seating from 60 to 100. The reversal acts on a complaint from the Venice Stakeholders Association, who were more upset than Gordon Ramsay that the restaurant was illegally advancing on an expansion, a move that would swallow up even more of the scarce parking spots around Abbot-Kinney. So what do these new rules mean for Gjelina?
Gjelina will have to stick to its original 60-seat limit and will also have to stop serving on its patio at 10:00 P.M., which will have to be shuttered at 11:00 P.M. The second floor of Gjelina, once rumored to be the site of a pizza place and later a private chef's table-style dining room, can not be used for any private dining. Outdoor seating is limited to only sixteen seats, which also counts towards the total 60. Also, the garage here can't be used as storage, so get your old pogo stick and comic books out of there, Travis Lett!
The Venice Shareholders Association maintains that it solely wants local businesses adhering to neighborhood rules, no matter how famous and in demand they become, and for the City Council to spearhead a better parking solution rather than grant free-reign to successful enterprises.
Says VSA President Mark Ryavec, "We support fine-dining restaurants and are sympathetic to the parking problems faced by neighborhood-serving commercial establishments...But the way to facilitate these establishments is for the Council Office to take the lead in developing neighborhood parking infrastructure, not to throw out planning and the rule of law.
But still we wonder: If only Gjelina had been just a little nicer to its neighbors, would this have gone down any differently? Do you live or work in Venice and have thoughts on the matter? We'd love to know your position in our comments.