CBS Los Angeles — A nasty battle is brewing in Venice with residents in two distinct camps. Many people are furious that a billionaire family wants to build a mega mansion in the vicinity. To erect the home, a historic black church would have to come down. Some residents are asking the Penske family to leave the First Baptist Church of Venice — located in the 600 block of Westminster Avenue — alone. Others see the proposed mansion as a boon to property values.
Wednesday night, protesters shared their concerns over the mega mansion with the West LA Planning Commission. “It is a sickness that you want to go into a community and care more about your own dreams to have a huge mansion than about a neighborhood,” said one woman.
Penske and his wife, former supermodel Elaine Irwin Penske, who was once married to rocker John Mellencamp, also spoke to the commission. “We’ve had extensive conversation, exchanges of email, calls and meetings with community members and residents, often with multiple families, some individual. In addition, we’ve received numerous letters from the neighbors and surrounding neighbors sharing their stories and offering support,” Elaine Penske told the commission.
The commission could not decide on a vote this evening, and decided to postpone a vote until Aug. 15.
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