The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee voted last night to recommend the GWNC support the renewal of the Conditional Use Beverage (CUB) permit for Cat and Fiddle Restaurant and Pub at 742 N. Highland Avenue. The issue was also discussed at the committee’s September meeting, where many residents turned out to debate the restaurant’s request, in the renewal application, to extend operating hours for special events. Ultimately, however, the South Hollywood Neighborhood Association, which represents the area around the restaurant, agreed to support the restaurant’s request, contingent on conditions outlined in a letter sent to the committee. In the end, the committee members voted unanimously (6-0) to recommend that the GWNC board support the application.
Much of the last night’s meeting was dedicated to a variance request by Brookside residents who want to place a garage in the front of a recently split lot at 5030 W. 9th Street. The owners of the property told the committee that they have lived in the neighborhood for more than 45 years, and recently split the large lot to build another house for them to live in, while their married children and family could move into their current home. The proposed location of the new garage, however, violated Brookside’s new R-1 zoning rules, which require garages to be placed at the rear of the property.
Several neighbors spoke against the project last night, saying it would set a precedent for allowing front garages and would thus reduce the effectiveness of the hard-fought battle to win the new zoning restrictions.
“Brookside is very divided,” explained resident Jan Wieranga, who spoke against the variance request. “But everyone agreed that we wanted garages in the rear to protect character of the community.”
Other residents pointed to the removal of several trees that were 80-100 years old, and concern for building over the Brookside watershed.
In the end, the committee voted 5-1 to recommend that the GWNC board support the variance application. The issue will be voted on at the next GWNC board meeting on December 11.
In other actions last night, the Land Use Committee also voted to support a renewal application, with no changes in operations, for a CUB for the 7-Eleven Convenience Store at 5279 W. Olympic Blvd. The owners of the store secured the support of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association by agreeing to follow the original conditions laid out by the association five years ago, when the CUB was first issued, including limiting the sale of alcohol to the hours of 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. The committee voted unanimously (6-0) to recommend that the GWNC board support the CUB application.
In other business, the Land Use Committee reviewed the placement of driveways for a new 3-4 story mixed use building ranging from 35’ to 56’ in height, with 33 units (3 ELI) and 4,895 sq. ft. of commercial space, at 6535 Melrose Avenue. This is a Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) project that was recently enlarged due to the TOC rules. The committee had previously voted to oppose the project as currently presented, but agreed to weigh in on the placement of driveways, since they were asked to do so by the City Council District 4 office. (Because the project is being permitted under the city’s Transit Oriented Communities program, it can proceedg regardless of community support but it will be reviewed by the Council office.) The Land Use Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the GWNC board continue its opposition to the project, with members saying they would prefer to see a restricted 10 foot ingress off Highland Avenue, and 10 foot egress into the alley, with a right turn on Melrose Avenue, which they said would have the least negative impact on local traffic.
After a brief discussion, the committee also voted to recommend that the GWNC board support the motion in Council File 19-0623, the “Empty Homes Tax/Vacant and Habitable Housing Units” proposal that calls for the city to research imposing a vacancy tax on empty housing units. The committee’s recommendation of support included a request that single family properties be exempted from the tax, and that the GWNC submit a Community Impact Statement (CIS) to the city.
Though no action was taken on by-right project at 307 N Wilton Place, LUC members thanked the developers for coming before the committee to discuss their request for a demolition permit. The developers plan to demolish a single family home with 3 rental units and replace it with a 5 rental units. Members of the committee did express their concerns about the new building’s design and asked the developers to consider the local architecture in their design process.
Next, the committee reviewed the landscape plan for a 25-unit apartment buiding at 726-732 S. Wilton Place, also being constructed under TOC guidelines. The Committee voted 5-1 to recommend support of the project.
Finally, the committee voted unanimously (6-0) to “vehemently” oppose the demolition of a single family home at 816 N Orange Drive.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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