At last night’s meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee, the committee voted to recommend that the full GWNC board oppose three proposed developments, at least until the developers return to the committee with further information.
5001 W. Wilshire Blvd.
This project, at the NW corner of Wilshire and Highland, would replace the current two-story strip mall and its adjacent parking lots with an eight-story, 242-unit mixed use complex, with a large green belt (contiguous to similar green belts behind properties to the west between Citrus Ave. and Orange Drive) on the north side of the property. (The green belt would be privately owned and managed by the building’s owners, but would be open to the public during set hours each day.) The building, being built under Transit Oriented Communities guidelines, would also contain 25 affordable units, 293 resident parking spaces, and 39 parking slots for commercial tenants and customers.
Although this was the project’s first appearance at a GWNC-related meeting, the developers have been introducing the project to the adjoining Hancock Park, La Brea Hancock, Sycamore Square and Brookside neighborhoods and homeowners’ associations since early 2021. And project representatives said in last night’s meeting that their plans have been significantly shaped and adjusted by those local discussions, including several changes (such as reorienting some balconies, creating a ride share pickup/drop-off location in the parking area, and adding noise mitigation features to the second-floor roof deck) specifically made to lessen the building’s impacts on nearby residential neighbors. The presenters also noted that, because of groundwater concerns, they have jettisoned a previously-planned third level of subterranean parking, and instead settled on two levels of subterranean parking with additional parking on a mezzanine level, to avoid having to do any dewatering work during construction.
During a lengthy discussion of the project, committee members expressed thanks for work the developers have done so far, but also said that because the two nearest neighborhood associations, the Hancock Park Homeowners Association and the La Brea Hancock Homeowners Association, will not vote on the project until July, they wouldn’t be comfortable officially supporting the project without official support from those two groups. (There was also a lengthy discussion about whether or not the LUC would also need to hear from the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association and the Brookside Homeowners Association, and whether or not those groups had previously said they would willingly let the HPHOA and LBHHOA take the lead on the issue.)
The developers reported that their environmental review process concluded this spring, so their next step is to submit an “errata” document to the city, which will include the recent changes made in their design plans, in hopes of scheduling the project for an August review by the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee. So this means that if the LUC waits until August or later to hear about the July votes from the neighborhood associations, and to make their recommendation to the full GWNC board (which might not be able to vote on the matter until August or September), it could significantly delay their progress through city approval channels.
In the end, though, the committee members were not swayed by the timeline crunch, and voted to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the project until after official recommendations are received from all four nearby neighborhood associations.
3377 W. Olympic Blvd.
This project would replace a auto body shop, nursery, and non-operating restaurant and parking lot with a new seven-story, 153-unit mixed use building with 16 affordable units. It would include a mixture of 1-3 bedroom apartments, as well as several ground-level live-work spaces along the west side of the building along St. Andrews Pl. (these units would provide a stepped-down facade, with additional landscaping space, on that side of the building). There would also be a second-level pool deck on the north side of the building, and a total of 212 parking spaces.
Committee members expressed some concerns about how noise from the pool deck might affect smaller residential buildings to the north of this development, but project representative Heagi Kang said that he expects that those buildings, too, will soon be redeveloped into larger buildings. Kang said he would be very willing to seek feedback from nearby neighborhood groups, however, and the committee recommended that he return to the group after talking to neighbors in the adjacent Country Club Heights and Country Club Park communities. In the end, the committee voted to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the project until more input is received from the nearby neighborhood groups.
6101-6117 W. Melrose Ave/713-735 N. Seward
This entertainment-oriented office building, planned for the NW corner of Melrose and Seward, has been presented to and/or discussed by both the GWNC and nearby neighborhood groups several times over the last couple of years. The most recent discussion by the GWNC Land Use Committee took place in March of this year, when committee members, disappointed that the developers have not responded to requests to return to the committee with further input from neighborhood associations adjacent to the project site, and for further discussion of possible changes in response to Land Use Committee concerns about the buildings impacts on nearby neighbors, voted to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the project unless and until that input was received. (Board members concurred, and voted to oppose the project at their April meeting.)
At last night’s meeting, LUC members noted that the developers still have not responded to neighbors’ nor LUC requests for further discussions and project adjustments, so – with a city hearing now scheduled for July 28 – the committee once again voted to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the project.
The next meeting of the GWNC Land Use Committee will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26…and the next meeting of the GWNC board will be held on Wednesday, July 13, also at 6:30 p.m. (Both will likely be virtual meetings, via Zoom.)
About Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.
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