At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 22, the GWNC Land Use Committee heard an update on revisions to the Hollywood Community Plan, and voted to recommend that the GWNC Board support two land use applications – one for a new apartment building at 925 S. Manhattan Pl., and one for the renewal of a liquor permit at the Petit Trois restaurant at 716 N. Highland Ave.
925 S. Manhattan Pl.
The Land Use Committee first considered this project at last month’s meeting, where it was presented as an intentional near twin to a project at 851 S. Manhattan Pl., which the Committee voted to support at the same meeting. When this project, just a block south on the same street, was first presented, however, committee members expressed disappointment that there wasn’t at least some design variation from the other building, and also asked that the developers do some outreach to neighbors (of which there are more at this site than near the 851 site) to see how they feel about the project.
This month, the developers returned with a revised design that adds some specially-designed screening panels to the distinctive open staircase at the front of the 925 building, to give it some variation from the other building’s design, and reported that they have reached out to all of the project’s nearest neighbors for feedback. Project representative Jay Park also said the developers would agree to reserve one additional unit in this building – as they agreed to do at 851 S. Manhattan – for moderate income tenants, in addition to the four currently designated for Extremely Low Income tenants.
In general, committee members’ reactions to the updates were very favorable, with several praising the developers’ responsiveness and outreach efforts, and committee secretary Cathy Roberts commenting, “I think you should give lessons [to other developers] in how to do outreach.”
As it turned out, however, once consequence of the outreach was that several residents who live across the street from the development site, and who said they heard about the project as a result of the developers’ recent contacts, also called in to the meeting to voice their opposition to the project, citing worries that it will bring densification, visual congestion, and added traffic and parking woes to the now relatively quiet block.
In the end, however, the Committee voted by a margin of seven votes in favor, one opposed and one abstention to recommend that the GWNC Board support the project.
Hollywood Community Plan Update
Next up at the meeting was a city presentation about the new Hollywood Community Plan. The city currently has 35 different Community Plans, which outline land use goals and rules for different parts of the city. The plans are legally required to be updated every few years, and the Hollywood Community Plan – which covers areas including and north of Melrose Ave., up into the Hollywood Hills, including Griffith Park – went through its most recent update process between 2005 and 2012. But after the updated Hollywood Community Plan was approved in 2012, a lawsuit challenged the update, and it was withdrawn, so the city reverted to the rules in the old 1988 Hollywood Community Plan and started the update process over again.
A new draft of the updated HCP was released in August, and the city is now beginning community outreach and communications efforts before it heads into the formal approval process. The city is currently holding virtual office hours for the document, and is doing webinars to explain the highlights of the Plan. There will also be a series of public hearings later this year, and the Planning Department is scheduled to hold approval hearings and votes in early 2021.
According to city planner Priya Mehendele, who helped present the draft of the new plan to the GWNC Land Use Committee on Tuesday, the HCP is designed to encourage affordable and multi-unit housing construction, neighborhood commercial development, sustainability, the development of open spaces, and new hillside regulations in the various neighborhoods it covers.
Co-presenter Linda Lou further explained that the Hollywood area contains several distinct kinds of districts, each with its own land use concerns and opportunities: Regional Centers have opportunities for zone changes that could create additional jobs and affordable housing incentives, and Transit Corridors also provide opportunities for zone changes to encourage specific kinds of businesses – such as fitness centers and and vintage stores – which are not currently allowed, but which would appeal to many residents in those areas. Also, in some of those areas, such as the portion of Melrose Ave. in the map below, Lou explained that the plan proposes incentivizing affordable housing, instead of other kinds of development, such as hotels, which were specifically supported in the previous plan. Also, she said, the plan would specifically promote increased density by providing new developer incentives in Multi-Family Residential areas…and it would aim to support robust job-producing businesses in Media Districts, while also preserving space for entertainment industry uses and creative offices.
Lou said the plan aims for consistent supports in each of the various kinds of areas it outlines, and also tries to accurately reflect current uses in the different areas, some of which have changed since much since 1988.
Finally, in addition to the Community Plan update itself, there is an additional Community Plan Implementation Overlay (CPIO) District proposed, which would establish specific incentives and other mechanisms for implementing provisions of the overall Hollywood Community Plan. The CPIO provides additional regulations for each type of district in the Community Plan area, and is specifically aimed at facilitating the production of affordable housing, safeguarding historic residential areas, and bolstering pedestrian-friendly design, especially in commercial areas.
The city is actively seeking comments and input on both the Hollywood Plan and the CPIO drafts. To learn more about them, see https://planning.lacity.org/plans-policies/community-plan-update/hollywood-community-plan-update. The site includes interactive maps of the plan areas, details on the specific proposals, the approval timeline, contacts for more information or feedback, and much more, including a helpful FAQ for the CPIO.
Utility Box Art at 2nd and Manhattan Pl.
The city has been soliciting artwork submissions for utility boxes around the city (the gray metal cabinets in the parkway area between the sidewalk and street), and when a submission is received for a residential street in our area, it is sent to the local neighborhood council for review.
This month, a design submission was received for a box near the intersection of 2nd Street and Manhattan Pl. It comes from a mother/daughter team, and is a whimsical depiction of a dog wearing a COVID-19-friendly face covering.
Committee members speculated that the design could become a bit dated over time, if and when the current COVID-19 pandemic recedes, but in the end they voted unanimously to recommend that the GWNC board support the application.
716 N. Highland Ave.
The Petit Trois restaurant, at 716 N. Highland Ave., has submitted an application for a renewal of its current liquor permit, which allows the sale and dispensing of a full ine of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 a.m. There are no changes in terms or conditions requested from the previous permit.
Committee members noticed that while Petit Trois has only a few seats, the permit describes a 60-seat restaurant space, and asked if Petit Trois is planning to take over the space previously occupied by the adjacent Trois Mec restaurtant, which closed recently and has the same ownership.
The application representative said Petit Trois has no plans to expand, but explained that the original permit covered both restaurant spaces, so the renewal request does as well.
Because there is no city hearing date set for the application, and there is some time yet for further discussion and deliberation, committee chair Philip Farha requested that the applicants do some additional outreach to local neighbors for their feedback, and return to a future meeting to continue the conversation. No motions were made or votes taken.
Several other items were listed on Tuesday’s agenda, but were not considered or discussed for various reasons:
105 S. St. Andrews Pl. – The Land Use Committee previously voted to recommend that the GWNC board oppose this application for a 5-story, 18-unit apartment building, as currently presented. But the committee also invited the applicants to return for further consideration if certain design changes are made. The representatives are planning to return next month, so there was no discussion at this month’s meeting.
4670 Beverly Blvd. – The Land Use Committee voted at its August meeting to recommend that the GWNC board oppose this project, a 30-unit residential building directly across the street from the historic Dover apartments. At this week’s meeting, Farha reported that the project representatives told him it’s not worth their time to come back for further discussions and consideration. No further votes were taken, so the committee’s original recommendation stands.
617 N. Rossmore Ave. – This application was for a pre-demolition inspection at the address listed (where developers plan to build a rather uniquely-shaped apartment building), but none of the applicants came to the meeting. Farha said the GWNC is already on record opposing the building application, so no actions were taken. (Though a later check of both Buzz and GWNC records shows that the proposal has not yet been formerly considered by either the LUC or the GWNC board…and a check of city records shows no current discretionary case numbers, indicating that this is probably a by-right construction project – requiring no special approvals – and is not required to go through a public review process.)
932 S. Garmercy Dr. – This was another pre-demolition inspection request. No representatives from the project attended the meeting, so the committee members voted unanimously – as is their policy in such cases – to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the demolition unless and until further information is received.
219 N. St. Andrews Pl. – This was another pre-demolition inspection request, which several committee members familiar with the neighborhood said is probably for the demolition of a garage to make way for a new Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). No action was taken, and committee members said they would reach out to neighbors for more information.
307 N. Wilton Pl. – This last item was a request for a pre-demolition inspection at residential building at the NW corner of Beverly and Wilton. Committee members noted that the building is already boarded up, and the project planned for the site has already been approved by the city. No action was taken.
The next GWNC Land Use Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 27, at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom.
The next meeting of the GWNC Board will be held on Wednesday, October 14, at 7:00 p.m., also via Zoom.
Links for both meetings will be provided on the GWNC website, along with agendas, at least 72 hours before the events.