Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

GWNC Land Use Committee Makes Recommendations on Three Developments, One Liquor License

Members of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee at last night’s monthly meeting.


On the night before the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council‘s planned forum on Transit Oriented Communities developments, the GWNC Land Use Committee weighed in on one proposed TOC project, two applications for other kinds of housing developments, one Larchmont Blvd. liquor license application, and a citywide revision to streamline various kinds of land use applications.


930 S. Mansfield Ave.




This application – for a 4-story, 19-unit apartment building, to be built under the city’s Transit Oriented Communities Guidelines  – is for a revised version of a project originally submitted for this location back in January, 2019.  At that time, however, the developers apparently demolished the existing 1920s duplex on the site without going through the city’s required historic review process, and the city placed the application on hold until the review was done.  Instead of submitting the required review, however, the developers withdrew the project application, changed architects, and are now planning a revised version that uses only the TOC’s base-level incentives, without requesting additional incentives (as the original version did).  This revision gives the project “by right” status for the owners/developers, exempts it from any sort of city planning or community review process, and allows it to be approved with only sign-off on a new building permit from the Department of Building and Safety.  Responding to requests from neighbors and the GWNC for more information, however, the developers did visit the Land Use Committee last night, and presented the basic information about the project.

During the discussion, both residents of the Sycamore Square neighborhood, where the project is located, and members of the Land Use committee were highly critical of the lack of architectural context in the architect’s rendering, above, and criticized the building’s lack of compatibility with the surrounding buildings on the block, which remains as originally developed with 1920s  and ’30s duplexes and small apartment buildings, none of which exceed two stories.  Committee member Jane Usher called the 4-story modern design’s contrast with its neighborhood context “stark,” while committee member Rory Cunningham said it looks “like a spaceship dropped in over 1930s Los Angeles.”


Pre-demolition photo of 930 S. Mansfield, with its nearest neighbors, via Google Maps.


Committee member Daniela Prowizor-Lacayo suggested that the developers could win a lot more favor from the community if they would at least take some architectural cues from the neighborhood, including things like building materials, pitched instead of flat roofs, and window shapes and groupings, but the developers, who are in the process of securing their building permit and plan to start excavation soon, did not offer any revisions.

In the end, the committee voted unanimously to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the project.


951 S. Wilton Pl.



This application is for a new 4-story, 8-unit building in the Wilshire Park neighborhood.  While the developers were eligible to build a slightly larger building under TOC rules, architect Sean Mo said they chose not to use the TOC program, and instead kept the design a bit smaller and within “by right” limits for the location.  Mo also provided drawings showing a bit more detail of the surrounding neighborhood, how certain stylistic elements were borrowed from the adjacent historic area, and how some more modern elements (such as the elevator shaft) have been placed so they are not obvious from the building’s main facade.

Committee members praised the presentation and design elements (saying Mo had done many of the things the developers in the evening’s previous presentation had not done), but when they asked about comments from neighbors and the neighborhood’s Historic Preservation Overlay Zone board, things didn’t go quite as smoothly.  Mo said that the HPOZ board was complimentary and provided a letter of support for the project, but committee member John Gresham, who is the GWNC’s alternate board member for the Wilshire Park area, said the HPOZ board has reviewed the project, but did not yet vote to approve it, and asked the developers to do some neighborhood outreach, especially with residents of an adjacent building, where there may be some issues with shared setback space.

Because the HPOZ board has official jurisdiction over the project, the Land Use Committee did not take a vote or make a recommendation to the GWNC board, but members did urge the developers to complete the HPOZ board’s requested outreach and to return to that body for further discussion.


242-244 N. Larchmont Blvd.



This application is for a new permit to allow the on-site sale and consumption of a full line of alcoholic beverages for a new restaurant – Great White – at the site of the old Cafe Parisienne and Prado restaurants on Larchmont Blvd.  As explained by restaurant representative Kelsey Champion, the new venture will be the second location of the popular Australian-themed, Venice-based eatery, and the goal is to provide the same menu and ambience as the original location, including several signature cocktails.

Discussion on this application focused largely on two issues – the potential expansion from the space’s current beer and wine permit to a full line of alcohol sales, and the applicants’ requested 12 a.m. closing time, both of which would represent notable first-time exceptions on the local business street.

Several committee members pointed out that liquor permits generally are assigned to the property, not the specific applicant, so if one restaurant goes out of business, and another comes in, the subsequent operator has the same privileges as the current applicant.  Such turnover, it was pointed out, has been increasingly common on Larchmont in recent years, so it is highly likely that the trend could continue for a while in this space.

Other committee members noted that there have never been any full liquor permits on this section of Larchmont Blvd., and while liquor is not specifically prohibited by the zoning or the street’s special “Q” conditions regarding restaurants, there has always been an agreement among the community and its past city council representatives that restaurants on the neighborhood-serving street would be limited to beer and wine.  Several people also suggested that if this restaurant is granted a full liquor permit, it would not remain the only one for long, as many other restaurants would also seek to upgrade their permits, citing this one as a precedent.

Finally, it was also noted that there is currently a community visioning process in progress for Larchmont Blvd. (the first session of which is scheduled for this coming Monday, June 28), and it was suggested that potentially precedent-setting decisions such as expansion of liquor permits and late night hours should be part of that discussion instead of rushed through ahead of the larger visioning process.

In the end, committee members made several suggestions to the applicants, including seeking feedback from the Larchmont Boulevard Association (which represents businesses owners on Larchmont), opening for a while with only the existing beer and wine permit, to see how it goes before seeking greater privileges, and perhaps offering soju-based cocktails (allowed under the current permit) instead of hard liquor.  The committee also suggested that the applicants return for further discussion in a month or two, since they don’t anticipate a city hearing date on the application until September.  This was followed by a motion to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the application as currently presented, which passed with eight votes in favor, two in opposition, and two abstentions.  The motion does leave the door open for discussion and further votes at future meetings.


506-508 N. Sycamore Ave.



This application for a new 5-unit Small Lot Subdivision project was originally presented to the Land Use Committee in January 2020,  and the GWNC board voted the following month to oppose it based on what was seen as a lackluster design, “value”-level materials, and its street-facing garages (which don’t match neighborhood patterns).  The project finally had a city hearing yesterday, and several neighbors attended last night’s LUC meeting to report that the developers misrepresented community sentiment at that hearing, saying they had done local outreach and received a “positive” reaction to the project.

The neighbors also reported that the city representative at the hearing said they would take the project under advisement for a couple of weeks, so the Land Use committee provided some tips to the neighbors for making the their sentiments more strongly known to the city during its deliberations…and then the committee voted by a margin of 10 in favor and two abstentions to recommend that the GWNC board also formally reiterate its opposition to the project.


Processes and Procedures Ordinance



The final discussion at last night’s meeting was on the city’s proposed new “Processes and Procedures” ordinance, which aims to standardize and streamline the city’s planning and land use processes.   This item, too, had a city hearing yesterday, and while no one present knew the outcome of the hearing, the committee discussed whether or not to endorse or also send a letter opposing the revisions, which has been sent to the city by several neighborhood groups from Echo Park to Mar Vista.

Several members of the committee spoke in support of recommending that the GWNC board also submit the letter to the city, saying they agree with the letter’s sentiments that the new ordinance goes too far in taking planning authority away from elected officials and the stakeholders they represent, that it shouldn’t be enacted before the city completes its current revisions to the Housing Element of its General Plan, that it does not explicitly include Neighborhood Councils in planning decisions, and that it hasn’t been well publicized to or discussed with the public.  The proponents also said that it would be nice to build bridges with other neighborhoods across the city fighting the new changes.

At the same time, however, several other committee members, including committee chair Philip Farha, said that while they agree with most of the substance of the letter, they found its tone inflammatory, and that an original letter, omitting the anger and “fluff” of the original, would likely get more attention and respect from city officials.

In the end, a motion recommending that the GWNC board draft and submit a new, original letter opposing the Processes and Procedures Ordinance passed by a margin of 11 in favor and one abstention, with Farha and several other committee members offering to write a draft for the board to consider.


Next Meetings


The next meeting of the GWNC Land Use Committee will be held on Tuesday, July 27, at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom.

The next meeting of the GWNC Board will be held on Wednesday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom

The GWNC Town Hall session on Transit Oriented Communities developments will be held tonight, Wednesday, June 23, at 6 p.m., via Zoom.

And the first community conversation about the future of Larchmont Blvd. will be held next Monday, June 28, at 7  p.m., also via Zoom.


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Elizabeth Fuller
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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