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GWNC Land Use Committee Declines to Support Larchmont Village Neighbors’ Appeal of Project

At last night’s meeting, Larchmont Village resident Tracey Clarke asked the GWNC Land Use Committee to support neighbors’ appeal of a 52-unit mixed use project at Melrose and Beachwood Avenues.

Despite a request from neighbors, the Land Use Committee of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council declined to support the appeal of a 52-unit mixed use project planned for the corner of Melrose and Beachwood Avenues.

Instead, the committee approved a motion 8-0-1 to have the GWNC board send a letter to the developer requesting that they provided a copy of a list of accommodations the developer’s representative said they have agreed to make in response to requests made by the neighbors and the CD 4 City Council office. In addition, the developer is requested to include the drawings submitted with the master application and the final drawings that were approved by LA City Planning Commission when the project was approved. A motion that would have withdrawn the GWNC’s previous support of the project failed to get a second, and another motion urging the City to enforce appropriate municipal codes relating to density bonuses and parking requirements also failed, by a vote of 3-3-1.

“The appeal will go forward regardless,” said Tracey Clarke, one of the residents who spoke on behalf of the neighbors who filed the appeal.

According to Clarke, who contends residents on Beachwood should have been more involved in the discussions from the outset, the building is too tall, there isn’t enough parking and the developer had misled the neighborhood about the number of affordable units in the building.

I’d like someone to explain to me how they are going to only allow one car per unit; they can’t prohibit couples from living there so where do they see their tenants parking that extra car?” asked Clarke.

In addition, she contends the City worked out a deal with Paramount Studios to keep the height of its buildings at 45 feet, and that should limit should apply to this project as well. The proposed height of the new proposed building is 56 feet. Also at issue is the number of affordable housing units. The developer has promised that 11%, or 5 units, will be designated affordable housing in exchange for a density bonus. Clarke said the developer initially promised 15% of the building, or 6 units, would be affordable.

Dana Sayles, representing the developer, said they had worked closely with the Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association, had appeared before the GWNC Land Use Committee and the full GWNC board several times, and made many modifications to the project at the request of the neighborhood. She added that the project is in compliance with all the codes for parking and affordable units, and that she hopes the developers can continue to work with the neighbors to create a very successful building.

“We have been transparent,” said Sayles. “We have tried to be as good as we can be in this process. There maybe have been some misunderstandings, but we did everything we discussed and we are hoping for more of a dialogue.”

In other issues, the voted to recommend support for an approved project at 310 S. Van Ness, the renovation of a rectory building at St. Brendan’s Church. Part of the project is covered by the Windsor Square HPOZ.

There was considerable discussion earlier in the meeting about the LUC reviewing projects that are reviewed by other entities such as local HPOZ boards or the Park Mile Design Review Board. John Welborne, publisher of the Larchmont Chronicle, and speaking as the Vice President of Planning and Land Use for the Windsor Square Homeowners Association, strongly encouraged the committee not to review projects that are already being reviewed by other bodies. Last night’s agenda included three such items, placed on the agenda at the request of LUC chairman James Wolfe, who was not in attendance last night.

The LUC voted to recommend that the GWNC board oppose projects at 4806 W. Elmwood and 4749 West Elmwood because the applicants did not appear before the committee. They also voted to oppose a zone variance (ZA-2017-534-ZV) at 324-326 S. St. Andrews Place, as currently presented, until more information and proof that the building is registered as a rent stabilized occupancy is provided by the applicant.

The committee declined to vote to support a letter drafted by the Preserve LA coalition, urging the City to make all meetings on the General Community Plan open to the public. They also declined to support a proposed linkage fee that would generate revenue for affordable housing into a City trust fund. The fee is designed for larger developments, both residential and commercial and would be in addition to Quimby fees for parks. After some discussion, the committee voted 6-1-1 to oppose the fee, noting that although it may be be laudable, it adds to the overall cost of housing.


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Patricia Lombard
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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