Larchmont Village residents have filed an appeal requesting the Los Angeles City Council deny the approval of a mixed use project planned for the corner of Beachwood and Melrose Avenues. The project at 5570 Melrose Avenue and 647 North Beachwood Drive is planned as a 56-foot tall, 52-unit mixed use building with 5,500 sq. ft. of commercial space.
“No one ever reached out to the neighbors,” said Tracey Clarke, resident of adjacent Plymouth Blvd., who is organizing the effort of neighbors to appeal the project’s approval. “This is a very large building on a very small lot. How can this fit into this little corner? It will be hanging over the apartment building on one side and the single family house on the other.”
Clarke will be presenting a request the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council to rescind their earlier support of the project at their meeting on Wednesday of this week and at the GWNC Land Use Committee meeting on June 27.
Citing the increasing development in the neighborhood, including the impending expansion of Paramount Studios, Clark asserts the approval was given without the involvement of the neighbors who live closest, and that the project should be considered in the context of the Paramount project, which can’t be done without a traffic study. The neighbors have hired an attorney and started a gofundme.com campaign to raise funds and awareness of their effort.
“If there is just one car for every unit, that’s going to double the number of people who live on the block. It’s more likely to triple it, because there are likely to be two cars per unit,” explained Clarke, who added that the developer promised that tenants would not be parking on the street but has not put that promise in writing. The building will have one level of subterranean level with 69 parking spaces shared between the residents and the retail space. In addition, the developers also promised to limit the hours and noise from the proposed rooftop pool, but have not provided that in writing either.
Clarke feels the City is violating the density bonus terms for low income housing, which allow the developer to build up to 56 units, because they have not provided the required 11% of the units for low income housing. Currently, there are 5 instead of 7 units as required, according to the appeal. Also, according to Clarke, the developer promised in public meetings that 15% of the project would be designated low income.
“The density bonus is a joke,” said Clarke. “The City is giving an outsized gift to developers under the guise of solving the housing crisis, compared what the neighborhood gets…and, at the same time, they are allowing a developer to take 22 rent-stabilized units off the market by demolishing the Norton Bungalow Court.”
As a realtor, Clarke says she’s not opposed to development.
“I accept that these parcels are going to be developed, but I think we should mitigate it,” said Clarke. “I have never believed in unfettered development, but that’s what this City believes in.”
Instead of green-lighting luxury housing projects where rents will range from $2000-$3000 a month, Clarke thinks the City should encourage housing for working people who earn less than $100,000 year, or condominiums for first-time homebuyers, noting that nothing in the neighborhood currently can be purchased for less than $1 million.
Instead, according to the gofundme.com campaign from the Larchmont Village residents:
“We are concerned neighbors coming together to support and participate in filing an appeal that asks for:
-A building that conforms to the current neighborhood height limit of 45 feet.
-As the building immediately doubles the population size of Beachwood between Melrose and Clinton, we need an updated study of traffic patterns and a plan that addresses pedestrian safety.
-Enough parking spaces to account for all tenants and commercial needs.
-Limits to prohibit AirBnB and short term rentals.
-Heavy landscaping and a sound wall for pool and rooftop deck.
Finally, WE MUST SET A PRECEDENT along the Melrose corridor— Paramount buildings were capped at 45’. It’s important to have a model that CREATES A THRESHOLD and preserves the historic character of our neighborhood.”
This story has been updated to correct the meetings. Clarke will be speaking to the GWNC on June 14th and Land Use on June 27th.