Neighbors will soon meet with the developer of a small lot subdivision proposed at 250 N. Wilton Place, located at the corner of Beverly Blvd. and Wilton Place in the Ridgewood Wilton Neighborhood, adjacent to Windsor Square. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 22 from 6:30-7:50 pm at the Wilshire Branch Library, 149 North Saint Andrews Place in the St. Andrews Square neighborhood.
The project, known as the Wilton Project, is replacing a single family residence that was torn down. The project will create a new small lot subdivision, containing five single family residences, each with an attached garage.
The Wilton Project has been presented to the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee on several occasions, most recently at the July meeting, where several neighbors expressed opposition to the project as proposed and concerns about the legality of the demolition of a historic home on the site, which is part of the historic Ridgewood Wilton neighborhood, known as the Wilton Historic District.
Long time resident Ginny Kazor, widely credited with the saving the neighborhood when it was threatened by the construction of a freeway proposed by the City in 1972, told the GWNC Land Use Committee the story of how the neighborhood became listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The Wilton Project is located in the North Wilton Historic District, located just north of the Wilton Historic District. Kazor explained that the properties north of First Street, while smaller, have still been determined by experts to be historic and, in fact, the overall neighborhood is one of the most intact historic areas in the city, she said. Since the designation, Kazor explained that her neighbors have worked very hard over the years to upgrade the street, including the recent installation of a landscaped traffic island at Wilton and Second Street. She stressed the importance of considering the context of any new building being proposed and urged the committee to look at the size as well. Larger buildings can dramatically alter the neighborhood, she said, and urged the committee to help the residents “save the bits and pieces of our heritage.”
Following Kazor, several other neighbors, Mary Rajswing, Marita Geraghty and Evan Kaplan, told the Land Use Committee they had significant concerns about the design of the project, which they feel is inconsistent with the neighborhood’s historic homes. At four stories tall, the height, they said, is out of scale for the street, where most homes are one or two stories. The speakers were also concerned about the location of driveways for four homes on Beverly Blvd. (The fifth residence has a driveway on Wilton Place.) Recently, residents have also reported numerous problems with the traffic signal on Wilton.
The developer’s representative, Steve Kaplan, told the committee the project meets every municipal code and the residents concerns were matter of taste. He added that if residents want to dictate the design, they should consider adopting design review guidelines. Committee chair Caroline Moser explained that the committee and the neighborhood were offering suggestions in an effort to support the project. If the developer didn’t want their support, she said, they had the option not to return to the committee, since the whole process is voluntary and non-binding.
But not everyone opposes the project. Evan Phoenix, who lives next door to the site, told the Buzz he supports the project, saying it will be better than an empty lot.
Residents who are interested in learning more about the project are invited to attend the meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 22, from 6:30-7:50 pm at the Wilshire Branch Library at 149 North Saint Andrews Place.