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GWNC Increases Funding and Extends Deadline for Grant Program; Supports Liquor Permit and Transportation Motions

Members of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council listen to an update from LAPD Wilshire Division Captain Sonia Monico at last night’s GWNC board meeting.


At its monthly meeting last night, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council spent the bulk of its time listening to updates from city officials, its own committee chairs and liaisons, and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (the agency that oversees the city’s 99 Neighborhood Councils).  But it also found room to take votes on its Neighborhood Purpose Grant program, two land use issues, and two key transportation issues.


Neighborhood Purpose Grants


The application period for the GWNC’s annual Neighborhood Purpose Grants program – which funds community improvement projects from local schools and 501(c)(3) non-profits – is already open…but last night the GWNC board voted to increase its overall funding for the grants from $2,000 to $3,000, and to extend the application deadline from December 15 to December 31.  Information and application materials for the program are available on the GWNC website at (note that the site has not yet been updated, as of this writing, to reflect the new deadline).


Land Use Issues


In the land use category, the board voted on the recommendation of its Land Use Committee, and by a margin of 20 in favor and one abstention, to support the application for a permit to sell a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption at a new restaurant coming to 148 S. La Brea.  The space, attached to the American Rag store, is the former home of Café Midi and Maison Midi. The new restaurant, Cuisine of the Sun, is being developed by famed restaurateur Bill Chait (Tartin, Bestia, République, and others). Chef John Sedlar and American Rag owner Mark Wertz (who also owns the building) are also involved.  The restaurant is scheduled to open in the summer or fall of 2022.

Next, the board voted to oppose an application for the construction of a new 7-story, 60 unit apartment building at 728-736 1/2 S. Manhattan Pl., which is being built under the city’s Transit Oriented Communities guidelines.  The opposition vote was recommended by the GWNC Land Use Committee, as is its policy in such cases, because the developers declined an invitation to present the project to the committee.

And finally in land use-related items, the board voted to file a Community Impact Statement in support of a city council motion – CF 21-1414 – filed recently by Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Bob Blumenfield, and Nithya Raman.  If passed by the Council, the proposal would establish temporary local rules to help shape projects developed under the state’s new SB 9 law, which permits the development of up to four new units on lots currently zoned for single family homes.  SB 9 takes effect statewide on January 1, and proponents of Koretz’s motion were hoping the Council would vote on it before recessing for the holidays.  That did not happen, but as GWNC president Conrad Starr explained at last night’s meeting, it’s still possible that the Council could take up the matter as soon as it returns in January, so it’s still worth weighing in on.

[Editor’s note:  some local neighborhood groups have also started a letter-writing campaign to urge City Council President Nury Martinez to schedule a special meeting of the Council before December 31 specifically to deal with this issue.  Here’s a letter the Miracle Mile Residential Association sent out to its members this morning: ]


Transportation Issues


Two big transportation issues also won support from the GWNC board last night.  First was a proposal to install speed tables along the stretch of Sixth Street between La Brea and Highland, which has seen a number of major accidents in the last few years (several landing in the front yard of one particularly vulnerable home at the SE corner of 6th and Mansfield).

The second proposal supported was a Metro proposal to create new Bus Priority Lanes on La Brea Ave., from Coliseum Blvd. to Sunset Blvd.  The lanes would be reserved for buses and bicycles between the hours of 7 and 10 a.m., and 3 and 7 p.m., one hour longer in each case than the current anti-gridlock/no parking lanes currently in force along that stretch of La Brea.  Also, while cars are currently allowed to use the lanes during rush hours, they would not be allowed in the new bus priority lanes under the current proposal.

Prior to last night’s meeting, the GWNC received several letters opposing the priority lanes, and one of the letter writers, Ross DeFranco, also spoke at the meeting, calling the plan a “terrible” idea.  But Starr pointed out that none of the letter writers were GWNC area residents, and board member Cindy Chvatal, who represents the Hancock Park neighborhood on the GWNC, said the Hancock Park Homeowners Association surveyed its residents about the proposal, and the clear majority of them favored it.  La Brea Hancock representative Cathy Roberts, whose neighborhood borders La Brea between Wilshire and 3rd St., also reported that all neighbors adjacent to the project area received mailings about it, and most of her neighbors have also expressed support.

In the end, the board voted by a margin of 18 votes in favor and 3 abstentions to support the proposal.


Other Business


In other business last night, the board voted to approve April Hannon as the new alternate  to the Renters seat on the board…heard an update on planning for the upcoming January 27 homeless count (only four people have signed up to volunteer so far, and 50 are needed)…and to permanently change the day and time of Outreach Committee meetings to the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. (the committee has traditionally met on the first Saturday of the month at 9 a.m.)

The next meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will be held on Wednesday, January 12, at 6:30 p.m., 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 has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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  1. It’s too bad that the GWNC didn’t poll the businesses on La Brea that will be most affected by this. My friends and I walked La Brea from Melrose to Olympic and collected over 40 signatures from the businesses, employees and church and synagogue attendees and were all AGAINST this proposal. At last months MCWNC General Board meeting, almost a dozen business that we contacted spoke out against this too. But the GWNC agenda item didn’t give us enough time to go back to La Brea and warn the businesses. Friends of board members that “all speak in favor” of this is not what I consider real outreach. Do any of them understand how many businesses on La Brea are struggling to survive? GWNC just voted to take another hour of customer parking in the morning and afternoon away from them. Prime business time for these struggling businesses! What’s next? Mass business failures followed by the high rise condo crowd that wants to build with the density bonus for being close to “transit oriented” streets? Who’s fooling who here???


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