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

GWNC Land Use Committee Looks at Four Local Applications

Members of the GWNC Land Use Committee at their November meeting last night.


In what was likely its final meeting of 2022, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee reviewed four local land use applications at its monthly gathering last night – including two new housing developments, one liquor permit, and a small residential setback adjustment.


4670 Beverly Blvd.



This project would replace an existing automotive repair business at the SE corner of Beverly and St. Andrews Pl. with a five-story, 30-unit apartment building with three units reserved for Extremely Low Income tenants, built under the city’s Transit Oriented Communities guidelines.  The project would also include 23 parking spaces and a landscaped roof deck.

The developers last presented the plans to the Land Use committee in August, 2020, and at that time the committee voted to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the project because of its very generic design, inattention to street-level landscaping, and the developers’ lack of outreach to nearby neighbors.  Because it’s a TOC project, however, the vote was mostly a formality, and the city granted the administrative approval all TOC projects are eligible for if they meet the program’s basic requirements.

At last night’s meeting, representative Athena Novak reported that the project’s architectural plans are now being finalized with the city, demolition of the existing automotive repair facility has been approved and will likely start after the Thanksgiving holiday, and construction of the new building will likely start in February or March.  But LUC chair Brian Curran explained that despite the city’s official go-ahead for the project, and the fact that construction is imminent, it was re-agendized at this month’s meeting because several neighbors attended last month’s meeting to say they have only recently learned about it and wanted a chance to discuss the plans with the developers.  (Three of those neighbors spoke up last night, too, to express their concerns about the building’s size, architectural compatibility with the neighborhood, and possible disruptions to neighbors during construction.)

Both Novak and several committee members explained to the neighbors that Transit Oriented Communities projects (when they meet basic city requirements, as this one did) don’t really offer opportunities for significant neighborhood input…but she did agree to set up a meeting between the neighbors and the property owners, saying the owners might still be open to suggestions for landscaping and other cosmetic details.  “The box is the box,” she said, referring to the now-approved specs for the building itself, but “I do believe we have some wiggle room” on less structural elements.

One detail in particular that both committee members and the neighbors called out for potential improvement was the design of the building’s south side, where balconies were removed from the original plans in response to previous concerns about the privacy of neighbors to the south.  But current renderings now show a very bare facade addressing those neighbors, which didn’t appeal to last night’s attendees either.  Other concerns the neighbors said they look forward to discussing include the aforementioned landscaping, and limiting noise and hours for the building’s rooftop deck, which Novak said should also be possible.


Current rendering of the building’s very plain south-facing facade, which would face the closest neighbors.


5750 Melrose Ave


This application is for a new Conditional Use Permit to allow sales of a full line of alcoholic beverages at the restaurant at this address, the former home of FIN Asian Tapas and, before that, The Larchmont.  Representative Matthew Nichols said the space has been vacant since FIN closed during the pandemic, but because restaurateur Houman Arasteh, who operates Eat This Cafe and Bungalow 40 Coffee and Tea Bar in Hollywood, will soon move Eat This into the space, the change of operator requires re-approval of the CUP.  Nichols said no physical changes to the space are planned, and the only other change the applicants are asking for is to allow alcohol sales from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily (the old permit had an evening limit of midnight, while several nearby restaurants stop alcohol service at 10 or 11 p.m.).

But committee members reacted quite negatively to the request for later hours, citing the location’s proximity to neighboring homes, and its lack of on-site parking, which would likely result in late night traffic and noise spilling over into the residential area.  In the end, the committee voted with a tally of eight in favor and one abstention to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the application.


200 S. Gramercy Pl.


This application is for a small (72 sq. ft.) kitchen/breakfast nook addition to the existing single family home at this address, and it requests permission for a reduced side yard setback on the south side of the house to make room for the addition.

Committee members asked project representative Mauricio Pensamiento whether the neighbors on that side of the property have agreed to the reduction, and he said they have agreed verbally, though not yet in writing.  After only a brief discussion, the committee members voted unanimously to recommend that the GWNC support the application on the condition that the owners/representatives provide written support from the property’s south side neighbor before the December 14 GWNC board meeting.


833-835 N. Las Palmas Ave.



This application is for permission to demolish an existing single family residence at this address, and to replace it with with four new small lot subdivision homes.  Unfortunately, project representative Larry Mondragon had several technical difficulties during his presentation, and dropped out of the meeting before he could complete the discussion.  After two members of the South Hollywood Neighborhood Association spoke in opposition to the project, however, the committee voted by a margin of eight votes in favor and one abstention to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the project until the developers do more outreach and meet with the SoHo group.


Other Business


215 S. Wilton Pl – an historic home that was gutted by its most recent buyers despite several layers of historic property protections.


Although it wasn’t an agendized item at this meeting, Marita Geraghty, the former owner of the historic home at 215 S. Wilton Pl., which was gutted by its most recent purchasers despite several layers of historic protections, spoke up during public comments last night to note that a letter the GWNC had voted last spring to send to the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission to support the full restoration of the property, was apparently never sent.  Geraghty, along with Wilton Pl. neighbor Mary Rajswing, asked the committee to re-draft and send the letter, and to this time also include a request for some sort of guarantee – such as requiring the owners to put up a completion bond – that the restoration will be completed as the city has requested, with appropriate prosecution from the City Attorney if it is not.  Committee members (who had voted unanimously in favor of sending the letter earlier this year) readily agreed to do this, though no vote was taken since writing the letter was previously approved by both the committee and the full GWNC board.

Finally, because the next regularly scheduled Land Use Committee meeting would fall on Tuesday, December 27, just two days after the Christmas holiday, committee members agreed last night to cancel that meeting and to meet next on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at 6:30 p.m.  The next meeting of the GWNC board will be held on Wednesday, December 14, 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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