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GWNC Land Use Committee Reviews La Brea Bakery, Flywheel and Larchmont Bungalow


The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council‘s (GWNC) Land Use committee reviewed applications from a number of local business seeking exceptions to the current zoning at its meeting on May 28th. Of note,  the committee voted to recommend approval of La Brea Bakery‘s application for a full liquor license at its new location 460 S. La Brea.

Also on the agenda was Flywheel Sports at 147 North Larchmont, the old Blockbuster space. Flywheel, an indoor cycling studio, announced last November it would be opening as a retail store and testing room (for stadium cycling bikes) on Larchmont.  This use was planned because Larchmont zoning prohibits gym uses on the street level in that block.

Flywheel opened on April 13, but shortly thereafter was cited by the LA City Department of Building and Safety for acting as a fitness studio, and filed a variance to legalize that use. The application asks that Flywheel be granted an exception to operate as a fitness studio, offering a regular schedule of supervised classes. (Unlike a true gym, however, there would be no individual access for unsupervised exercise.)

Property owners Bruce Meyer and his brother-in-law Jack Blumenthal testified on behalf of Flywheel urging the committee to recommend approval of the application to the GWNC board.  Flywheel representatives told the committee they were currently offering six classes a day, despite not having yet received the variance.

Because no hearing date has been set yet, Committee members recommended the applicants return to a future meeting after taking the following actions:  1. conduct more outreach and discussion with the Windsor Square community, 2. conduct a parking study and investigate possible mitigation measures to address any issues that may be identified, and 3. Request letters from the City Council District office and the Department of Building and Safety explaining why the original permit was issued, and/or how it came to be issued in error.

Representatives for Larchmont Bungalow owner Albert Mizrahi presented his application for a variance to the Larchmont “Q” Conditions to permit the operation of a sit down restaurant (its current permit is for take-out only) accommodating 92 patrons (44 indoor and 48 outdoor) with reduced parking of only 7 tandem spaces instead of the required 25 for a 3,474 square foot restaurant. In addition,  Mr. Mizrahi has requested a full liquor license, in contrast to most operators on the street who serve only beer and wine.

The committee asked the Bungalow representatives to provide a parking study citing concerns similar to those with Flywheel, that inadequate parking for the business could over-burden the street, to the detriment of other businesses.

No City hearing date for the application is scheduled yet, so the committee urged the representatives to return for a vote after the requested research is complete.

Bungalow owner Albert Mizrahi pleaded guilty to fire code violations and is currently on probation with the city. The next court date for the long-delayed criminal case is July 3, 2013.



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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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  1. Yea kinda crazy about some of the zoning issues on the ‘mont. Who woulda thunk it would be a prob to have an exercise biz (Flywheel) in the old Blockbuster store front.

    As for the Bungalow guy he sure is, um, imaginative with the citys permit dept. & process. Gotta agree with him on one point, hows about the other eateries that have tables setup outside?

  2. I don’t think Flywheel should be granted a variance until they are actually in compliance with the law and the merits of their application can be weighed. This is just good and fair policy.
    They were well aware of the zoning issues and concerns about parking much earlier in the process. This is not to say that a spinning studio would not be a good thing…but we have zoning codes and they should be respected.

  3. Maybe time is right for someone to open up a weed dispensary, or a place where you can buy a live chicken and have it slaughtered, or a Jiffy Lube, or some other desirable business on Larchmont between Beverly and First.
    Apparently now the thing to do is to just go ahead and do whatever, and then dare the community to try to defend itself. There’s no real bite to the zoning code. If the code is flawed then a democratic process should be instigated to fix it, but in the meantime I do not get why these law-breakers get to keep their doors open.
    And Mizrahi applying for a liquor license seems to offer a new definition of chutzpah.


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