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GWNC Land Use Committee Votes on Two Liquor Permits; Debates Remedies for Mills Act Violations at 215 S. Wilton Pl.

Members of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee at last night’s meeting.


At last night’s meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee, the group recommended that the GWNC board support one liquor permit application and oppose another, and debated potential recommendations to remedy the illegal stripping of an historic home in the Ridgewood-Wilton National Register Historic District.


6535 W. Melrose Ave., Suite 102



This application is for a permit to sell a full line of alcoholic beverages at a new sushi restaurant in the new mixed-used development at the NE corner of Melrose and Highland.  The applicants previously presented the application to the Land Use Committee back in February, when committee members expressed concerns about the requested 2 a.m. closing time, and suggested more outreach to local neighborhood associations.  At this month’s meeting, project representative Terri Dickerhoff reported that the applicants have revised the requested hours for the restaurant, to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday and Saturday (for the indoor dining area), and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for the outdoor patio area.  Dickerhoff also reported that the applicants reached out to both the South Hollywood Neighborhood Association and the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, which represent the areas closest to the restaurant, and met with the SoHo group, but did not receive a response from the HPHOA.  After a short discussion, the committee voted unanimously, based on the revised hours and updated outreach, to recommend that the GWNC board support the application.


4001 W. 6th St.



Project representative Ariel Gutierrez explained that this application is for an upgrade from a current beer and wine permit to a new permit to sell a full line of alcoholic beverages at the Daedo Sikdang restaurant at 4001 W. 6th Street.  Gutierrez said the establishment had in the past been run by a “bad operator” as a karaoke bar, and was eventually forced to downgrade its full-line liquor permit to the current beer and wine license.  But the business is now operating with new owners as an upscale steakhouse, Gutierrez said, and the new owners would like to restore its full line liquor permit, as well as expand into an adjacent storefront space, where they would create several rooms for larger private parties.  Also, Gutierrez said, the owners are seeking permission for those new large group spaces to have microphones and karaoke for group events (though there would still be no small private karaoke rooms, and there would still be no music of any sort in the main dining area).

Committee members noted that there are loft apartments in the adjacent building above the spaces where the restaurant’s new party rooms would be, as well as several residential apartment buildings close by, so noise from the new spaces might be a concern. But Gutierrez reported that a city hearing on the application is scheduled for June 8, so there is little time for community outreach.  Committee members asked Gutierrez if the owners would be willing to request that the city delay the hearing, but he explained that they have only 120 days to implement the new liquor license they purchased from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, so they do need the city’s determination as soon as possible.  In the end, the committee voted unanimously, as is its policy in such situations, to recommend that the GWNC board oppose the application until further neighborhood outreach can be done.


215 S. Wilton Pl.



As the Buzz has reported on several occasions (here, here and here), the historic Thomas A. Churchill, Sr. residence, at 215 S. Wilton Pl., which is a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument and part of of the Ridgewood Wilton National Register Historic District, was sold last year and then stripped of most of its historic features, both inside and out.  After being alerted to the destruction by neighbors, the city halted work at the property, but not before most of its original 1907 interior features, including a distinctive fireplace, original floors and wood trim, and more were removed and sent to a landfill.   Since then, at the city’s request, the owners have hired a preservation architect and contractor, and potential remedies for the situation were discussed at a recent meeting of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission.

GWNC Land Use Committee Chair Brian Curran attended the CHC meeting, and reported at last night’s LUC meeting that the CHC still has some questions about materials to be used in the historically-sensitive rebuilding of the house (which will likely lose its official historic designations because most of the original features were removed), and asked that the neighborhood council weigh in with ideas.

In a lengthy discussion last night, committee members agreed that the GWNC board should weigh in with “strong words” about what committee member Rory Cunningham called the “appalling” destruction of the property, as well as suggestions for appropriate remedies and penalties for the offending owners.  Among preliminary suggestions from committee members were a request that plans for the reconstruction be reviewed/approved by the community, using the “scorched earth” doctrine to prevent new building permits being issued for the property for a number of years, and perhaps recording a covenant against the property title, listing the city’s mandated reconstruction obligations so they would be very obvious to any future buyers. Also, Curran and others clarified that the owners are currently facing a $250,000 fine and the loss of their Mills Act contract (which provides tax breaks in exchange for maintaining and restoring historic homes), as well as the likely more than $1 million cost of rebuilding the home with historically-compatible features.

No votes were taken on specific recommendations, but after the robust discussion,  the committee did vote unanimously to recommend that the GWNC board empower a group of Land Use Committee members (including chair Curran) to write a letter to the Cultural Heritage Commission stating the committee’s overall position on the destruction of 215 S. Wilton Pl., and listing a number of recommendations for its reconstruction and future protection.


Other Business


In other business last night, the Committee heard brief updates and information on three further items.

First, stakeholder Mark Alpers provided an update on a new entertainment industry office building planned for 6101-6117 W. Melrose Ave. and 713-735 N. Seward St., for which the GWNC previously voted to oppose an application for a zone change and transitional height adjustment.  Alpers said community members met with the developers on Tuesday, but it was a largely introductory meeting, and more substantive meetings will be scheduled soon.  Alpers said neighbors are still asking for a three-story building while the developers are requesting five stories, and neighbors are also upset that the developers “misrepresented” community sentiment in a recent meeting with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s development committee (saying neighbors are more supportive than they are, and that more outreach has been done than has been), and have also been dragging their feet on neighborhood outreach requested by the GWNC and others.  Alpers also reported that a city hearing on the project, originally scheduled for June, has now been moved to July 29.

Next, Alpers also reported that an Environmental Analysis has been released for a new 8-story, 242-unit mixed use building planned for 5001 Wilshire Blvd. (the NW corner of Wilshire and Highland).  Alpers said both the Hancock Park Homeowners Association and the La Brea Hancock Homeowners Association met with the developers recently, and the developers are eager to bring the project to the GWNC after both of those other associations have taken official positions.  Alpers said the developers so far have been responsive to some suggestions for small changes in project details, but not on other larger issues such as balconies on the north side of the property facing other residential neighbors, a large roof deck, and noise abatement during the proposed 32-month construction schedule.

Finally, Land Use Committee secretary Tommy Atlee reported on a motion by City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to expand City Building Code Fire District 1, which many neighborhood councils have been weighing in on (and largely opposing).  Atlee reported that there are currently several Fire Districts in the city, and this motion would create a new Fire District 1 overlaying the others, which would prevent certain kinds of wood-frame building construction in the future.  The goal of the new ordinance, say its supporters (including the concrete industry) would be to build safer, more fire-proof buildings…while its opponents say it’s not necessary in parts of the city (like ours) that are not part of high-fire-hazard areas, because it would make new construction – including construction of much-needed affordable housing – much more expensive in these areas. Committee chair Brian Curran suggested that, in addition to this information, it would be good to find out where our local City Council offices stand on the matter before taking a position, so no votes were taken at this meeting.

The next meeting of the GWNC Land Use Committee will be held on Tuesday, June 28, at 6:30 p.m.

The next regular meeting of the GWNC Board will be held on Wednesday, June 8, also at 6:30 p.m.

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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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