Last week, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council voted to support an application for a Conditional Use Beverage (CUB) permit for a restaurant and bar at 6033-6035 Melrose Avenue…over objections from a handful of residents who live nearby and are concerned that late night operations (until 2 a.m.) would be noisy and create parking problems in their already-congested residential neighborhood.
Don Hunt, President of the South Hollywood Neighborhood Association, urged the GWNC Board of Directors not to support their Land Use Committee’s recommendation to support the CUB, which requested a full line of alcohol sales for onsite consumption and operating hours until 2 a.m. for a new restaurant and bar. The site is currently an automotive repair shop at the corner of Melrose Avenue and Seward Street. Hunt said his association met with the Darren Weinstock, a Beverly Hills real estate investor and the owner of the property, on October 24, 2016. According to Hunt, Weinstock said at that meeting that he did not have a tenant in mind, but wanted the CUB to attract the “right kind” of tenant, since the site renovation would be costly. Hunt said his association agreed to support the restaurant as long as provisions were made for a three-car valet line on Seward Street, operations only until 11 p.m., no alcoholic drink specials and sound mitigation to reduce outside sound to no more than 65 decibels.
But then, according to Hunt, when the project was presented the next day at the GWNC Land Use meeting, a proposed tenant – Phil Howard – did speak in favor of the application (despite Weinstock’s earlier claims that there was no prospective tenant). Hunt said that he felt, after that meeting, that the project had been misrepresented to his association and urged the GWNC not to support the CUB application.
Several other nearby neighbors also spoke against the project, saying they had not been advised about it earlier, and did not support a new restaurant that would be open until 2 a.m., even though other nearby restaurants – including Providence, Xiomara, Trois Mec and Marino – all have similar operating hours.
Speaking for the applicant was restauranteur Phil Howard, who, along with his partner Dean McKillen, own and operate the highly successful restaurants Laurel Hardware and Ysabel in West Hollywood, which are known for their lively night club atmosphere and celebrity patrons. Howard said he wants to work with the neighborhood and was there to answer any questions about noise and parking concerns.
After much discussion, it was not clear if the applicants had spoken to the nearest neighbors after previously being asked to do so by the GWNC Land Use Committee. According to a resident of the nearby Hancock Park Terrace condos, located across the street, her association just found out about the project on the day of the GWNC meeting.
Hudson Avenue resident Zel McCarthy told the Buzz that he felt the owners had mislead the neighborhood by saying they would bring an upscale restaurant made for the community. But, he noted, the owners’ other venues have bouncers at the door and attract large street crowds.
“We don’t want our neighborhood to become the next Sunset Strip,” said McCarthy.
The Hancock Park Homeowners Association Est. 1948 later told the Buzz that the developer, East of June LLC, has not come to Hancock Park for discussions of the project.
After the discussion, the GWNC board voted to support the application, with a request that the developer consider closing at midnight. The vote was 9 in favor, 4 against, and 1 abstention.
In other business last Wednesday, the GWNC welcomed a new alternate to the board. Nathalie Rosen was sworn in as the Area 15 – Windsor Village alternate board member.
GWNC Transportation Committee chair Julie Stromberg also reported that the the Bureau of Street Services had scheduled a Small Asphalt Repairs (SAR) truck for the GWNC area to perform street and sidewalk patching on December 14, 2016. She invited neighbors to submit nominations for repair sites to the committee, which is preparing a list for the Bureau. Suggestions should be e-mailed, along with photos, to [email protected] by December 5, 2016.