Albert Mizrahi, owner of the popular Larchmont Bungalow at 107 N. Larchmont Blvd, personally appeared with his wife before the GWNC Land Use Committee on Tuesday this week, to give an apology and ask the committee to support the Bungalow’s application before the City Planning Commission to try bring the restaurant into legal compliance with city zoning laws and Larchmont Village’s Q Condition.
“Larchmont is a special place in the city of Los Angeles and I want to keep and enhance its character and share the results with the neighborhood,” Mizrahi told the committee. “I take responsibility for everything that has transpired, and I’m sorry for the way things have happened. I have hired a great team to assist me to work with you to continue to make Larchmont a special place. I look forward to working together with you.”
The Bungalow opened in 2009 claiming it was take-out/retail only since Larchmont’s Q Condition limits the number of sit-down restaurants on the boulevard. It then set up tables and chairs and started serving a menu of all-day breakfast items, coffees and desserts. The community, the City of LA, and Mizrahi have been in contention over the Bungalow for a full five years now, including both a criminal lawsuit from the City and Mizrahi’s own civil suit against the City saying they had illegally revoked his permit.
Mizrahi was hoping to get the support of the LUC for his recent permit application to City Planning for three items critical to the Bungalow wanting to become a legal restaurant in Larchmont Village: a zone change to allow change of use from a take-out /retail to a restaurant; a conditional use permit to allow on-site sale of alcoholic beverages; and a zone variance to offer seven parking spaces instead of the required 25 on-site spaces.
The Bungalow application included a three-page justification for a zone change, stating, among other things, that the the building was originally constructed in 1920 as a restaurant and should be returned to that use, and that approximately 500 people per day dine at the Bungalow, showing the community supports the restaurant.
The committee listened and politely asked questions of Mizrahi’s representatives but ultimately did not support any of the three requests (though one lone-wolf member out of the 13 in attendance, did support the application.) Some members felt that “zoning by exception” could set a terrible precedent for the future, that the City has already expended large amounts of financial resources in the courtroom to about-face on this case, and that a full bar has never been allowed at any of the dining establishments on Larchmont Blvd.
The Larchmont Buzz learned on Thursday that the Bungalow application is being “revised” and will not be heard in City Planning on August 14th as originally planned. No specifics yet on what the revisions will be, or if this is another extension tactic to keep operating without the proper permits.