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

Planning Commission Denies Appeal of Project Slated for 500 N. Larchmont

21-unit residential building planned for 500 N. Larchmont Blvd. (NE corner of Larchmont and Rosewood).


Yesterday, on Thursday, March 24, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission denied an appeal of a five-story, 21-unit Transit Oriented Communities apartment project proposed for 500 N. Larchmont Blvd., which was initially approved last August.   The project would replace a small office building and the bungalow that long held the SnookNuk children’s activity venue.  It would contain seven one-bedroom units and 14 two-bedroom units, with two units reserved for Extremely Low Income tenants, and the rest leased at market rate.

The appeal, filed last fall by a neighbor, challenged the city’s ruling that the project should be exempt from review under the state’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) rules, and the project’s eligibility for several developer incentives under the city’s Transit Oriented Communities guidelines.   In yesterday’s ruling, however, those contentions were denied by a unanimous vote of the Commission, clearing the way for the project to move forward.

Design originally proposed for 500 N. Larchmont Blvd.

At yesterday’s hearing, the appellant (who asked not to be named in this story), testified that he and other neighbors are not objecting to a new development at the site, but are mostly hoping the developer would agree to negotiate some design changes that would be more respectful of and create fewer negative effects on neighboring single family homes.   The developers’ representatives, however, showed several ways in which they did change the project significantly in response to several rounds of discussions with neighbors last year, and claimed that technical considerations prevented them from fulfilling some of the neighbors’ other requests.

After the city and developer presentations at the hearing, several neighbors testified in support of the appeal, with one common thread being a request to move the building’s ground-level parking to a subterranean level, which could either reduce the building’s height by a full story or allow the use of the ground level for street-facing stores and restaurants more in keeping with the retail character of Larchmont Blvd.  Several neighbors said using the ground floor for parking instead of retail frontage was a “missed opportunity” and would “kill the walkability of Larchmont.”

After the public comments, Commission President Samantha Millman said she, too, would prefer to see the parking moved underground, but that request is not within the purview of the commission, which can only rule on whether or not the developers have met the city’s requirements for a project within the Transit Oriented Communities area…which they did.

Commissioner Jenna Hornstock agreed with Millman’s comments, and added that she also was sympathetic to the neighbors’ requests, but the degree to which the project was redesigned in response to neighborhood comments was considerable, even if the developers didn’t include all all items on their wish list.  “I understand change is hard,” she said.  “It’s hard to see your neighborhood change, and hard to see views obstructed.”

After the hearing, the neighbor who filed the appeal wrote to community members,  “As the appellant taking the reigns after the most affected neighbors sold their home behind 500 N. Larchmont, I had low expectations that we would get any material result, but did want the developer to know we will be watching.”  At the same time, however, he said,  “I feel good that some of us tried.  I feel badly that the viewshed to the mountains will now include a reflective blight of the new 500 N. Larchmont.  And this becomes the precedent of the verticalization of Larchmont Village.”


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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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