The West Hollywood City Council last night rejected an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of a condominium project on North Kings Road but asked for several modifications before the project moves forward.
The Council’s decision was a defeat for a group of anti-development activists that organized earlier this year to oppose another project at 826 N. Kings Rd. Members of a group recently formed to support more affordable housing, Residents for Affordable Integrated Development (R.A.I.D.), celebrated what they see as a victory by their group. Many R.A.I.D. supporters such as Larry Block, Manny Rodriguez and Sam Borellis spoke in favor of the 1028-1030 N. Kings Rd. project at last night’s Council meeting.
Opponents of the project at 1028-1030 N. Kings Rd. cited everything from concerns about parking and traffic, the project’s impact on the drought and the cumulative impact of it and three other developments on Kings Road.
But the core issue on which they and the project’s supporters differed was whether housing for low- and moderate-income people should be integrated into projects for the more affluent, or whether such affordable housing should be built separately.
United Neighbors for Responsible Development (UNReD), the group formed to oppose the project at 826 N. Kings Rd., has argued that developers should be encouraged to make payments into a trust fund that can be used to develop affordable housing rather than pushed to add affordable units that would increase the size of a project. That argument led several speakers at last night’s meeting to accuse the project’s opponents to trying to segregate the poor and middle-class from the affluent.
UNReD and other project opponents stressed that they support the development of more affordable housing in West Hollywood, a major issue in a city that has seen rents and housing costs climb rapidly in recent years and where 80 percent of the residents are renters.
However, a petition signed by 272 people opposing the project that was presented to the City Council also made the argument that West Hollywood already has met state and city requirements for affordable housing.
“The State and the City’s own numbers will show that there is no longer a ‘great unmet need’ to build affordable housing in West Hollywood,” the petition said. “We are proud that our progressive City has met and massively exceeded its allocated need. The City of West Hollywood has built so many affordable housing units that it has completely satisfied and massively exceeded all requirements and all reasonable expectations for the creation of new affordable housing. Such an accomplishment now allows the City to amend its zoning requirements to allow developers to pay an impact fee in lieu of putting the affordable units on site.”
One argument made by some project opponents is that the city should require the developer to reduce the project to 22 units, all of which would be sold at below market prices to low- and moderate-income people. That approach would not be financially feasible for the developer.
The project, which is being developed by a company headed by Victor Hadad, is located right behind the Gelson’s grocery store on Santa Monica Boulevard. The four-story condominium building would have 30 units, including two for low-income people and three for moderate-income people, and 58 parking spaces in an underground garage. It would replace two single-family homes on adjacent lots.
Councilmember John D’Amico noted that the project met city zoning requirements. However he asked that the city study the capacity of sewer lines in the area, which several residents said had broken and might not be able to handle additional housing. D’Amico also asked city staffers to work with the developer to make the building more environmentally sensitive.
Councilmember Lauren Meister said she believed the project, on its own, was something she could support. However Meister said she agreed with area residents that the cumulative impact of it and three other projects on Kings Road needed to be studied. “I feel that we need to mitigate the issues that are going to be caused cumulatively but not necessarily those that are going to be caused by this particular project,” Meister said, citing parking, traffic and possible sewer issues.
Councilmembers John Duran and John Heilman disagreed with those who argued that the four-story building is out of character with the neighborhood. It is a corridor of condominium owners, and one of the places where condominiums are highly congregated,” Duran said. “At the end of the day it’s a four-story building with 30 units. It’s not any thing larger than we see now.”
“If this development is oversized and too
large and a big box, then a lot of the existing buildings on Kings Road need to be torn down,” Heilman said, noting that the street is full of such buildings.
The 1028-1030 N. Kings Rd. project was the first defeat for UNReD, whose campaign against the 826 N. Kings Rd. project led the developer to remove proposed apartment units for low- and moderate-income people and reduce the height of the building from five to four stories. With those changes the project was approved by the Planning Commission.
“BLESSES” huh? Jewish or Christian?? Perhaps “approved” might be more journalistically proper.
@Disco: Thank you for wearing Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. My friends and I thought it interesting that you would oppose a project with affordable housing when you might be the recipient of a new unit if the project were built (giggle). One of our gals is pretty familiar with “takings.” She tells us, the City never proposed to take the site, so why would people suggest that it be a 22 unit building for affordable housing? People were mislead. Mr. Disco, we hope that you get a new unit before your 72nd birthday in West Hollywood. Paint it Pink!… Read more »
Dan, your way off topic. You were also way off topic supporting this appeal. You can’t force a private person to give up their property. And executive orders have nothing to do with our city council. This type of logic that was the basis of the appeal wasted hours of all of our time at a huge cost in addition to important city time doing business. You can support an idea all you want but think it through. The city council does not have a right to take this private property to put affordable housing. And more than that the… Read more »
Just FYI – Congress may influence the duration and effectiveness of executive orders. Orders issued pursuant to authority provided to the President by Congress, as distinguished from orders that are based on the President’s exclusive constitutional authority, may be legislatively modified or nullified. Congress may revoke all or part of such an order by either directly repealing the order, or by removing the underlying authority upon which the action is predicated. Either of these actions would appear to negate the legal effect of the order. And also, Congress cannot directly vote to override an executive order in the way… Read more »
DoNotReply – I just L-O-V-E anons ! Because we differ on issues, apparently, what is the purpose of denigrating me ? I attempt to research matters before I address any body of the City of West Hollywood. I am stating facts AND opinions. As regards eminent domain, I was laboring under the incorrect assumption that the SCOTUS 2005 Kelo v. The City of New London (CT) decision was the last word on this matter which, in FACT, did allow a non-blighted private property to be taken via eminent domain, and then transfer it for a dollar a year to a… Read more »
The sad truth is that many were lied to, including many of my neighbors and friends who live on Kings Road. Some were handed speeches to read, saying that there was an option for all affordable housing. It was simply spin put forth by the NIMBY’S to detract from the reality of their worthless appeal. IT IS PRIVATELY OWNED PROPERTY. The city doesn’t own it, and has no right to take it away from its owner , unless there are extreme circumstances. Even then, the cost of purchasing it and the legal hearings are enormous. Nimby’s knew, that it wasn’t… Read more »
Yes at Disco Dan the idea of eminent domain is used rarely for an high threshold for public good or right of way. For instance for building a hospital, or a necessary highway. Its not for taking of property from a private individual to turn it into a non profit. You are very misinformed and don’t have any logic in your statement. Maybe we should take your house through eminent domain and watch you change your disco song.
Disco Dan: We have to hear you make mistakes and misinformed statements every time you speak during public comment at CC meetings. Get your facts straight before you complain about “twos” and “toos”.
…..and “eminent domain”!…..what does that have to do with anything?!….LOL
Larry – I always have chills run up and down my spine when someone says if you don’t like “whatever” move somewhere else. Such statements remind me of the McCarthy era of the 1950s. Further, you railed against trying to tell an owner what to do with their property but, as you did on Monday and although this was brought to your attention, you again conveniently omitted any reference to eminent domain via which the government CAN indeed take your property (with compensation) and this was affirmed many years ago by the SCOTUS. What is ironic is that BOTH very… Read more »
@disco dan. We have two people, plus occasional freelancers, who produce all the content for WEHOville (typically 10 to 20 stories a week) as well as sell advertising, manage billing and other financial matters, moderate comments 18 hours daily, attend various civic meetings and produce the 100-page quarterly West Hollywood Magazine. So we rely on readers to catch and alert us to the inevitable spelling and grammar mistakes that occur.
@jj…..I was thinking the exact same thing as D’Amico said that. In a pontificating moment of delirium, Mr. D’Amico seems to have forgotten just how he speaks, reacts, acts, and treats not only his colleagues, but members of the public. He is simply not the man I voted for. To dare say he saw the hurt in the eyes of so many during public comment, and that he wish it was a little bit gentler, when he and his ex deputy have said some of the most egregious things I have ever heard both in public and private. This is… Read more »
Larry Block…you’re right on the money. And I could not believe that D’Amico said that people said some pretty nasty things about each other (during community comments) and it was unnecessary….all the while never apologizing for the nasty outburst he made to a fellow Councilmember during a Council Meeting. Absolutely shameful.
Traffic mitigation and parking congestion are the issues for me. The cumulative effect of replacing single family houses with condo or apt developments is a city at a standstill. If zoning laws need to be rewritten to address this, then sobeit, but we’ve got to address the vehicular traffic impact.