A Los Angeles Superior Court judge today denied a petition by the West Hollywood West Residents Association to overturn the WeHo City Council’s approval of the 8899 Beverly Blvd. project.
The residents association filed the lawsuit in December 2015 in a challenge to the council’s decision in August to grant the developers of the project an exception to West Hollywood’s general plan. That exception allows the developer to almost double the size of the existing 90,000-square-foot building, which already is twice the size of what is permitted for that area under the general plan. The 10-story building was constructed in 1962, 22 years before West Hollywood was incorporated as a city and thus was “grandfathered” into the general plan, which limits commercial buildings in the area to three stories and a smaller mass on the 1.7 acre lot.
The developer, Townscape Partners, intends to convert the office building into one with 52 luxury condominiums with an additional 15 units for low- and moderate-income people. It also plans to build nine single-family houses on Rosewood Drive behind the 8899 Beverly building.
In its lawsuit, West Hollywood West claimed that creating a specific exemption to the general plan was “a subterfuge to avoid the hearing otherwise necessary for a zoning variance. From its point of view the (8899 Beverly) project will improperly increase density in violation of zoning laws.
Judge Amy Hogue ruled that the City of West Hollywood and the City Council did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in granting Townscape the exception to the general plan. Hogue ruled that the specific plan created for the project showed its relationship to the general plan, which is required under law. “There is substantial evidence in the record that Specific Plan is consistent with approximately 50 policies and goals for land use and housing identified in the General Plan…” the rule states.
Townscape recently won the blessing of the Los Angeles City Council to move forward with a large project at 8150 Sunset Blvd. that had drawn opposition from the West Hollywood City Council and WeHo residents. They had expressed concern about the project’s impact on traffic in WeHo and on its sewer system and that the height of its tallest building would overshadow the West Hollywood neighborhood to the south. The City of West Hollywood withdrew its opposition to the project after receiving a number of concessions from Townscape.
Progressive people in West Hollywood West are perfectly comfortable with change and development.
They are concerned because City Council is actually regressive, favoring of developers rather than broader urban goals for the city. Approved projects show little regard for the neighborhood or progressive urban planning. Council and pertinent commissions have demonstrated little understanding of these goals.
Other cities have succeeded in creating an “urban village”, but Weho has not, despite it’s banner as “The Creative City”.
In this instance, neither Council, Community development nor the Commissioners has shown leadership or understanding.
It’s time for West Hollywood West to accept the fact that change isn’t going to harm them any more than it has harmed all the other citizens in this City. Stop being so insular and so litigious. Don’t like it? Too bad. We don’t like it either.
WHY DOES A GROUP OF WEHO RESIDENTS NEED TO SEEK HELP FROM A JUDGE TO STOP WHAT THE ELECTED CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE GOING TO DO, WITH ABSOLUTELY NO CARE ABOUT THE SERIOUS ISSUES OF THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR THE EMBEDDED FOR DECADES CORRUPTED CITY LEADETS??? Well, I would say, in terms of granting to the judicial sytem unpopular decisons taken by small municipalities because it logically makes sense. The residents are concerned … ignored …. and not a factor in municipal city council actions. SO??? No need for judges to step in. THE RESIDENTS ARE THE ONLY VOTERS… Read more »
…or John and John will be re-elected (yet again…)
More seriously, if WHWRA had perhaps pointed out how much money Townscape worked to raise for the (re-)election of John in 2015, Judge Hogue may have had ‘reasonable doubt’ about the arbitrariness or capriciousness of the Council’s actions.
Looks like an appeal for another 60 days, then another lawsuit over the easement. How long will this go on? Looks like we may have another council by the time this comes up. Careful how you vote.
I hope they appeal. Often it takes elevating a land use issue to a court that is more familiar with complex planning law, the way these laws are abused and the effect of precedents. On its face, the project violates the General Plan and zoning ordinance in a variety of ways. While the existing building may be grandfathered, new development, even for grandfathered buildings, must comply with current codes, policies and goals. I hope the attorneys for WHWRA argument included an explanation of the various city policies and goals this project violates and, contrary to the city’s assertion, elaborated on… Read more »