Orange Grove Apartments, Extended Business Hours, Temporary Signs on the Planning Commission’s Thursday Agenda

west hollywood planning commission
Illustration of proposed apartment building at 1150 N. Orange Grove Ave. (Amit Apel Design)

The West Hollywood Planning Commission on Thursday will review plans to build a four-story building with seven apartment units at 1150 N. Orange Grove Ave.

The site, which is between Santa Monica Boulevard and Fountain, currently is the location of two empty single-family houses.

The building would include a total of 8,876 square feet and have an underground parking garage with 13 space. One of the apartments, with two bedrooms and two and a half baths, would be reserved for a low-income tenant.

The property is owned by Fred Houriani and the project has been designed by Amit Apel Design. The two empty houses on the lot were previously occupied by their owners and were not rental properties.

Zoning for the area restricts buildings to three stories. However, because the project contains an affordable unit, it qualifies for a concession from the city. That concession is the addition of a fourth story, which will be set back from the front of the building. The total height of the building will be 40 feet, or five feet more than the maximum height for a three-story building in the area.

The project generally was praised by the city’s Community Development Department. “Overall, the project is a well-scaled, three-dimensional design that employs consistent architectural elements/devices around the project to provide visual interest, shade and shadow,” it said in a memo to the Planning Commission.

Extended Operating Hours for Businesses

Also on the Commission’s agenda is review of a proposal to streamline the process for businesses to apply for a permit to extend their operating hours beyond 2 a.m.  West Hollywood now has 31 businesses that are open past 2 a.m., ranging from Kitchen 24 to Laurel Pet Hospital to Studs Theatre.

Currently, a business that wants to extend its operating hours must pay a $7,053 application fee. The request then goes before the director of Community Development for a hearing. The proposal before the Planning Commission would reduce the application fee to $1,700. The request for an extension would be heard by the Business License Commission rather than the Community Development director.

Shifting the review process to the Business License Commission means that the annual license would be granted to the business owner and not to the property. Thus a new owner of the business would have to submit a new application. The proposed new process also would not require a business owner to have manager on duty during the extended hours. However, it would have to continue to have a security guard on duty.

New Temporary Window Sign Rules

Another proposal that will come before the Commission would amend city regulations that govern temporary signs such as those found in empty storefronts to allow for flexibility and creativity in the design, size and placement of such signs.

The proposal, initiated by City Councilmember Lauren Meister, who has expressed her concern about the look of vacant commercial buildings that are undergoing a redesign or are for rent. A report from the Community Development Department notes that “often, the windows and doors of vacant buildings are covered with cardboard or large sheets of blank paper to block the view into the interior of the building and include a small, boilerplate real estate sign with the agent’s name and contact information…”

The proposed changes would remove restrictions on the size of signs in windows and, a Community Development report states, “would allow property owners to use the entire area of all ground floor, street facing windows and glass doors for signage. The signs would be allowed to include only information related to the sale, rental or lease of the property or renderings of possible future improvements.”

The Planning Commission’s recommendation on both items will go to the City Council, which must approve them before they can be implemented.

The Planning Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday in the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica Boulevard. Parking is available in the five story structure behind the chambers and is free with a ticket validated at the meeting.

Example of current temporary sign at 8920 Melrose Ave.
Sign at 8532 Melrose Ave. that proposed regulation change would encourage.
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Shawn Thompson
3 years ago

Of course it will be approved the planing commission always says yes and they are hand picked by council member’s to be the one two punch to get their Developer Campaign Donner;s projects approved. At what point does weho leadership have the realization that the 4 lanes of Santa Monica blvd and the fountain short cut can’t handle more cars? Or will it be spun as oh all those cars are just passing through the city. And us build more and more massive density isnt the problem. And i’m not a nimby or against development, it does need to be… Read more »

J Simmons
J Simmons
3 years ago

Why do normal zoning appropriate with only 7 units get this type of massive coverage, hinting there might be opinion issues at the planning commission, YET THE NOW UBIQUITOUS NEW HUGE MIXED USE, UPTO A HUNDRED UNITS OR MORE, that will IMPACT residents, drivers/traffic, Open sun filled side walks becoming mostly shadow and countless other big impacts … NEVER GETS MORE THAN AN ARTIST’S RENDERING which is really a done deal, long planned, design complete and ZERO PUBLIC INPUT?

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