The City of Beverly Hills and the City of West Hollywood have responded to a public outcry about plans to demolish the Lions Club log cabin on Robertson Boulevard with a statement today saying they are discussing developing a “shared approach” to providing options for the Lions Club and addiction recovery groups that have used the cabin as a meeting place.
“Tens of thousands of people have been helped by the 12-Step meetings at the Log Cabin on North Robertson Boulevard over the past four decades,” said West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “These meetings are a vital resource for the West Hollywood and greater Los Angeles sober community. The City of West Hollywood is committed to preserving the availability of addiction recovery support group space and will work with our neighbors in the City of Beverly Hills to explore all available options.”
City Manager Paul Arevalo
Beverly Hills City Manager George Chavez affirmed that the cities will work together. “Both cities recognize the important work that has occurred at the site and the countless lives that have been changed for the better,” he said. “Our concern is the safety of those within the building.”
Chavez notified Gyula Kangiszer, president of the West Hollywood Lions Club, in a letter dated Jan. 10, that it was terminating the Lions Club’s lease on the property. While its lot at 621 N. Robertson Blvd. is within the West Hollywood City limits, it is owned by the City of Beverly Hills.
In the letter, Chavez noted that the Lions Club’s original lease, dated Nov. 3, 1976, had expired on July 1, 1977, and that a recent audit of the city’s land holdings revealed that the Lions Club has not paid rent on the property in the 42 years since then. Chavez said a contractor had inspected the property and “found portions of the building in poor condition.”
“As you know, Section 12 of the Lease provides that upon the expiration of the Lease, at the election of the City, you must remove the buildings and other improvements and landscaping and leave the premises free of all foundations and debris,” says Chavez’s letter. “The Landlord hereby demands that you remove the improvements and vacate the leased premises by March 31, 2020, and surrender possession to the Landlord.”
The statement issued today said that the City of West Hollywood “is anticipated to conduct its own audit of the building’s conditions in the coming days. In the meantime, the City of Beverly Hills has offered to provide alternative meeting locations for the Lions Club and other organizations that utilize the facility and the City of West Hollywood is exploring options that support the ongoing use and the availability of community and recovery meetings.”
The log cabin is located directly across Robertson Boulevard from the Werle Building, which the City of West Hollywood owns and which also is home to addiction recovery meetings. A change.org petition to Chavez and city leaders in both Beverly Hills and West Hollywood that is demanding preservation of the log cabin has attracted nearly 4,000 signatures as of publication of this story.
The petition says the log cabin building, which was built in the late 1920s or 1930s as a clubhouse for Troup 27 of the Boy Scouts of America, should be designated by the City of West Hollywood as a historic or cultural resource. Such a designation would complicate any efforts to demolish the property. City Councilmember John Duran and Mayor John D’Amico have raised the possibility of blocking the hasty demolition by requiring that the City of Beverly Hills submit its plan to the West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission.