The West Hollywood City Council is said to be considering making an offer to the City of Beverly Hills for the Robertson Boulevard lot that is home to the Lions Club log cabin, a meeting place for many addiction recovery groups.
That property was on the Council’s closed session agenda for Monday night. A closed session is one to discuss personnel or legal matters in private.
Several people were invited in to offer their opinions on the Lions Club’s log cabin at 621 N.Robertson. Victor Omelczenko, president of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance, spoke in favor of preserving the building. In a statement to the City Council, the WHPA urged it to authorize the purchase of the two adjoining parcels of land at 617 and 621 N. Robertson Blvd.
“That purchase would help preserve the 2,000+ square foot historic log cabin building that has served the recovery community for many years and would enable the city to plan for future community uses – perhaps affordable housing? – on the remaining nearly 13,000 square feet of land,” the WHPA said in its statement. It also noted that the log cabin, which was constructed in the late 1920s or in the 1930s, was deemed eligible for designation as a historically significant property in a 2015 survey by the city of commercial places.
Mark DeRosa, a member of the board of the West Hollywood Recovery Center, also spoke at the closed session meeting. Another person at the meeting said that DeRosa told the Council that the Recovery Center was willing to commit $150,000 to preserve and update the log cabin. DeRosa declined to confirm or deny that in an exchange of texts with WEHOville. The Recovery Center’s addiction recovery groups meet at the city-owned Werle Building across Robertson Boulevard from the log cabin.
L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose 3rd District encompasses West Hollywood, has written a letter to Beverly Hills City Manager George Chavez expressing her support for preserving the log cabin. “The Log Cabin’s demolition would be an unprecedented loss of a true safe space for vulnerable members of the community,” Kuehl wrote.
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.”
Objections to the demolition of the log cabin led the City of Beverly Hills and the City of West Hollywood to issue a statement 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.