Meister began the deliberations laying out a case to support the appeal. D’Amico followed. But then, in a stunning 3-2 vote, the younger generation of West Hollywood’s City Council pushed back against neighborhood opposition and paved the way for construction of a new assisted living facility for senior citizens on Palm Avenue.
The project includes a new four-story, 33,460-square-foot senior congregate care housing facility with 48 units and a one-level subterranean parking garage using a Senior Housing density bonus.
The Palms Project had received approval from the Planning Commission but was met with fierce pushback from neighbors such as Wail Bushara, who appealed the decision on behalf of the “Friends of Palm Avenue.”
The two seniors on the council — John D’Amico and Lauren Meister — voted against the largest senior assisted living facility to be introduced for West Hollywood since cityhood. Both argued against the project to start deliberations.
Mayor Lindsey Horvath joined Councilmembers John Erickson and Sepi Shyne in denying the appeal and allowing the project to proceed.
D’Amico stretched to overturn the vote and insert two affordable units to upset the deliberations and find a way to unanimous consensus. But the net result would have been a partial overturning of the Planning decision and might have caused litigation against the City.
Shyne, who is a business attorney, cited the strong case against the city in voting to deny the appeal and upholding the Planning Commission approval. Erickson accused the appellant of sloppy work. Horvath was the deciding vote in approving the Project.
The arguments from residents got very personal, arguing that Historic Planning Commissioner Edward Levin was conflating roles as the architect of the project.
Edward Levin, who is a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, did not participate or contact staff about the project throughout the Historic Preservation Commission process associated with this project and recused himself from the HPC public hearing on the matter. Therefore, there is no violation of the Political Reform Act, and Section 1090 did not apply —Mr. Levin recused himself from the Historic Commission voting, resulting in a 3-3 split. Levin was appointed to the commission by Mayor Horvath.
This project is expected to be ready for occupancy in late 2024 or early 2025.