The five-story development has 18 units and fulfills the intent of the Housing Accountability Act of 2017 (SB-167).
The West Hollywood Planning Commission approved a proposed five-story co-living apartment building at 1301-1307 Fairfax Avenue and 7909 Fountain Avenue, in a 3-2 vote.
After reviewing changes based upon previous recommendations made at a special meeting last month, the West Hollywood Planning Commission approved a proposed five-story co-living apartment building at 1301-1307 Fairfax Avenue and 7909 Fountain Avenue, in a 3-2 vote.
City of West Hollywood Associate Planner Adrian Gallo explained how this 18-unit development fulfills the intent of the Housing Accountability Act of 2017 (SB-167), as well as alleviates the state’s current housing crisis.
“Since the PC [Planning Commission] meeting, the project has been re-designed and staff no longer believes there is a safety impact, and can now support all the requested waivers and concessions,” he said.
The approved plans reduced overall occupancy by cutting the number of bedrooms from 80 to 73, and parking was also reduced to 32 spaces. Thirty are dedicated to residents, with the remaining two reserved for building staff, deliveries, and other vendors. According to state law, the project is eligible to have as few as nine parking spaces.
Planning Commission Chair Lynn Hoopingarner brought up the point of the overall uncertainty of the project, and asked how residents would have sufficient privacy and safety, as this is a new community initiative in West Hollywood. Other issues she raised revolved around noise compliance and density.
“We have no conditional use permit, nothing to guide that development, and how it operates. It is an operating model that has never been addressed, and I’m very leery of creating code on the fly, which is effectively what we are doing,” said Hoopingarner. “I don’t feel comfortable with it. I do not feel that I could make the findings that would address that,” she added.
Other concerns expressed include compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and parking. Area resident Stephanie Harker is worried about charging affordable housing tenants for parking, as well as potential congestion caused by limited garage space. Furthermore, she and others described how the influx of delivery trucks will negatively impact this already crowded neighborhood.
“The parking has not been considered carefully enough on this project. It would also mean that half the people in the building would not have a car. This is Southern California, that’s stretching the point,” said Harker.
Gallo and City of West Hollywood Current & Historic Preservation Planning Manager Jennifer Alkire emphasized how this project is well-suited for residents without cars due to its proximity to public transit stops and commercial areas.
Commissioners Tushar Dutta, Rogerio Carvalheiro and Marquita Thomas praised this project, and remarked how it brings a sense of belonging, while making living in West Hollywood accessible to those who would otherwise be priced out.
“Look at the news over the last several weeks, everything about mental health. It’s like loneliness. People have the opportunity to live with other people and create community in a microcosm and in the macro which is West Hollywood,” said Carvalheiro.
Commissioners Carvalheiro, Thomas, and Dutta approved the project, while Vinson and Hoopingarner opposed it. Commissioner Michael Lombardi and Vice Chair Stacey Jones were absent.