Co-living apartments get greenlight from Planning Commission

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.

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Worried in WeHo
Worried in WeHo
1 month ago

An appeal for this project is scheduled to go before the WeHo City Council on Dec 6. At issue (among other things) is whether the project, labeled an 18 unit apartment building (with additional 3 low-income units) is actually that. Each unit will have 5 bedrooms with 5 attached bathrooms, each individually leased, each with their own lock and key. Because they still call it “apartments” and not “single rooms occupancy” (SRO), the city and state is allowing them multiple variances including limiting parking for approx. 30 cars only for approx. 90 tenants. Tenants and guests will have to park on the… Read more »

Captain Tor
Captain Tor
3 months ago

It’s not over yet, there is an appeal process to go through before this is a done deal; listening to the certain planning commissioners and others lamenting over and over about “not being able to get into West Hollywood” because of the rents I wondered. Really? Can’t afford the rents? Get another job, get a better job, get more education, live in a neighborhood you can afford, get a roommate or 2. “Getting into West Hollywood” isn’t exactly like getting into Harvard Law School…geez

Mark Elliot
4 months ago

Forgot to add that the Treehouse project in Hollywood stacks its development incentives like poker chips. Those include state and local opportunity zones and the state density bonus. The rent on its small bedrooms range from $1,600-$2,000 plus parking. You won’t read on the Treehouse website but I learned it in a discussion with a current tenant.
I don’t recall the anticipated rents at this ‘co-living’ discussed at Council, but it won’t be any more affordable. Per square foot that rivals the most luxurious of developments (but of course tenants aren’t getting too many of those square foots).

Don S
Don S
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Elliot

People paying below $2K is a welcome sign in this neighborhood. We can’t afford anything here. I’m glad they are doing this. I’d love to see more. Mark you can always move if your so upset. I don’t see how this effects you. Last I checked your a six figure attorney. Affordable housing isn’t even in your vocabulary.

Mark Elliot
3 months ago
Reply to  Don S

I’m glad my information was helpful!

Mark Elliot
4 months ago

Call it ‘co-living’ or theme it however you like, but this business model revives the residential density of the single-room occupancy hotel but without according individual occupants the privacy of their own unit. Instead it carves up the floor area into the maximum possible number of bedrooms, organized mostly in ‘suites.’ If I understand the staff report, there are three affordable 1-bedroom units (the best deal) and 15 market units which are carved into 70 (!) bedrooms each and rented individually. To attract people willing to pay very high rents for very little space, there are well-appointed common areas. You… Read more »

Loneliness
Loneliness
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Elliot

Commissioner Carvelheiro voted for this apparently because he thinks the density of Tokyo is what West Hollywood needs and “institutions” like this will be a remedy for mental health and cure the loneliness folks have recently experienced. Really?

Impervious to Aesthetic Appeal
Impervious to Aesthetic Appeal
4 months ago

On top of it all, this project shows little aesthetic appeal. If you take a look at the Senior housing further down on the east side of Fairfax, there is little difference. Mr. Levin added wood siding, possibly artificial and it resembles most of his other imposing projects that spill onto the streetscape or over the rooftops proclaimed EMPIRE!. We’ll see. For an architect that sits on the Historic Preservation Commission and actually lives in a historic building, there is little evidence that there is any connection. How one can impervious to the aesthetics of that era and how one… Read more »

No Experiments
No Experiments
4 months ago

https://beverlypress.com/2021/09/west-hollywood-oks-co-living-proposal/

More details regarding the project and its flaws.

L. Helmsley
L. Helmsley
4 months ago

Accusing posters and comments with opposing views as NIMBYism is a weak and lazy argument. Grab a thesaurus if you have to and write something intelligent. In 2016 WeHo had the 17th densest population in the country. We should all be concerned, critique and comment on new land development because it’s really in all our backyards.

Manny
Manny
4 months ago
Reply to  L. Helmsley

Right on L!…..The “NIMBYism” thing is such a tired and empty argument, especially when they try to make it sound like NIMBY is a bad thing. It’s not, it’s a way to protect us from bad ideas. If we don’t do it, who will?

Don S
Don S
4 months ago
Reply to  L. Helmsley

Opposing views without anything factual is a NIMBY response. Specifically what is the concern here? Right now there are 3 vacant, burned down houses with daily homeless sitting upfront. I walk by everyday. Since this is your backyard do you have a better solution? Please go ahead.

No Experiments
No Experiments
4 months ago
Reply to  L. Helmsley

Thank you Leona, first responsible thought expressed in your afterlife.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
4 months ago

Warehousing

Last edited 4 months ago by Jim Nasium
Joshua88
Joshua88
4 months ago

The regs are too loose and should be severely tightened in order to avoid all the unwarranted tax subsidies that RE developers get for …um…developing.

Andrew S
Andrew S
4 months ago

The NIMBY thread on Next Door opposing the project has been a real trip to follow.

Ty Geltmaker Ph.D /James Rosen
Ty Geltmaker Ph.D /James Rosen
4 months ago

What is everybody so afraid of? That the overpriced house/junk apartment you bought ten years ago as an “investment” hasn’t become your dream? That people beneath your presumed means might be permitted into these fake gates? C’mon people, open up to the world.

WehoFan
WehoFan
4 months ago

Who are you lecturing? Weho is one of the most generous communities in California.

Ty Geltmaker Ph.D /James Rosen
Ty Geltmaker Ph.D /James Rosen
4 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Dear WehoFan,

Not “lecturing anyone. Just including myself also in caution not to get so isolated from the needs of people who would do well living in such an arrangement and be our friends/productive neighbors.

Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
4 months ago

What’s your PhD in, son?

Ty Geltmaker Ph.D /James Rosen
Ty Geltmaker Ph.D /James Rosen
4 months ago

It’s really none of your business, especially since you don’t give an actual name identifying yourself, and your usage of the word “son” is laughably odd since I’m a youthful 69. But full disclosure: I have a Ph.D from USC/M.A. from NYU in Modern European/American socio-cultural history with a well-regarded record of publications and teaching at USC, CalArts, Cerritos Community College, Bronx Community College. And my hyper-specialization is Modern Italy. Google me. My c.v. is available on request, showing also my work as a journalist in Rome/NYC & writing on AIDS in LA.

Dr. Meow Meow
Dr. Meow Meow
3 months ago

I agree. If people want to live in a place like that, let them! Sounds great for people who are busy and don’t need a huge amount of space.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
4 months ago

Anything is better than those rundown bungalows that have been rotting there for years

Don S
Don S
4 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

100%

Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
Harambe’s Vengeful Ghost
4 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Careful what you wish for…

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