Dear Planning Commissioners and City Staff:
The long-serving – since 1952– and culturally significant Temple Beth-El and three related buildings on Crescent Heights near Fountain are slated for demolition, meriting only the briefest of mentions on Page 6 (of 20) of the staff report:
The existing church built in 1952 was reviewed during the 2016 Citywide Commercial Historic Resources Survey and found to not be eligible for designation as a state or local cultural resource.
Members of West Hollywood’s preservation community are raising these questions:
1. Where is the documentation and analysis in the city’s 2016 survey for this conclusion regarding Temple Beth El, and the three adjacent buildings, slated for demolition?
Appendix III, Page 105 of this survey lists the address below:
1305 N. Crescent Heights Blvd., APN 5554-008-015, Construction Date 1968, 6Z. (“6Z” is a code indicating not being eligible for historic designation through survey evaluation.)
Does this 6Z determination cover all four existing structures that are now apparently lumped together for the new 1317 N. Crescent Heights project?
These structures include the corner West Hollywood College Preparatory School, the Temple Beth-El Main Synagogue, Sapper Hall/Chapel, and Neman Hall/Touro College which appear to have been built at different times.
2. Where are the official Department of Parks and Recreation forms that would justify the code “6Z’? Did the survey’s contractor – GPA Consulting – prepare forms for the FOUR buildings set for demolition, including historic Temple Beth- El?
To ensure government transparency and historical accuracy, the Planning Commission should get answers to these questions before approving this project.
Something is awry here. Temple Beth-El, as well as the other three structures, warrants having a specific Historic Resource Assessment (HRA) conducted before any decisions are made about the four demolitions.
–Victor Omelczenko, WHPA Board President
This issue is being discussed at the Thursday, Nov. 17 Planning Commission meeting that begins at 6:30pm. See Agenda Item 10.B. at this link for more information.