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City Council Approves Melrose Projects

Two different design showroom buildings on Melrose Avenue receive approval from the City Council, which also approves an Avenues overlay bonus allowing both buildings to go taller.

The West Hollywood City Council approved two projects on Melrose Avenue as well as a zoning amendment allowing each to go taller at its Monday night meeting.

The project at 8711 Melrose Avenue (at San Vicente Boulevard) is a three-story, 23,000 square foot building designed for retail and wholesale design showroom space.

The project at with 130 parking spaces on two underground levels. That building will primarily house wholesale home furnishings showrooms. Restoration Hardware is set to be its main tenant.

As part of the city’s new General Plan, the Council has created an Avenues Bonus overlay zone allowing buildings to go taller if they meet certain criteria. Since both buildings were requesting to go higher, the Council had to first approve that height bonus in order for the two projects presented to be approved.

The Council approved the bonus on a 4-1 vote with Councilmember John D’Amico voting against it. D’Amico said he wanted to assure each project has a specific and distinct public benefit before getting the bonus.

With the bonus overlay in place, the 8711 Melrose project easily received unanimous approval.

However, the 8564-8590 Melrose project proved more controversial. Area residents have opposed the project as too massive since at 35 feet, it will be significantly taller than the surrounding buildings. Residents also expressed concerns about the traffic impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

Questions were also raised about the stability of Restoration Hardware since its chairman, Gary Friedman, recently stepped down amid charges of having an inappropriate relationship with a 26-year-old female employee.

Nonetheless, the Council approved the 8564 Melrose project on a 3-2 vote. D’Amico and Mayor Jeff Prang voted against it.

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meister4weho September 02, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I'm sure the neighborhood would love help raising $50,000 - $70,000 to file a lawsuit. Anyone who would like to contribute, please email whwra90048@gmail.com.
meister4weho September 02, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Todd, that is correct. It was because of Restoration Hardware's supposed "showroom-like" business model that several council members were for the project and didn't think it needed environmental review. Now ANY retail project can go in...
joninla September 02, 2012 at 09:23 PM
re: D'Amico - what ever happened to his motion to shorten the Dog & Pony Show a.k.a. The city council open meetings every other Monday? I think Mr. D'Amico is coming from a good direction, but is unable to see (as do the rest of the non-heilman members) the bigger picture of how the city is run by Heilman and The City manager, while the intentionally long meetings always have a fairly quiet Heilman who always asks some basic question as if he is just as naive as the rest of the council about where this and the other excessive projects originated, and what the specifics are. Note his reguoar question 'for clarification' he always asks.
meister4weho September 15, 2012 at 12:49 AM
The neighborhood looks like they are "lawyering up." They are accepting donations to the cause. Please feel free to email me if you want more information: lauren@meister4weho.com. If the City gets away with this one, the City will just keep approving projects without doing the proper environment study. They bet on people not filing a lawsuit. Stay tuned...
Michael Mooney September 18, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I re-produce a note from an idealistic neighbor - a newcomer to WEHO - who thought there's a there here. She was engaged in the issues around 8564 and went to two City Council meetings. I wish that Heilman, Land and Duran would read what she said, but it probably wouldn't do any good. They don't represent concerned citizens very well anyway. What she said is telling. Here it is: "I did attend the meeting as well as the marathon budget meeting last month. This meeting was disappointing, to say the least. It’s as if these meetings are just for show. Herding residents in one by one for 2 minutes to make comments which are rarely considered, except by John D'Amico, who consistently raises thoughtful and neighborhood-sensitive questions which are usually ignored by the rest of the council members. I sat and listened to the Mayor express his concerns regarding a property 600 feet away from where he lives, but when it came to this project, which is not in his neighborhood, he failed to see any of our concerns. I thought our council members and mayor were there to represent our needs and concerns, not just their own. It gives me little hope for the system, especially as one of the younger homeowners in this city, and I am discouraged from remaining involved if our concerns are falling upon deaf ears. I thought West Hollywood was progressive and different. Perhaps I was wrong, at least when it comes to the governmental portion." Enough said.

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