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City Staffers Recommend Denying Extension for Palm Restaurant Mixed-Use Project

The Planning Commission will hear a request Thursday for a two-year extension on the project, which city staffers say goes against the proposed new General Plan.

Will the mixed-use Palm Restaurant project get an extension to begin construction? That’s the question before the Planning Commission at Thursday night’s meeting.

Normally, the first request for an extension is automatically granted, but in the case of the five-story, 42-unit Palm Restaurant project located at 9001 Santa Monica Blvd. (beside the supermarket), City Hall staffers are recommending that the request be denied.

According to planner Jennifer Alkire, the proposed new General Plan is the reason for recommending the denial. Even though the City Council has not yet adopted the General Plan, the council expressed a desire not to have residential housing along Santa Monica Boulevard between Larrabee Street and Almont Drive.

Since the area has a concentration of nightclubs, including The Abbey, The Factory and , the council wants to keep residential housing away from the area to avoid future complaints from residents about noise.

“If that’s the direction the council is going, this [project] would be in conflict with that,” said Alkire. “They’re voicing these preferences, so we’re not going to recommend something that would be in conflict with that. That’s why we’re recommending the denial of the extension.”

Under the terms of the development agreement, which the city council approved in December 2007, the developer was required to obtain all building permits within 24 months. A lawsuit filed by resident Jeanne Dobrin over the 62-foot height of the building (it was settled with an agreement of a maximum 55-feet height) resulted in an additional 12 months to get the permits.

But even with that lawsuit extension, all permits were supposed to be secured by Jan. 8, 2011. The developer is now requesting an extension to Jan. 8, 2013.

Also on the commission’s agenda is a request to add one affordable unit to a previously approved five-unit condominium building at 1040 N. Spaulding Ave.

The commission will not hear an agenda item about reducing the number of residential units from eight to seven at 1223 Larrabee St. That item is going back to staff and will be heard at a future date.  

The Planning Commission meets Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at West Hollywood Park Auditorium. Read the full agenda.

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dan rosen September 01, 2011 at 06:29 AM
I don't understand how the city planning staff can use an un-approved plan as a reason to deny this extension. And why is it assumed that it's a good idea NOT to have residents on Santa Monica Blvd? We're a city, right? People in city live on big streets. We're all adults and I think we can handle it. Again, our city hall staff seems to be a bit confused. They want to put more residents on small side streets where it's already too crowded like on Kings Road but they want to keep residents off major avenues that could easily handle the extra traffic and cars. I'm not trying to be mean here, but do any of our city planners have actual educational background on a high level in urban planning? Many great cities like Portland, Seattle, San Fran, and just about every great city has a vibrant living community right on their main streets. Why can't we?
west hollywould September 01, 2011 at 04:53 PM
"We're all adults and I think we can handle it." Dan, that is a a rational thought thought but it's just not the reality of this city. Just ask the hotels and nightclubs along the Sunset Strip, which are plagued by complaints from neighbors, despite the fact that these neighbors knowingly moved into housing bordering THE SUNSET STRIP... known worldwide as a nightlife district.
Todd Bianco September 01, 2011 at 05:55 PM
For once, the City should deny an extension to yet another un-built but entitled development. How long has the Sunset Millennium project gone on? More than a decade and what did the City get? Boarded up Petersen building. Tiffany Theater shut for good, and on and on. And endless extensions and modifications. Just look at the latest issue in Santa Monica when a light airplane crashed into a home on its approach to the Santa Monica Airport runway. Every person in that area bought a house knowing it's next to an airport and that airplanes flight right over their properties. As @westhollywood says above, the neighbors on the Sunset Strip bought houses there knowing it's loud and heavily trafficked. They still complain. If someone buys a condo at that location, someone will (no doubt about it) complain of noise at some point. The Palm project was a problem to begin with and Jeanne Dobrin had to sue them to get the project in conformance with the zoning code & regulations. If the City, for once, stands up to a developer it will be a watershed moment in WeHo and a sign to developers that the city can't be bought as easily any longer.
jimmy palmieri September 01, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Jeanne Dobrin is a hero for this city. Any housing near any club, is a problem waiting to happen. Councilman D'Amico, the ONLY councilmember with a degree in Urban Development, has made the golden suggestion of creating neighborhoods, not hodepodges. LET'S ALL PAY ATTENTION TO SANITY FOR ONCE.
JESS K September 01, 2011 at 07:50 PM
This denial stinks of government not thinking correctly. If folks want to buy a condo on Santa Monica Blvd. [like the one's near to the car wash just down the street], they have to realize that there may be noise. I mean really! A condo on Santa Monica Blvd. is not exactly a quite place to live! It is like people buying a home/condo near an airport then complaining about the noise the jets make! DUH! Instead of denying the application, put a codicil in the building permits to use extraordinary soundproofing! Then Buyer Beware!. "Caveat emptor!" Have the sellers of the condos, and/or renters advised in writing of the potential of noise on a major thoroughfare. The Abbey, The Factory and Rage, are several blocks away. Why were the businesses in the more immediate area not noted??? [Maybe more law enforcement around said clubs might cut down on noise?] I once lived on San Vicente Blvd. a/k/a indy 500 West Hollywood, and the noise was just something one is willing to live with, or not! Living on busy, noisy streets, near airports, etc. is just a fact of life! People should make adult choices when they rent/buy dwellings! Building large over-sized condo buildings in residential areas does not seem to meet the same criteria! What's up with that????

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