Plastic bags will no longer be an option for shoppers in West Hollywood after a unanimous vote by the City Council on Tuesday night.
The council voted 5-0 during its four-and-a-half-hour meeting to ban single-use plastic bags at area businesses. The city will model their ordinance after one designed by Los Angeles County for use in the unincorporated portions of the county.
In an effort to encourage customers to bring their own reusable shopping bags, the council will allow Weho businesses to charge 10 cents for paper bags.
Councilman John Heilman noted that in Europe, shoppers are expected to bring their own bags, adding that shoppers there are accustomed to the extra fee for store-provided bags.
Council also denied the petition for a four-story, 17-unit condominium building proposed for 1350 Hayworth Ave. The project will demolish an existing two-story, 16-unit 1940s era apartment building. Council members said the ultra modern building did not fit in with the rest of the block.
Hayworth between Sunset and Fountain is chiefly comprised of one- and two-story apartment buildings built between 1910 and 1950. The block is also home to the historically designated Hollywood Riviera designed by renowned architect Edward Fickett.
“This is a flat-footed response to an opportunity presented by being next door to the Hollywood Riviera,” said Councilman John D’Amico of the proposed building.
Councilman John Heilman agreed, saying he did not think the building was well designed. “I don’t find this particularly creative,” he said. “Given the character of the street, maybe a modern design is not the most appropriate for this location.”
Mayor Pro Tempore Jeff Prang said he considered the building out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood. He felt three stories was the highest it should go. “This is not superior architecture,” Prang added.
The council voted 5-0 to continue the item to an undetermined future date, whenever the architect wants to return with a new design.
Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Day
The council voted 5-0 to designate Saturday, Oct. 29 as Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Day. A celebration will be held on Larrabee Street at Santa Monica Boulevard with nearby clubs and participating. Several Sunset Strips clubs have also agreed to be a part of the celebration.
D’Amico, who sponsored the item, noted that go-go dancing originated in West Hollywood in the early 1960s. The first female go-go dancers were at the on Sunset, while male go-go dancers soon followed at Ciro’s (now ).
D’Amico said he wanted to bring some fun to the city for a day, to give locals a chance to celebrate before the Halloween Carnival two days later. The Halloween Carnival traditionally draws 500,000 people.
In continuing their discussion of the proposed General Plan, which will guide development in the city for the next 25 years, the council again discussed the maximum height of buildings. At an , residents made it clear they did not want to see buildings go any higher than four stories.
D’Amico requested that staff change the designation of 45-foot maximum height along Santa Monica Boulevard between Crescent Heights and Fairfax to 35-foot maximum height. With that change, virtually all of Santa Monica will have a 35-foot maximum height.
However, “bonuses” are still in place, which allow developers to go higher. Under state law SB1818, if a project includes affordable housing, it can go 10 feet higher. Under city ordinances, if the project is mixed use (retail and residential), it can also go 10 feet higher.
With these bonuses, even buildings designated as a maximum 35 feet height can reach 20 feet higher. The state-required affordable-housing bonus can not be eliminated, but the city-sponsored mixed-use bonus could be removed. However, the council does not seem inclined to remove that bonus since they want to encourage mixed use.
Heilman also addressed the repeated concerns from residents speaking during public comment about the development allowed by the General Plan, noting not all of the approved potential development under the General Plan will occur. He pointed out that even under the current General Plan, there has not been a drastic amount of development.
“When people say there’s been so many changes and so much development, they’re really overstating what has occurred over the history of the city,” Heilman said. “Not everything that is approved is actually built. I think that’s likely to be the case going forward.”
The city did agree to allow extra height at the proposed mixed-used development intended for the site at 7141 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Formosa). A new buyer intends to close on the property within 30 days, but is faced with a $1.5 million price tag for cleaning up the toxic chemicals in the soil from the chrome plating for car bumpers that Faith Plating does.
The new buyer is requesting to go up to 70 feet at the rear of the property to make up that cost. Council members said the site must be cleaned up, and agreed to include the extra height for the Faith Plating site into the General Plan.
With renovations to Plummer Park due to start by the end of this year, a half-dozen speakers during public comment spoke against these renovations. Several said they had only just recently heard about the plans and complained that they did not receive earlier notification.
Prang, D’Amico and Councilwoman Abbe Land all said more outreach to residents was needed and suggested the city schedule more meeting on the topic. Mayor John Duran noted they needed to make sure the residents who were originally involved with the park plans were advised of the new meetings.
City manager Paul Arevalo said there was still time for more meetings, “even though we are 95 percent into developer drawings," he said.