Will West Hollywood become the first city in the nation to ban the sale of fur apparel? That is one of the questions before the City Council at its meeting Monday night.
In May, the council members Knowing they would be creating a precedent that other cities may follow, the council instructed City Hall staffers to carefully draft an ordinance. Monday night, the panel will hear a report about the impact of the proposed ban and review the language of that ordinance.
Councilman John D’Amico, who sponsored the ordinance, is excited about making West Hollywood a destination for cruelty-free/animal-welfare events and establishing the city as the humane capital of the United States. He championed the fur-free cause during his election campaign and made it his first piece of legislation after joining the council in March.
“This is an opportunity to export an idea to the rest of the world,” D’Amico said during a recent interview. “Fur Free West Hollywood has the potential to generate a lot of interest in this idea of fur apparel. I think it has an opportunity to generate interest in a good way.”
D’Amico believes that wearing fur may be a necessity for keeping warm in some parts of the world, but not here.
“Wearing fur as clothing is about vanity here in Southern California,” he said. “You don’t need to wear a fur coat to stay warm. You buy it for vanity. That’s why it’s necessary to make it a ban on apparel items.”
D’Amico hopes the fur ban will get people talking about the issue. “This is really about being human, about thinking humanely and being careful about the world we live in,” he said.
D’Amico is aware the ban will have an economic impact on businesses that carry fur apparel. “I don’t minimize the potential to affect those businesses adversely,” he said. “It provides an opportunity to ring a bell all around the world.”
He points out that people wanting to buy fur apparel can still go to stores in Beverly Hills or Los Angeles.
The number of stores in West Hollywood affected by the ban is unclear. Initially, D’Amico said there are only five or six shops in the city limits that sell fur apparel. Later, he reported back saying he had just gotten statistics saying that 46 percent of clothing stores in the city would be affected by the ban.
Weho Patch contacted the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to confirm how many stores sell clothing items with fur. However, the chamber declined to help, saying it only provides such information to members.
The ban does not apply to furniture items that have fur. When asked about that distinction, D’Amico said it is because of the presence of the , home to many renowned furniture designers.
“Fur in furniture is sold in the design rooms of the PDC around the world,” he said. “It’s part of a worldwide system for selling furniture and decorator items that we didn’t want to inhibit.”
As for leather products, D’Amico is not interested in extending the ban to those items. “I don’t think it’s useful to ban leather,” he said. “There’s a societal acceptance that those kinds of products are more utilitarian than the color of a jacket.”
Other items on council agenda
The fur ban is just one of many items on the council agenda. Also scheduled is a vote on the controversial three-story, 52,000-square-foot proposed for the old Tower Records site at 8801 Sunset Blvd.
The council will also vote on the , which will guide development in the city for the next 25 years.
Additionally, it will hear an appeal of the . That proposed restaurant at 7984 Santa Monica Blvd. was approved by Community Development Director Anne McIntosh in July over the objections of some residents who said the 3,500-square-foot restaurant does not have adequate parking to meet its code requirements. Those residents, led by Ed Buck, are appealing her ruling.
The council will also make decisions about two mid-city condominium projects. At 1264 Harper Ave., a developer wants to demolish a two-story, 14-unit apartment building and replace it with a four-story, 14-unit condominium complex. At 7914 Norton Ave., a developer wants to demolish a one-story, 10-unit apartment complex and build a four-story, eight-unit condominium building.
The City Council meeting is Monday at 6:30 p.m. in . This will be the final meeting held in the auditorium. Starting Oct. 3, the council will begin meeting next door in the City Council Chambers in the new library.
To read the full council agenda, click here.