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Council Sends Hayworth Condo Back to the Drawing Board, Again

City Council rejects plans for an ultra-modern, four-story, 17-unit condo building at 1350 N. Hayworth Ave. since it fails to incorporate the changes suggested in September.

The City Council sent a condominium proposal back to the drawing boards at its Tuesday night meeting after the project failed to incorporate suggested alterations.

The owner of the property at 1350 Hayworth Ave. is proposing to demolish a 1940s era two-story, 16-unit apartment building to construct a four-story, 17-unit luxury condominium building.

The project came before the City Council at its Sept. 6 meeting, where the council rejected the ultra-modern design, saying it did not fit with the character of the street and was too large in comparison to the other buildings in the neighborhood.

The block of Hayworth between Sunset and Fountain is comprised chiefly of one- and two-story apartment buildings built between the 1910s and 1950s.

The block is also home to the historically designated, mid-Century-modern Hollywood Riviera apartment building, designed by renowned architect Edward Fickett. Because the property at 1350 Hayworth sits beside the Hollywood Riviera, the council was particularly sensitive to it fitting in with its neighbor to the north.

The architect came back with a slightly modified design – a project that is 2,200 square feet smaller with greater setbacks from the sidewalk and three-stories in the front, but four stories at the back of the property.

During public comment, each of the approximately 20 speakers spoke against the project, noting that project was “ugly,” would reduce property values on the street, was too massive, and did not substantially differ from the earlier design.

The council agreed with the residents. Mayor John Duran did not like the project and said it was not compatible with the neighborhood.

Councilwoman Abbe Land said the project should enhance the neighborhood rather than distract from it. She also criticized the design, pointing out that the council had given specific direction for changes that were not incorporated.

Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Prang said this version was an improvement, but still did not “hit the mark.”

The council voted unanimously to continue the item to an unspecified date when the architect returns with new designs.

The council further instructed the architect and city staff to include neighborhood residents in the design meetings. City Hall staff was also criticized for not including residents in earlier meetings, as they had instructed when the project came up in September.  

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joninla February 23, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Chloe - the same problem plagues all projects in weho from facing a similar situation. The initial plans were sent through a series of compromises, until an agreement 'in general' about the general design. The commission likes the term 'envelope' when descibing what will be the size, shape and number of units that will all have to fit into that 'envelope'. As with all the projects I have suggested, objectively, that the absolute strict adherence to height limits results in little choice but the disaster currently planned. I would suggest again, but this time add that 2 or 3 model be designed with only the number of units & sq footage fixed, and see what possibilities could have the same end result, but in a shape and style that actually pleases everyone (rather that a pile of compomises that nobody likes.) if there were a chance for everyone to see alternatives, then have a vote to see if there is one design that a large overwhelming number of voters agree would be better. twice the height, with half the footprint (for example) is tall, but all the open space arond it makes it preferable. The old historic tower down the street is a perfect example. Compare a model of that buildings shape on the proposed site and look how it is better for everyones view, openness and sight & sound.
joninla February 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Also - the great architects you listed not only have extreme talent, but were not faced with such exacting restrictions based on a formula and compromises, in which they had to somehow squeeze the set size into. plannong by committee is a well studied issue and it is known to end up with building being built that not one single person on the committee would have thought acceptable if presented to them for the first time. But it happens time and again. It's like the mob mentality where people will do things they would never even consider, yet suddenly act out because of the group dynamic affecting rational thought & behavior.
Lynn Russell February 23, 2012 at 04:45 PM
If I might comment James Mills characterization that folks thought the design was ugly....I disagree. Most felt that it was not "compatible" with the neighborhood. This is an issue addressed in the code in 19.46.050 General Design Standards and G-08.050 Multiple-Family Housing. These are two of the three points I cited in the successor Norton Appeal which eventually came to a fine conclusion in redesign thanks to Siavash Khajezadeh of Design Leed, the architect. I personally like the design but could see it in another location which would be more appropriate. A briefly discussed it withJay Vanous after the decision and found that he had some valid points that were similar to those of Mr. Khajezadeh which become problematic in development in WH. Presenting those to Community Development along with additional architects might be a first step in finding a solution which could lead to better architecture landing in the right settings.
Lynn Russell February 23, 2012 at 04:59 PM
That was "successful" Norton Appeal. This gadget thinks it knows what I intend to say and is often wrong. With rapidly disappearing text it is hard to catch. My apology.
joninla February 23, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Lynn there is absolutely no apology needed from you for what appears to be a technokogical issue you can't control. Actually there is never any need for apologizing for any of your comments. You need not worry people will misunderstan your posts, since everyone already ignors the nonsense you post, technology issuses or not, no need to worry ... Noboy cares about what you say, which rarely even purports to convey information rather than just finding faut in anyone who posts about a issue you don't understand.
Lynn Russell February 23, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Really? I'll have to take that under advisement. Strange that the successful conclusion to the unwanted proposed design on Norton resulted from as I understand, the first appeal actually granted by Council on a development. Either it was a complete fluke or perhaps you might think I paid off the city somehow. Thank you for your attention to the facts and the details. You may also consider entertaining yourself with a viewing of the 2/21/12 meeting. In the past you have accused me of annoying the councilmembers to death but here we go...another fluke?
MarkD February 23, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Who are you really, Wendy? For all your railing against public assistance, I suspect very strongly that you draw money on the 3rd of every month from the federal government, don't you? Basically, you're opposed to anyone who takes any interest in what's happening in the neighborhood around them. You complain about anyone who wants to invest in his neighborhood. Tell us Wendy, how much money do YOU have invested in property in West Hollywood? What do you believe gives YOU the right to lecture from on high to the rest of us?
MarkD February 23, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Not long after I moved to Los Angeles, the Times ran a fantastic essay on how San Francisco was no longer a city, but just a museum to what a city was in the 1940s. Subsequently, of course, whole neighborhoods in San Francisco have been transformed -- some for the better, often over objections of residents. I wonder at what point does West Hollywood risk doing the same thing? I love old buildings and understand historic preservation. But I also understand that if something hadn't been cleared away first, there never would have been space to build something like the Riviera. How do we find that line now? How does the "Creative City" make space for interesting, innovative, forward-looking architecture? Particularly if we bind architects hands by forcing them to match a building next door from a completely different era? I'm not siding one way or the other here. Unlike a few others here, I don't fancy myself an expert on the issue because I hang out reading Patch stories. But I do think it is a *civil* conversation worth having and reading.
Lynn Russell February 23, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Interesting thoughts, MarkD. Perhaps a symposium hosted by the city including an array of public and private entities could be possible. Some of these issues were addressed in a design competition sponsored by Habitat For Humanity and ICA&CA addressing single and multiple family housing. One of the jurors was John Chase with whom I shared some thoughts about a similar affair focused on the issues of WH.
Lynn Russell February 23, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Many communities enjoy a heightened awareness to architectural aspects for a variety of reasons. Although there may be a wide variety of styles that folks enjoy, one can generally discern a stylish building be it humble or grand. Add to that neighborhood context which has been provided for in the code and thoughts from the community surely might raise the level of excellence.
Wendy February 23, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I do not see what is historical about 1350 N. Hayworth. At least half of the original buildings have been torn down with 1950s units. Is something built in the 50s now a Masterpiece or architecture. They were built to make maximum profit for the landlord. Its a mixed street as it is. The owner wants to get out of the landlord business. Most anyone sane would. I have no idea why he would invest and expose himself to WeHo. What did he expect? You have to be able to go in willing to file a lawsuit upfront in order to get anything accomplished around here. I do like the people who say low cost housing can be achieved in a high rent district without building more and changing the neighborhood. It has never been done yet but sounds like a good idea. Low Cost Housing in a High Rent district is sort of an oxy moron. I hate to see builders get rat packed by those who have not invested 1 cent in WeHo.
MarkD February 23, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Your baseless opinion about what is and isn't historical architecture is -- thankfully -- irrelevant. The community at large -- including the architectural community -- develops those standards. Your opinion, input and agreement are not required. And the answer is "Yes," 1950s and 1960s architecture is considered historic and worthy of protection, particularly in the LA area, as anyone who pays even the slightest bit of attention to these matters is well aware.
Chloe Ross February 23, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I said it was ugly. It is ugly in my opinion, because it seems soulless and cold. Modern architecture can be truly beautiful and inspiring and sit next to almost anything if it suits its surroundings. Has anyone driven by the orange atrocity on Formosa? I reckon in another color it would have worked. I have seen modern lofts all over the city that suit the site and the surroundings. Mr. Vanous did a mediocre job. FYI: The Riviera is a condo and as such is owned by its aggregate residents. It is not rent controlled. These people do indeed have a stake in their property values. In terms of a city setting guidelines for architecture and building specs - that has been going on since forever all over the world. Locally, South Pas has guidelines and a review board as does SB and many other small cities in CA. Carmel residents collect their mail from the Post Office - they do not receive mail at street addresses by statute. We are fortunate to have in WeHo some fine examples of architectural creativity and integrity that bear consideration and preservation.
Chloe Ross February 23, 2012 at 10:05 PM
I agree - but truly a developer who will never see the results (maybe once) will drive back to his McMansion with ugly doors and stucco siding and he will have gotten richer. It is hard to fault Mr. Vanous ifthis is what he was paid to design. If he was given a free hand, it is a whole other story.
Lynn Russell February 23, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Apparently then, this indicates that you are not a property owner in WH. I'm sure more than a few folks would be interested in knowing on what street and in what neighborhood you live so perhaps whatever put the burr under your saddle can be removed or fixed through someone's enlightened suggestion. Apparently you have access to all our addresses and financial statements so you have all the evidence that will give credibility to your statements.
joninla February 23, 2012 at 10:10 PM
MarkD - as to what is historic architecture and what is not, the most troubling problem facing the the is the "Historic Preservation Commission" like the Planning Commission, is made up of only hand picked people who have shown a history of finding buildings in the way of City projects 'not historic' and finding crappy old buildings 'historic' when they want to control/stop a project for reasons other than preservation of historic detail. Obviously (I think) to the naked eye one can easily see the historic nature of the buildings on Hayworth, and the street a a whole, as being a unique historic street worthy of preservation. My only point - I think - Is the City can not be trusted to guarantee that what most people would agree without doubt is 'historic' will be seen that way by the 'preservation commission'. (the whole plummer park disaster - like the old buildings or not, they would seem pretty old and of historic value - but the City was prepared to tear them down along with 50+ of the oldest most historic and mature trees in all of Los Angeles. I do think the opinions of the actual residents of the buildings and on the street should have more weight than the general public opinion in determining its status.
Rudolf Martin February 24, 2012 at 01:12 AM
I strongly disagree with that, joninla. you should never speak for anyone but yourself.
joninla February 24, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I would agree,but this is about a long standing personal problem with me which Lynn has expressed here on patch so many times, so in light of her history, I think my comment is more than accurate.
Wendy February 24, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Historic can be abused. You got people calling anything and everything historic who do not want change. Oh you can't touch that. I deem that historic. Now your screwed Ha Ha Ha.
Wendy February 24, 2012 at 06:20 AM
I want to see Mark D. buy something in West Hollywood. I want to see anyone who calls something historic to actually own something here. Everyone should put their money where their mouth is and then we can truly find out who is irrelevant as Mark mentions.
MarkD February 24, 2012 at 06:58 AM
Wendy, so that's you're way of answering the questions we all have for you, right? Pretty much confirms what we've all figured out. I pity you and pray for you. Yours is clearly a tortured and miserable life.
Wendy February 24, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Don't pity me Mark and do not pray. Pray for yourself first. Do not make assumptions about my life. I might be doing better than you are. I am laughing right now. You know what they say about people who make assumptions right? Those who make assumptions make an Ass of U and Me. You got me laughing anyway. There were no questions for me btw and who is we? Do you speak for all of the patch posters we? Or do you just use we to make it sound better. Anyway I don't care. I wish you would go pick somebody else. How about a mutual agreement to ignore each other. What can I do to shake you off that does not impact my free speech. Funny how so many on the patch don't realize that even the most offensive speech to the ears is covered by the first. One person's honest gripe is another persons hate speech.
Lynn Russell February 24, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Joninla it appears that on several occasions you mentioned a personal issue. After many disconnected comments about a variety of subjects it occurred to several if us that if you meant well that was greT in spite of the garble. A few asked that you contact them independently rather than kn Patch. No response. You then proceeded to take shots at people regardless of the issue, confuse the issues and pretty much tell us what we ought to be thinking and doing. I don't think many took to that approach. I tried humor on a few occasions and then a bit of rediculoisity but still got shot at. So what is it . Do you want to be a part of constructive dialogue or just go haywire making absurd statements . Most folks I know here on Patch are pretty reasonable and accommodating and working hard on a number of community issues because it is the right thing to do . They are not looking for awards or recognition. We would love you to join us in some meaningful way and cut out the nonsense .....although I can only speak for myself .
Dusty February 24, 2012 at 09:25 AM
Great conversation points! I own and live in a spanish revival rental property in the neighborhood and I really appreciate everyones participation in the preservation of our neighborhoods charm, history and character. The three points that brought me here in the first place... it's just fantastic! While I obviously love the idea of a crisp new condo building complete with lush yet well-groomed landscaping in our neighborhood. I 100% agree that it needs to be a building designed to fit into the streetscape. With that being said, a modern building that plays off the lines of the riviera, painted in a simple shade of sand, with a few romantic touches from the spanish revival buildings on the street would really be the ideal choice... from my point of view. But we all have a perspective... and an opinion.
Steve Ward February 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM
@Wendy: I am with MarkD. There. It's now we.
Riley February 24, 2012 at 11:54 PM
To Dusty -- Holy Cow! Where did you come from? You have made excellent and relevant comments! Something that has been lacking lately here on the patch. Some of the junior high school name calling going on is making a joke out of the Patch. Thank you for contributing intelligent, coherent and educated remarks. It is refreshing.
MarkD February 27, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Wendy -- You do nothing BUT make assumptions about other people, their motives, their financial resources, their ethnicities... One must resort to childish responses to you because, apparently, it's all you understand. So whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. You are a sad, pitiable human being. I pity you and pray for you. But I also refuse to let your mad ravings go unchallenged.
Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move February 27, 2012 at 02:41 AM
As always Chloe, your comments are well thought out and informed. Thank you for adding to the sensibility of this ongoing dialog rather than the name calling and other distractions from this very valid and important issue.
Chloe Ross February 27, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Tracey - thank you. My memorial will read - "Damn she was pragmatic and spoke her mind." Works for me. I appreciate your comment. Very much.
joninla February 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM
The Planning Commission seems to understand there is a problem with designs that are made after a series of revisions. I think the problem the Planning Commissioner referenced in the clip has a lot to do with the order of the process. If there were a new design based on the same size, units, parking spaces, but with no per-determent plan for the style of the building, before the next revision of the current unacceptable design, then it seems the Commission would have an alternative other than to eventually approved the same design with who know how many more revisions.

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