There is likely to be a lot of excitement at tonight's Planning Commission meeting. Just about the only item on the agenda is a public hearing for the controversial West Hollywood Walgreens project.
Developer Pacific Development Partners first applied for a three-story, modernist mixed-use building to replace the forlorn stripmall at Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights in 2007.
Neighbors complained of ensuing traffic problems and uncovered issues of toxicity, which led to a city-mandated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in 2009. The result, Curbed LA reported, was a downsizing of the development from a total of 52,000 square feet to 36,000, and from 28 units to 20, with a two-unit freestanding housing structure on nearby Hayvenhurst.
The Planning Commission will hear one last time from the community at its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers (streaming live on WehoTV), then decide whether or not to certify a final EIR in order to approve the project. Those in opposition are counting on an appeal.
"If they approve this project, that's it; unless the decision is appealed," the Walgreens=Overdevelopment blog announced on Jan. 12. "Walgreens could get a green light to start demolition and start building in less than two weeks!"
The project is scheduled to begin in January 2013, at which point all commercial structures and associated surface parking lots on the almost one-acre site will be demolished, and replaced with 15,414 square feet of specialty retail stores, including Walgreens, and an 86-space subterranean garage.
The Stop Walgreens in West Hollywood Facebook page is encouraging residents—whether for or against the project—to attend the meeting.
"We encourage those who are for the Walgreens going in, as well as those against Walgreens going in on SMB and Crescent Heights, to attend and speak at the Planning Commission this Thursday. The Commission should hear all the various opinions in the community so they can make a decision that hopefully reflects what the community wants."