West Hollywood’s Planning Commission unanimously approved Thursday a three-story, seven-unit condominium building at 1021 Ogden Dr., south of Santa Monica Boulevard, despite protests from neighbors who said the building was incompatible with the neighborhood.
Several residents decried what they called the “Manhattanization” of West Hollywood, saying too many large, high-density buildings are being approved in the city, especially on the city’s Eastside.
“Stop the overdevelopment of our very precious city,” said resident Dan Morin.
Commissioner John Altschul dismissed the overdevelopment argument, saying the city has lost almost 3,000 residents in the last 30 years, with the population going down from 37,000 to 34,000 according to the 2010 census.
“It is the obligation of the body politic to provide housing,” Altschul said. “Six months after it’s built, we’ll never know we were unhappy here tonight.”
The three-story modern building will a three one-bedroom units, four two-bedroom units and a partially underground parking garage. It will replace a single family home built in 1923 on a street primarily populated by one- and two-story buildings of varying architectural styles.
Several residents argued that the building was too tall and therefore incompatible with the neighborhood. Resident Lauren Meister, a former planning commissioner, said the city needs to reinstate “height averaging,” which requires that buildings be no taller than the average of the existing buildings on the street.
Commissioner Donald DeLuccio said the City Council dropped height averaging from the city’s zoning code over a decade ago and there was no way to return to it now because so many three and four-story residential buildings had been built since then.
Residents of the two-story apartment building immediately north of the property complained that the building will block both their view and the light coming into their apartments as well as invade their privacy.
DeLuccio pointed out that views are not protected in the city. Building architect Dean Larkin said he had deliberately limited the number of windows on the lower floors of the building’s north-facing side to ensure those next door neighbors could maintain some degree of privacy.