WeHo Historic Preservation Commission Considers Requests about Fickett Building, Jim Morrison Home and Irv’s Burgers

West Hollywood’s Historic Preservation Commission will be asked Tuesday to allow the owner of the apartment building at 8214-8218 W. Norton Ave. between Fountain and Santa Monica to convert it to a bed and breakfast inn.

8214 W. Norton Ave.
8214 W. Norton Ave.

Cheri Woods, the building’s owner, had applied this spring to have the building designated an historic resource, citing the fact that Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, and his girlfriend, Pamela Curson, lived in the building from the summer of 1969 to March 1971. Under the city’s zoning regulations, such an historic designation would allow Woods to convert the five-unit apartment building into a four-unit bed and breakfast inn.

The Commission asked Woods to present more information about Morrison’s connection with the building. The city’s Department of Community Development, having reviewed the additional information presented by Woods, now is recommending that the Historic Preservation Commission approve Woods’ request.

Woods intends to evict two current residents if her request to convert the rent-controlled building to a bed and breakfast is approved. One of the tenants, who is disabled, pays rent of $700.74 a month. The other pays $707.23 a month. Wood is working with the city’s Rent Stabilization and Housing Division to withdraw the property from the rental market.

Woods will rent out four of the apartments to tourists and keep one for herself. Bed and breakfasts are permitted in buildings designated as cultural resources in the city’s R3 and R4 residential zones.

The Commission also will consider a recommendation by the Community Development Department that it approve a petition by the owner of the Fountain Lanai building to reduce his property taxes for ten years while he renovates that building, which has been designated historically significant.

That building, at 1285 Sweetzer Ave., was designed by Edward Fickett. Fickett, who died in 1999, designed more than 60,000 houses in a style that came to be known as California Modernism. The Fountain Lanai is one of only five of the 37 Fickett buildings still standing in West Hollywood.

According to a document presented to the Commission, the owner plans to spend $542,00 over the next ten years repairing the building’s balcony parapets, repair or replacing decks, repainting exterior walls and replacing damaged siding as well as installing new plumbing and a new electrical system. If the Commission grants his request, which is made under the provisions of a state law known as the Mills Act, he will save $275,000 in property taxes over that ten-year period.

Finally, the Commission will be asked to approve a request by Beach Nation, an outdoor restaurant on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sweetzer, to enclose a portion of the rear covered patio at an adjacent space that once housed Irv’s Burgers. The request also seeks permission to build separate dry storage structure and an outdoor dining counter integrating the burger stand with the Beach Nation restaurant. Beach Nation is also asking that a requirement to add another parking space be waived. A certificate of appropriateness is needed because the burger stand was designated as a “local cultural resource” in 2005.

In its staff report, the Community Development Department recommends that the Commission approve the project.

The Commission will meet at 7 p.m. at the Plummer Park Community Center, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. near North Fuller.

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Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
6 years ago

Here we go with “George Washington Slept Here”. Are we to have a city filled with B&B’s because someone lived there and the remainder with air B&B’s if they didn’t?

If the city did not feel that Tower Records was valid on the similar issues, the granting of hardship and relief through B&B status should not be granted. Neither site expresses any degree of architectural/historic merit but nearly the entire R&R industry passed through Tower. The owner acquired the property in 2003 and it looks as though there is a reasonable chance of keeping it up as a dutiful landlord.

Charlie
Charlie
6 years ago

i totally agree with SaveWeHo — this is a obvious attempt to evade rent control law — and absolutely the fact that a rock and roll singer lived there for 2(!) years? give me a break – not exactly history — who cares!!!!!!!!!!! This is ridiculous and I will be EXTREMELY disappointed with the planning commission if this property owner gets her way.

carter
carter
6 years ago

Bad precedent being set if this is approved. And while that building may be nice enough, it is definitely not THAT nice, warranting its salvation over the next million years.

SaveWeho
SaveWeho
6 years ago

The B&B suggestion clearly seems like a way for the owner to boot the people with rent controlled apartments. She’ll probably charge $200 a night, so yeah…she will benefit financially from this designation. But just because someone might have lived or slept in a building doesn’t make a building important. Historical Designation should be reserved for architecture that is significant for a reason. If not…then every apt building, hotel, house that anyone that became famous stepped into should also be entitled to that same designation.