Chatsworth Motivational Speaker Opposes San Vicente Inn Redevelopment

A plan to renovate the San Vicente Inn, once a center of prostitution and drug use, into an upscale urban inn is being opposed by a company headed by a man from Chatsworth who describes himself as “the instant celebrity maker” and a motivational speaker.

Neighborhood Planning Resources
Mitch Carson

Mitch Carson‘s Neighborhood Planning Support Inc. will ask the City Council tonight to reject a recommendation by the Planning Commission to approve the project. The inn was purchased in 2013 by Jeff Klein, owner of the Sunset Tower hotel. Klein is proposing to convert the existing 29-unit motel into an “urban inn” with a total of 32 rooms and a restaurant and off-site parking while preserving the historic character of the existing buildings. The inn’s three buildings on the west side of San Vicente Boulevard north of Santa Monica  and the stand-alone Victorian structure on a lot across the street have been designated local cultural historical resources as part of the Old Sherman Thematic Group. That group takes its name from the period in the late 1800s and early 1900s when Moses Sherman, a railroad developer, created the community of Sherman where West Hollywood now lies.

In a petition to the City Council, Carson claims the project is “out of character” with the residential neighborhood, will not have sufficient parking and will have a negative impact on the environment because of the noise caused by construction, the possibility that a new building proposed for the site will cast unwanted shadows on neighboring buildings and that there may be dangerous emissions from trucks removing dirt from the site during construction. Those assertions are challenged by the city’s Community Development Department, which notes that an outside consultant was hired to evaluate the possible impact on the environment of the project.

In its petition to overturn the Planning Commission decision, Neighborhood Planning Support says it represents local residents but does not identify them. In community meetings and hearings before the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and Planning Commission the project has garnered overwhelming support from its neighbors. At the Historic Planning Commission meeting in October about 40 local residents turned out to praise the proposed redevelopment. At that meeting, Lt. Dave Smith of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station noted that Klein’s ownership of the San Vicente Inn already has resulted in a 75 percent drop in calls to the Sheriff’s Station about illegal activities there. Jen Dunbar of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance, which keeps an eye on proposed renovations to historic buildings such as those of the San Vicente Inn, also spoke in favor of the project.

Carson has been involved in similar and unsuccessful challenges to developments in Southern California. Working through a company called Good Local Planning Inc. Carson sued the city of Rolling Hills Estates in 2011 to overturn its approval of a plan to convert the Chandler Ranch rock quarry into a golf course and 114 luxury homes. His attorney in that matter declined to name the residents that Carson alleged were opposed to the project. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2013.

In an interview in 2011 with the Daily Breeze newspaper, Carson said Good Local Planning tracks development projects in Southern California. “We are an organization that likes to make sure developers don’t run wild,” he said Carson.

Last October the South Valley Area Planning Commission denied Neighborhood Planning Support’s petition to deny a developer permission to build an apartment building and eventually an office building on a occupied by a vacant 124,000-square-foot office building that the Daily News sold to Hearst Communications in 2007.

In its petition to the West Hollywood City Council, Neighborhood Planning Support gives as Carson’s phone number a phone number that is that of Ed McCabe, who has been involved with Good Local Planning Inc. McCabe has not responded to calls from WEHOville about the project.

The City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m.  at the Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica.

  1. I’ve lived in West Hollywood for 20 years and have never seen neighborhood support for a project like this one. The community is overwhelmingly in support of Mr. Klein’s efforts for the San Vicente Inn and it’s obvious that Mr. Carson is a front for someone that stands to lose something if the San Vicente in goes forward…like, perhaps, the owners of KLEAN (which sits on the property now owned by Mr. Klein) the drug rehab center that will lose it’s lease in the coming years.

  2. They could use Mr. Carson’s services over on the east side of town, but he should not waste his time and money on projects that everyone supports.

    He could start by opposing 6 stories on Orange Grove and SM Blvd.!

  3. Lol Banish this troll?^^ come on.
    Though I do agree it is a beneficial project
    Sick of all this nasty name calling and sleaziness of the campaign and over disagreements.

  4. It sounds like Mr. Carson is working at perfecting his trolling routine rather than being a motivational speaker. The San Vicente Inn project has very strong support of the neighbors as well as the historic preservation community. It’s probably the best adaptive reuse coupled with historic preservation that has come around in many years and is the model for this kind of development. It will be the only “urban inn” in West Hollywood and provide a unique boutique/spa/resort experience.for patrons and an upscale restaurant and bar open to the public. It’s also pretty low density given the gigantic projects going up all over the city. The Old Sherman Bungalows that are the cornerstones of this project will be proud historical architectural markers for West Hollywood. Let’s banish this troll who does’t seem to have any ties to our community.

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