WeHo Design Review Committee Will Consider Revised 826 N. Kings Rd. Project

A rendering of the revised 826 N. Kings Rd. project
A rendering of the revised 826 N. Kings Rd. project

The developer of the controversial condo project at 826 N. Kings Rd. has reduced its height by one story and eliminated housing units for low- and moderate-income people, addressing several concerns raised by homeowners in the area who have objected to the building.

The revised design, which will be a four-story building with 25 units, will be examined by the city’s Design Review Subcommittee at its meeting on Thursday before being sent to the Planning Commission. Among the other changes is locating the balconies of the building units on its south side to avoid possibly intruding on the privacy of the condo owners in the building just north of the project.

In a memo to the subcommittee, Stephanie Reich, the city’s urban designer, recommends some additional study of the building’s north elevation. “Otherwise, the design is exemplary, representing a fine example of high quality multi-family residential design on an infill site.”

The 826 N. Kings Rd. project is being developed by Demetri Damos, won the approval of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and Planning Commission in 2014 for a five-story building with 34 units on a half-acre lot occupied by one single-family house. Five of those units were to be made available for low- or moderate-income individuals or families.

However a group of local homeowners organized as United Neighbors for Responsible Development (UNRED) appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the City Council. That appeal was heard just before the June 2 special election to fill a seat on the City Council. It became a major political issue that showed a divide between Council members advocating for more affordable housing and those opposed to new development. Rather than reaching a decision, the Council sent the matter back to the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission to consider, among other things, the building’s size. The Council also asked the Planning Commission to consider whether to permit the developer to make a donation to the city’s affordable housing trust fund rather than build the affordable housing units typically required by the city for such projects. Among UNRED’s arguments against the project was that West Hollywood does not need more housing for low- and moderate-income people.

The UNRED group and the homeowners association of 848-850 Kings Plaza, a condo building to the north of the 826 building site, also have protested that the new project would cause unacceptable increases in traffic on the street, make parking even more difficult and have an negative impact on the Schindler House, the building across the street designated as an historic treasure. It also said the project would have a negative impact on the Charlie Hotel, a house once occupied by Charlie Chaplin and converted into inn that sits behind the property. However detailed studies by the city’s Department of Community Development and traffic and other consultants hired by the developer refuted those contentions.

The Design Review Subcommittee will meet at 5:30 p.m. in Room No. 5 of the Plummer Park Community Center,
7377 Santa Monica Blvd. at Martel.


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Man of Reason
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Man of Reason

@Dixie McKie. Actually UNRED did say West Hollywood doesn’t need more low income housing. This was in a story on April 23 on wehovlle: Perhaps more controversially, it is arguing that West Hollywood does not need more housing for low income people, saying that it has “far exceeded the construction of 77 units of affordable housing required by the State Regional Housing Needs Allocation Plan.” Now, it says, developers should “turn their attention to the remaining ‘great unmet need’ (for affordable housing) of the rest of Los Angeles County.” NIMBY anyone?

Jimmy Palmieri
Guest

NIMBY AT ITS WORST. I live on Kings Road. The people involved in this are so aggressive that I finally had to tell the woman who was yammering about water shortage(by the way that same week, her landscaper was water hosing her entire building including garage and stairs and sides of building) that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as am I. I then had to hear how she is a social worker etc. as if that matters. The fact of the matter is, we lost 5 units of affordable housing, and so many of the people I have… Read more »

Dixie McKie
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Dixie McKie

I don’t believe the UNRED people are NIMBYs. They never said that there was no need for additional low/mod housing in West Hollywood. It’s just that there is no need to have the majority of them on Kings Road. As I’m sure you all know, there are 106 low/mod units just to the south of 826 N. Kings Road on the east side of the street. They are HUD units. You did know that, didn’t you? Allison? Chris?
Dixie

Chris Sanger
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Chris Sanger

Aaron – again the cognitive dissonance among opponents to current WeHo shines through. It’s a tragedy that people are being forced out! It’s horrible new buildings have space for lower income people! The people being served by this are mainly long time, older WeHo residents now being forced out. Yes, each building has only a few at a time. But it’s a good step. And the NIMBYites keep up coming in with new excuses why it doesn’t matter. The main one for most of them is they think it reduces their precious property values.

Mike Dolan
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Mike Dolan

Following are the income ranges that are allowed to qualify for the City’s Moderate Income Waitlist. Household of 1 Person Between $46,155 and $57,693 Household of 2 People Between $49,848 and $62,308 Household of 3 People Between $53,540 and $66,924 Household of 4 People Between $57,232 and $71,539 Household of 5 People Between $60,925 and $76,155 The maximum allowable rents for the moderate income units are: Studio $835 1 Bedroom $956 2 Bedrooms $1,261 Following are the maximum income levels that are allowed to qualify for the City’s Low Income Waitlist. Household of 1 Person Maximum Income $46,154 Household of… Read more »

Aaron Bauder
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Aaron Bauder

All this argument about “affordable housing” that doesn’t really exist: the “low income” cutoff in WeHo is $46,000 to qualify for the program, and the moderate-income cutoff is $57,000. Only in WeHo does that make someone “low income” and in need of special housing units. WeHo does not have a real affordable housing plan: people who are *actually* low income can’t afford to live in WeHo anymore. The young struggling gays who used to call WeHo home have aged into rich old men who’ve shut the door of opportunity behind them. All this”low income” talk is just window dressing so… Read more »

Mark Hughes
Guest

The shame of those who knee-jerk oppose development and housing expansion knows no bounds. The truth is that the “Not In My Back Yard” brigade — and their enablers in the form of D’Amico and Meister — oppose allowing more minorities and lower-income people to live in our city, no matter how much they deny that racism and anti-working class/poor sentiment is at the heart of their aggressive push to maintain the equivalent of a gated community in our city. This has been happening for years, not just in WeHo but across the nation in a consistent pattern of obstructionism,… Read more »

Karen O'Keefe
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Karen O'Keefe

This is shocking.

While residents in our region live in overcrowded squalor, while 44,000 in our county — many of them children — are homeless, people are opposing housing large enough to include more affordable housing?!

At the June election, it became extremely clear that the majority supports affordable housing.

The loudest voices are not the majority. They’re just the loudest.

Chris Sanger
Guest
Chris Sanger

Dylan – don’t assume you know the level of my awareness of details. And in reality, lots of progressives/liberals turn NIMBY and against progressive principles when it affects their neighborhoods. From what I’ve seen from the reaction, a sizable part of it (NOT all) comes from people who think Kings Road shouldn’t have low to mid income housing. It was a big part of the City Council public comments.

I stand by my point. Though not all opponents had this as the reason, enough did to change perhaps the best part of the product.

Your issue is with your allies, not me.

Mike Dolan
Guest
Mike Dolan

The Planning Commission should hesitate to reject this project. Tell the developer to redesign with inclusionary housing. A new design, perhaps with the restored floor to allow for inclusionary housing. This plan is pandering to the elitists, gated community mentality of the opponents to this project. Even still, I don’t think the opponents will be happy. Planning Commission I respectfully ask you to reject and send back to the drawing table.

Jeffrey Biel
Guest
Jeffrey Biel

The idea of too many low and moderate income units in the city is ridiculous. I have been on the moderate income list for 15 years. They must all go to friends and relatives of city hall!

dylantreivushDylan
Guest

Chris, Your angry rant has no business being up online anywhere. It is obvious from your statement that you are ill informed about the communities initial disapproval of the 826 N Kings Road project. If you followed the appeal that the community brought forward it has nothing to do with being apposed to something being built in their back yard. They never said do not build anything, they simply want something reasonable which Mr. Darmos is working very hard on creating. This project does not affect low income housing as you think it does. Many of the members of UNRED… Read more »