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.