Planning Commission Endorses Rooftop Dining at Palihouse

The rooftop at Palihouse West Hollywood
The rooftop at Palihouse West Hollywood

The West Hollywood Planning Commission has endorsed, with some modifications, a proposal by Palihouse to expand its restaurant to its lobby and rooftop, where it also could serve alcohol.

At its meeting last night, commissioners disagreed with some requirements suggested by the city’s Community Development Department staff and asked that it return with a revised proposal for the Commission’s approval. Among the changes requested by the Commission were giving Palihouse permission to play amplified music on the rooftop and not requiring it to limit the rooftop furniture to standard restaurant-height chairs and tables. The Community Development staff had recommended that recorded music not be allowed so as to prevent noise that might upset the Palihouse’s residential neighbors and that the hotel not be allowed to use bar-style tables and chairs on the rooftop to reinforce the idea that the area was not to be used as a bar.

The Commission also agreed to modify a requirement that Palihouse install a seven-foot glass wall around all sides of the rooftop dining area, arguing that a wall shouldn’t be required on the south side of the roof, which faces commercial property.

The decision came in a six to one vote, with Commissioner Sheila Lightfoot voting no. Lightfoot objected to the rooftop expansion of the restaurant, citing claims by local residents that noise from Palihouse caused problems for them. The rooftop area already is open for hotel guests, but no food or alcohol is served there.

One of two neighbors who spoke against the Palihouse proposal was Susana Lagudis, who lives nearby at 1124 La Cienega. “In its eight years of operation the Palihouse has shown itself to be neither a good neighbor or member of the community… ,” Lagudis said. She said the hotel has held exercise classes on the roof with instructors using bullhorns and that sound from the restaurant in the building’s courtyard, which is in the center of the hotel and has no roof, can be heard by neighbors. Another neighbor, who identified himself as a writer, said the noise from Palihouse is so great that sometimes he has to leave his home to write.

Daniel Mick, the city’s code compliance supervisor, said the city had discovered that Palihouse had installed an unauthorized bar and bathroom on the rooftop and made the hotel remove it. Mick said that Palihouse also had been illegally using some of its 22 apartment units for short-term rentals. He said the city had forced Palihouse to stop doing that in July. Mick said the city has identified only two complaints from residents about noise from Palihouse in the last few years.

Mick also was questioned by Commission members about EP & LP, another rooftop restaurant which opened last Spring at Melrose Avenue at La Cienega, Mick said there have been a number of complaints about loud noise there. “We have effectively stopped all special events permits to get them back in line,” Mick said, referring to the once-monthly permit granted to an entertainment establishment or restaurant that allows it to stay open later that usually permitted and to allow live or amplified recorded music.

The Commission asked that the city review Palihouse’s compliance with city noise rules six months after the rooftop restaurant is opened and that the Commission review the situation after 12 months.


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JJ
Guest
JJ

I’m all in favor of rooftop restaurants and bars but one thing that the City must understand is that it doesn’t matter if one side faces commercial structures (and mistakenly think that no sound wall should be required). The Norma Triangle neighborhood (which is up hill from SM Blvd) can hear music coming from any structure that is located south of the neighborhood (and has multiple stories from which music is played). The sound travels unobstructed, up hill, into their streets. Case in point, when the Factory (Penthouse) illegally installed windows at the top of their structure, the music was… Read more »

Manny
Guest
Manny

Let’s hope the soon to open “Catch” roof top restaurant above 8715 Melrose won’t need the same Code Compliance attention that Palihouse and EP & LP has attracted.

Rudolf Martin
Guest
Rudolf Martin

Unauthorized bar and bathrooms on the rooftop, illegal short term rentals of their units, bullhorn exercise classes on the roof. What would they have to do in order to not get a permit recommendation for a rooftop bar?

Alison Laurie
Guest
Alison Laurie

Does our Planning Commission ever say no? What they don’t understand is, that in today’s world, many people don’t like confrontation or to complain. They suffer in silence. I find this in my own apartment building. Rather than tell the landlord about problems in the common area or in their apartments, they just live with it.

This is not going to be good. Palihouse has already been proven not to be a good neighbor.

Craig
Guest
Craig

Will this space be for hotel guests only or open to the public?
I agree they don’t seem to be part of the community. The main entrance has a locked door & bouncer. I’ve never felt like I could walk in for dinner or a drink which is odd for a hotel and doesn’t make for a good neighbor. Locals should be as welcomed as tourists, especially if they expect our support. They should try being inclusive and embrace Weho residents. They currently want nothing to do with us.

Next!
Guest
Next!

Although only two neighbor’s, owners of condos in an adjacent building, spoke up they are emblematic of the vast number of residents that suffer the creep if this type of encroachment. Each commissioner should be required to experience the bad behavior of the Palihouse and its guests by spending a night in the nearby building during party time. Commissioner Lightfoot stood as only one voice. Hopefully this wrongheaded decision will be appealed. Santa Monica had the good sense to reject a similar request from Palihouse. If Palihouse wanted to be the good neighbor as they envision themselves to be, how… Read more »