The controversial 8150 Sunset Blvd. project will go before the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee on Tuesday, whose approval would bring the developers a major step closer to construction.
The project was approved by the L.A. Planning Commission in July. The developer, Townscape Partners, sought permission to triple the permissible square footage of the building in relation to the size of its lot (“floor-area ratio”). The lot is at the southwest corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights Boulevard, just outside the northern boundary of West Hollywood. Townscape has proposed five buildings with a total of 249 housing units and the rest devoted to retail and other commercial use. Townscape has offered to make 28 of the housing units available to lower-income people in exchange for permission to triple the allowed building size. The planning commission granted Townscape the extra square footage in exchange for adding ten more “workforce” housing units, which are defined as housing for families of four whose income is roughly between $56,000 and $67,000 a year.
The project has drawn opposition from nearby West Hollywood residents and objections from the City of West
Hollywood, which is concerned about its impact on traffic and public utilities.
The project is being developed by Townscape Partners, whose 8899 Beverly Blvd. project in West Hollywood also has been very contentious.
Yesterday, L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu, whose 4th District includes the 8150 Sunset site, sent a letter to Councilmember Jose Huizar asking that Townscape make significant changes. The changes outlined in Ryu’s letter are as follows:
— Given the adjacent property height limits of 45 ft. the proposed height of the tallest 234 foot tower must be reduced by 20 to 30 percent.
— Reduce the FAR, or in the alternative, decrease the density of the residential units while maintaining the increased workforce and affordable units above Density Bonus requirements.
— Provide community benefits to the adjacent community. While I believe a development agreement should have been required for this project it was not. In order for the proposed project to proceed there must be a commitment by the developers that the neighboring community will receive direct benefits
— Increase affordability overall, with additional workforce housing units. Local low-income residents, those who are building and working in this project, all must be included in the application process for these units through extensive and targeted outreach.
–The Lytton Savings Bank was evaluated as being possibly historically significant in the environmental impact report. Subsequently, the Cultural Heritage Commission unanimously recommended that the bank be deemed a historical cultural monument. I vigorously support the designation. I also suggest that the committee discuss the alternatives within the EIR that factor into preservation.
— Increase parking to restore the parking spaces to those originally proposed by the developer of 494 spaces.
— Increase pedestrian access with 15-foot sidewalk widths on Sunset Boulevard and relocating the current bus stop at the triangle to the west on the 8150 site rather than pushing it further to the east to an area without sufficient pedestrian access or safety.
“Additionally, I have strongly requested that the developer work with the appellants in a good faith effort to address their specific concerns,” Ryu said in his letter. “These appellants include longstanding community groups and our neighbor, to the west, the City of West Hollywood. They have valid concerns regarding height, sewer hookup, and traffic impacts.”
He also asked the L.A. Planning Department to change the way it applies a state law that provides a bonus in building density to developers who add affordable units. “For a few affordable housing units here and there, we are providing developers large incentives, and thus profits, by claiming that the city can not reject their specific incentive requests and that the state is at fault. This is not true,” Ryu said, noting that state law says a city should not grant concessions if “the concession or incentive is not required in order to provide for affordable housing costs.”
The Planning and Land Use Management Commission meeting will take place at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at L.A. City Hall, which is on 200 N. Spring St. The meeting will be in the Board of Public Works meeting room 350