A petition by a notorious West Hollywood landlord to have her Norton Avenue property declared culturally significant is coming back before the WeHo Historic Preservation Commission tonight.
The landlord, Cheri Woods, is owner of 8214-8218 Norton, an apartment building that she says is culturally significant because it once was the home of Jim Morrison of The Doors and his girlfriend, Pamela Curson, from the summer of 1969 to March 1971. In 1971 they went to Paris, where Morrison died of what is widely believed to have been a drug overdose. He was 27.
Woods purchased the building in 2003. Previously she lived in Studio City, where she was known as the madam of Cheri’s Angels, a ring of prostitutes that she operated from her home. A 2004 story in the Los Angeles Times noted that Woods claimed to have managed 185 prostitutes serving 2,000 clients. Woods also is the author of “Death Row Madam: Exposing Sex and Drugs in the Entertainment Industry,” a book in which she claims to “finally break the madam’s code of silence, as you discover the shocking, kinky stories of the sex lives of the rich and famous.”
Woods currently is subject of a lawsuit filed in May by the City of West Hollywood accusing her of harassing three of the Norton Avenue building’s tenants and illegally inflating the rent of one of them. She evicted the building’s tenants in April. That suit is scheduled for a hearing in L.A. Superior Court on Nov. 1. Woods also has illegally rented out vacant apartments in the building to tourists through Airbnb.
If Woods gets the cultural designation, she intends to convert it into a bed and breakfast. With the cultural designation, the building would qualify under state law for up to a 50% reduction in property taxes in exchange for its rehabilitation, preservation and long-term maintenance.
The Norton Avenue building, which Woods has dubbed Cheri Amour, encompasses 7,329 square feet and contains five apartments. If she is able to convert the building to a bed and breakfast, Woods would rent out four of the apartments and keep one for herself. Bed and breakfasts are permitted in buildings designated as cultural resources in the city’s R3 and R4 residential zones.
Woods first filed a request for cultural designation in 2014 and got the support of the city’s Community Development Department. But in 2015, Community Development changed its mind, with the staff noting that alterations to the building by the owner have impacted the character-defining features and impaired the building to the degree that the aesthetic, architectural, and historic integrity of the cultural resource no longer maintain the level of integrity previously found to be significant by HPC.” However, the agenda for tonight’s meeting notes that the commission cannot require reconstruction of the building’s Spanish tile staircase and balcony as a condition of receiving the cultural designation.
The Historic Preservation Commission meets at 7 p.m. tonight in Rooms 5 and 6 of Plummer Park Community Center, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. at Martel.