As Bottega Louie gets closer to completion, some changes in the rear of the bar and restaurant facing West Hollywood Park are worrying nearby residents.
Richard Giesbret appeared before the city Planning Commission last night to call out changes negotiated with WHWRA for the original concept for the space at 8936 Santa Monica Blvd., which was for a bar and restaurant called Cooley’s.
Giesbret said a major change was elimination of a 16-foot glass wall that was intended to shield West Hollywood Park from possible noise from Cooley’s planned outdoor dining area and bar. He noted that the city’s Community Development Department approved the elimination of the 16-foot high wall without holding a public hearing before the Community Development director.
“In 2013 WHWRA came to an agreement with Cooleys to erect the 16-foot glass wall to capture noise from the terrace,” Giesbret told the Commission. “It’s a critical condition and it was eliminated by Community Development without a director’s hearing. The owner simply asked, and it was approved. This sets a precedent for the 30 to 40 other commercial properties on the park. So what happened to process in this situation? Where is the transparency, where is bureaucratic integrity?
“Only after the permit was issued was the truth revealed,” Giesbret said. “Is that how community development is supposed to operate? … Are you satisfied that the decisions you are making up there are executed properly? I truly wonder. I don’t like being lied to either.”
John Keho, the city’s interim director for Planning & Development Services, said the plan for Bottega Louie included removal of the bar proposed for the rear patio at Cooleys and converting a portion of the patio to an inside space. He said that an earlier plan to have a large, glass door that slides upward between the interior of the bar and restaurant and the rear patio has been changed. It is being replaced with a glass wall with glass doors, which is likely to mean less noise outside.
Keho said he would report to the Planning Commission at a later meeting with a copy of the staff report about the revised project.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story stated that the West Hollywood West Residents Association had raised concerns about possible noise from Bottega Louie affecting neighbors. While Richard Giesbret, then the president of WHWRA raised that issue, the WHWRA did not take a position on it. The story has been updated to note that.