A controversial senior-living project proposed to be built behind and beside two historically designated homes on Palm Avenue comes before West Hollywood’s Planning Commission on Thursday (Nov. 19) after first being proposed four years ago.
Located at 923-931 Palm Ave., just north of Cynthia Street, the proposed project is intended as a senior congregate-care housing facility “designed to memory-care standards,” as the staff report describes it. The project will incorporate two historic bungalows already on the site.
Designed by WeHo-based architect Ed Levin, the project includes a new, four-story, 33,460-square foot, 48-room, L-shaped building at 923 Palm Ave. and extends into the backyards of the two historic properties at 927 and 931 Palm Ave. Plans call for the bungalow at 927 Palm to be used for administrative offices, while the 931 Palm bungalow would be used for residential housing for a total of 49 units on the property.
This project has proven to be one of the most controversial in recent years, largely because of the two bungalows, which the City Council designated as historic in 2013. The Council only designated the two houses, which were built in 1902 when the area was known as the village of Sherman. The yards were not designated, meaning they could be developed and that’s what the property owner, West Hollywood-based Dylan Investment Properties, is now trying to do.
Opponents say that a four-story building will overwhelm the one-story historic bungalows and therefore the setting will be destroyed. Opponents contend that to get any sense of the historic context of what the village of Sherman looked like in the early 1900s, the setting must also be preserved. Without that sense of setting, much of the historic meaning is lost.
The property owner says that the setting was long ago compromised since there are many four-story apartment/condominium buildings on Palm Avenue, including one immediately north of the site.The owner also points out the fact the City Council did not designate the yards is an indication they assumed the yards would eventually be developed.
The Planning Commission was originally scheduled to hear this project at its Oct. 15 meeting but agreed to delay the hearing for a month due to the sudden death of Duff Bennett, who spearheaded neighborhood opposition. Bennett, who lived in the small, non-historically designated house at the rear of the 931 Palm property, died just three days before that October hearing was scheduled to take place.
The Planning Commission meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting will be a teleconferencing meeting. The public can view the meeting on the WeHo TV portion of the city website (www.weho.org). Additionally, it will be broadcast on Spectrum Cable Television’s Channel 10 within West Hollywood’s borders. The meeting will also stream live on YouTube, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV and Roku by searching for “WeHo TV.”
Those who want to make a comment by telephone during the meeting are asked to email Commission Secretary David Gillig at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. Please include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling and what you wish to speak about.
Then, dial into the meeting ten minutes prior to the start. You will be placed on hold in the virtual meeting room until it is your turn to speak. The dial-in number is (669) 900-6833 and the meeting I.D. is 980 6185 7784, followed by the # symbol.