The South Carthay Neighborhood Association (“SCNA”) provisionally opposes the project pending the applicant's responses to requests for additional information and a physical inspection of the property to clear up ambiguities in the applicant's proposal. Prior to any decision on this zoning request, the applicant should be required to provide adequate information on the scope and details of the project and brings the current operations into conformity with City codes and law. It would be helpful if PICO NC would arrange with the owner an on-site visitation and explanation for interested parties. Once all stakeholders are well informed, it is likely that the PICO NC, SCNA and others will be able to collaborate with the applicant to ensure a development that both works for the applicant and is an asset to Pico Blvd and the surrounding residential neighborhoods.
The SCNA is a highly interested stakeholder, since it is located directly north of the applicant's property. The SCNA has been active in promoting the well being of its neighborhood since 1980. SCNA’s hundreds of members include the owners and residents in the area bounded by Olympic Blvd. to the north, Pico Blvd. to the south, La Cienega to the West, and Crescent Heights to the East. In 1984, South Carthay became Los Angeles’ second Historical Preservation Overlay Zone (“HPOZ”). The SCNA has hundreds of members and approximately 750 residents. The SCNA's primary concerns are detailed below.
First, the new development and proposal is substandard, confusing and ambiguous. For example, the proposed hotel usage shows 31 rooms, but the locations for the sinks, showers, and baths are unclear. Further, there are serious fire safety and health concerns. For example, there are inadequate exits from the west side of the building for the hotel patrons. In addition, there does not appear to be enough parking for the offices, hotel patrons, visitors or vendors. Simply put, the drawings do not delineate: (i) what business is where, i.e. where are the "offices" versus the hotel rooms; (ii) the location of the sinks showers and baths; and (iii) the proposed facade is incomplete. There is no information on the materials to be used, signage, coloring, etc. Thus, the SCNA requests that the applicant provide: (i) an updated drawing; and (ii) a walk through tour of the facility for all interested parties.
Second, there appear to be a number of current business operations lacking proper permits and licenses, including but not limited to: (i) a residential hotel/hostel with inadequate facilities and apparently restricted access to the public; (ii) space rented for outdoor parties and events, including the serving of liquor and excessive night time noise; (iii) an unlicensed marijuana dispensary; and (iv) an apparently unlicensed massage business operating in the area set aside for offices.
Third, there appears to be no on-site parking. Patrons already regularly use the residential streets in our neighborhood for parking, specifically the 1200 blocks of La Jolla Ave., Orlando Ave., and Alfred St. The CPU permit application/expansion plans indicate eleven (11) new parking spaces situated in the area now used for events. The area has paver/tile flooring, a permanent canopy, tables, chairs, plants etc. It seems highly unlikely that the area would really be used for parking after any City sign off. Further, the SCNA is concerned that the proposed eleven (11) spaces are inadequate and conditions must be imposed guaranteeing that parking permanently exists and is used for parking. The parking spaces should be permanently dedicated to parking only. Finally, the small driveway apron across the sidewalk does not seem able to handle safe ingress and egress on Pico Blvd, so it may represent a safety hazard.
Fourth, while the SCNA appreciates the fact that the unpermitted "billboard" on the property has been removed, the cited and unpermitted canopy remains outstanding for unknown reasons.
Finally, the subject property does not appear well maintained. The sidewalks do not look as if they have been cleaned. Weeds are not removed. The general appearance is poor. Thus, the SCNA has little confidence that any representations regarding improving the exterior appearance of the property will be honored without specific conditions built into any CPU.