DEAR WEHO | How the Chevron car wash project got approved

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In case you were wondering whatever happened to the car wash project for the Chevron station at Holloway and LaCienega here is the backstory and update.

This month the city requested soil samples from the owner for this pending project.

The Backstory

Chevron owner Bijan “Ben” Poulder and attorney Stephen Allen Jamieson used a device that they hoped would not be noticed to get their approval from the Planning Commission and the City Council.

The Chevron station at 1107 North La Cienega at Holloway Drive submitted plans to demolish the existing building, remove the service/repair shop and retain the gas pumps.

During my appeal, Councilmember Lauren Meister noticed and remarked that the Chevron owner’s petition did not refer to or mention that the service station was being removed. I took a look at their submitted documents.

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The petition obtained 307 signatures to support the project. The petition uses the wording “remodel” to avoid the word “demolish” the service/repair station.

The petition had the wording “gas station” remodel even though the gas pumps/station portion are being retained “as is” with no remodel at all. By omitting “repair station” the signers of the petition believed the “repair station” was being retained with a remodel. I called a neighbor who signed this petition and they revealed that they signed it only because they thought it would be keeping the repair station not removing it. I then began making calls to many of the people who signed this petition. From these phone calls it revealed that the petition confused those who signed.

The repair shop is well known, extremely popular and in high demand in this neighborhood where the residents and visitors like the mechanics and go frequently to get repair work done.

A 6-page letter was submitted by the attorney. In the letter the attorney quoted the petition but left out the part again where the Chevron building is being demolished and not being replaced.

On pages 2 and 3 of owner’s attorney writes:

In that regard, attached please find letters and Petitions by over 300 people in Support of the addition of the car wash, the gas station and convenience market to be remodeled and for the sale of beer and wine for off-site consumption. Each state in pertinent part as follows: “I am a neighbor of the Chevron Station located at 1107 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069. I am aware and supportive of the Conditional Use Permit Application that was submitted to the City of West Hollywood …. The operators of the gas station have been a good neighbor …. I am supporting the Applicant’s application for all requests. Please issue all necessary permits and licenses for business. Thank you”

What the letter does not say as it adds just four “dot dot dot dot . . . . “is the part that would reveal the wording of the petition they got signed.

It further confuses those who signed the petition by shuffling the wording around to say “gas station” with the wording of “remodel” twice even though the repair shop/Chevron building is being demolished but they are keeping intact the gas station elements and not really remodeling this gas station part.

The City of West Hollywood’s planning department mailed out a double-sided postcard to residents within the area of the proposed development and the city used the wording “demolished the existing Chevron building” which is the wording that was used in all the documents prepared by the planning staff and presented at both hearings at the planning commission and city council.

When I called earlier this year and spoke to John Keho, the Director of the Planning Department he admitted to me that this happens frequently at the planning and city council meetings when applicants submit documents that are obviously incorrect, distort what is going to be accomplished and that there is nothing city hall can do about it.

Lastly, I wanted to include a comment made on WEHOville by local resident Carolyn Campbell when this project got approved:

Carolyn Campbell

2 years ago

That intersection already has an F rating. It’s baffling how some members of the City Council (Lauren Meister soley supported the appeal against the project) would consider that increasing traffic with the addition of three new businesses would somehow serve the betterment of the community’s environment.

The HOA Presidents of the two immediately adjacent condo complexes with over 100 residents in each, plus renters from the adjacent apartment building all vehemently objected to the project for substantive reasons, including increased noise, pollution, traffic gridlock (25-30 cars being washed per hour entering and exiting onto that intersection), plus potentially adding to the already documented deadly car and pedestrian accident rate that has occurred at Holloway and La Cienega.

As to the claim that “nearby” residents supported the project. These were people from Kings Road and farther away. Hardly the immediate neighborhood that will be negatively impacted by this poorly conceived project for this particular location.

My hearty congratulation to those residents who took personal time to take a stand for sensible urban planning. They did not have the advantage of the owner’s paid attorney, architect, developer and consultant who aggressively promoted the project to the community while withholding pertinent facts such as the elimination of the three, long-time car service bays.

I salute the community’s grassroots effort!

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About Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary was a columnist for West Hollywood Independent, blogger for AOL’s Patch for West Hollywood, published in the LA Times, The Advocate, Frontiers Magazine, formerly on the Lesbian and Gay Advisory board, was named as a Local Hero of West Hollywood in LA Weekly and is a small business owner in West Hollywood.

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Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
6 months ago

I made a very lengthy comment on this subject today on the site WEHO TIMES. I don’t have the patience to write it all over again tonight, but please, if you will, go to that site & read it because this is a disaster of infinite & irrevocable proportions. Please understand that the potential for accidents, both cars & pedestrians, at this horribly almost innavigable intersection & its crosswalks at La Cienega & Holloway, also entails the traffic that’s also backed up across the intersection of Santa Monica & La Cienega (illegally) and also includes the mess of traffic already… Read more »

Robert Zabb
Robert Zabb
7 months ago

I think your ire should be directed to the city’s traffic engineer who decided erroneously that there would be no negative impact on traffic. This highlights the pathetic pro development leanings of city hall regardless of local community voices. Weho is less a community and more a tourist destination thanks to our big spending city council.

hifi5000
hifi5000
7 months ago

I known this intersection for awhile as I used to do the the downward drive on La Cienga Blvd. off Fountain Ave on occasion.I hated the downward slope and was afraid I could not stop in an emergency. Whenever I visit,I would always try to avoid that intersection. it would be interesting to see the history of that service station and if it was there before West Hollywood was incorporated.West Hollywood inherited some zoning sins from the county when it was formed.Maybe it is time to review the zoning around that intersection to see if it is appropriate to continue… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by hifi5000
ZSZS
ZSZS
7 months ago
Reply to  hifi5000

“zoning sins” lol That’s probably more like it!

Johnny
Johnny
7 months ago

I go to this station often as it is full service. If they add a car wash the traffic and noise on that corner would be a disaster. A City Manager who is clearly incompetent and now this. Honestly people really need to hold every single committee member, council member and staff member to a much higher standard of translating. Besides Santa Palm
Is the best car wash and I hope the owners don’t ever sell that land which is worth more than the car wash but they have been great for me for over 30 years.

I Need To Know
I Need To Know
7 months ago

Jerome, I’m confused by your last paragraph & last sentence. Does this mean that the residents who “took time to take a stand” lost anyway? What was the nature of the “grassroots effort” * what did it accomplish? Why were more people not aware of this & how did the “grassroots efforts” escape them? Has this monster project been approved, if so, by what means & by whom? This insane move must not be allowed to stand. Absolutely no one I mention this to has ever heard about it & no one can believe it, at that. A car wash… Read more »

Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary
7 months ago
Reply to  I Need To Know

We had over 100 signatures against the project for my appeal before the city council and here is an article from the Beverly Press: https://beverlypress.com/2020/08/weho-chevron-to-get-car-wash-convenience-store/

Appeal Please
Appeal Please
7 months ago
Reply to  Jerome Cleary

Can this be appealed? Re-appealed? I know no one who knows anything about this disaster. It’s particularly enraging that the 3 usual suspects have done this single – or should I say triple-handedly. The damage these 3 have done to this city hasn’t anywhere near caught up with us.. yet.

Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary
7 months ago
Reply to  Appeal Please

It cannot be re-appealed but I went online to look at the staff report on my appeal and I wanted to highlight this as my Assertion #7 in my Appeal: “Planning Commissioner did not make a decision based on what was presented but announced that they wanted to see what other planning commissioners were planning on doing to see where the decision was heading. The Planning commissioner announced repeatedly that they were going to decide and chime in after they wanted to see how it was going to go.” (This actually is about John Erickson, he actually said this on… Read more »

Carolyn Campbell
Carolyn Campbell
7 months ago
Reply to  I Need To Know

From the article (see link) noted by Jerome in the Beverly Press, “In anticipation of the meeting, the council received 16 emails, 13 of which opposed the project.” We hustled and did our best to fight this, but to no avail. There are three sets of high occupation condos not 1,000 feet from the gas station. Some of the HOA Presidents attended the City Council mtg in person. Many of us signed the petition Jerome mentioned opposing the project..To add insult to injury, the issue was the last on the City Council meeting agenda. That meant, on a work night,… Read more »

George Solomon
George Solomon
6 months ago

So true, they are approving projects stating they did community outreach when in fact no immediate neighbors were ever notified, which is the case of the Wetherly Palms project, a seven story behemoth of 100 units on the tiniest of lots without sufficient parking, congesting neighbors, blocking light and air, disregarding height restrictions claiming the housing shortage. The only time neighbors heard of this project was when a planning commission meeting was announced to discuss parking for the project which brought almost 75 neighbors to protest. Neighbors have no say about preserving the original zoning for their places of residence,… Read more »

Carolyn Campbell
Carolyn Campbell
7 months ago

Thank you, Jerome, for your steadfast commitment to our community’s well being. Another lie perpetrated by the developer was their falsely claiming that adding more liquor sales to that corner was a plus since it was “difficult to access CVS.” Wha? Prominent signs point to three free parking entrances. CVS has aisles of liquor for sale Liquor is also sold at the 7-Eleven across the street from the Chevron station, and a large liquor store on Santa Monica Blvd at La Cienega. If I am not mistaken, no environmental or traffic impact studies were done especially seeing as the access… Read more »

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
7 months ago

It’s a no brainer. The owner deceived the people who signed the petition, so the entire project should be stopped. New signatures submitted with a truthful form, and on that new form should disclose the last form deceived the people who signed it. The project would likely face a delay of a year or two. There should be some punishment, some consequences for what goes on in this town, but it makes what happens to Donald Trump quite severe. As usual, your City Council is to blame.

Outraged
Outraged
7 months ago

Can you imagine how awful that whole area will be if they reduce Fountain to two lanes of constant bumper-to-bumper traffic and smog from idling cars in traffic, and then the huge increase in traffic at this intersection with the car wash?? Are people insane? If both the Fountain project and the car wash project go through, that whole area will be at a constant standstill all day long. Rise up and fight this. This is developers once again destroying the quality of life for the citizens of the city. Rise up and recall SEPTIC Shyne and the other idiot… Read more »

Melrose
Melrose
7 months ago

Who cares? Just be thankful someone is doing something.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
7 months ago
Reply to  Melrose

So you have no problem with the corruption and deception, as long as something illegal gets built. Got it.

Curtis
Curtis
7 months ago

That intersection is already a mess with the #16 & #105 Metro buses that use it

Last edited 7 months ago by Curtis
Weho resident
Weho resident
7 months ago

Covid affected many of us let’s help Jerome into 2023

Joshua88
Joshua88
7 months ago

You lost me, Mr Cleary.

Unclear at best.

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