DEAR WEHO 📬 Bathtubs on the roof of 916 Westbourne?!

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After many years of construction, the 10 new apartments at 916 Westbourne Dr. are now for rent and the listing photos show even more surprises than we had when the building was first unveiled from the construction wrap. It appears that not only do developers NOT need to comply with the designs and plans that were approved by the Planning Commission, they can now add even more elements and still get their inspections passed and be granted their Certificate of Occupancy. For this project the changes are quite significant. The top part of the above image shows the rendering of the rooftop as approved by the Planning Commission and the bottom image is the drone’s eye view of what was built as shown on the rental listing.

  1. Notice how the approved plans showed glass railings and exposed and uncovered exterior stairwells on each end of the building. This was specified explicitly by the PC to minimize the visual impact of the building. Somehow though, this building now has 10’ concrete/stucco projections on each end covering the stairwells and significantly increasing the visual impact that PC so specifically did not approve. There are also as solid wood railings, instead of glass, further increasing the visual height.
  2. The interior stairwell projections are also significantly larger than originally approved by PC. From the looks of the metal doors on the ends, these projections were increased in size to cover the mechanicals for the HVAC units but it is hard to say. In any case, the size of these rooftop projections appear to be in the range of 30-40% larger than originally approved.
  3. NEW! There are now four bathtubs on the roof. Needless to say, there were no bathtubs (or built in grills and sinks) on the approved plans and I am very curious as to who and how the new plumbing alone was approved. Who approved the installation of individual bathtubs? Equally curious as to what the health department has to say about shared bathtubs in an apartment building public space. What are the cleaning/health requirements? It is possible that only two units will have access to each section of the roof, but those are not private spaces.
  4. Virtually none of the approved planters or plantings are on this roof. Instead, there is a lovely plastic astroturf covering. Not sure how this complies with the actual “green roof” requirements that are part of the city code but astroturf is not a reflective surface and in fact gets very hot in the sun and certainly is not living plants. It appears that developers are now allowed their own interpretation of “green roof”—on the cheap. Who approved the removal of so much of the landscaping and replacing it with astroturf?
  5. And, as previously pointed out, the breezeway, that was to cut through the building providing both airflow and a breakup of the visual mass for the neighboring building, was never constructed.

There are many more elements of this building that do not in any way comport with the plans approved by PC. Maybe that process is now optional as well.

To be clear, if the Planning Commission feels that this type of design is what the city should be building then that is what they should approve. But there is a reason that projects are required to go through a PUBLIC process with PUBLIC input. Is there any point in bothering with participating in this process if the end result is a project that only barely reflects what was presented to the community and voted upon by PC?

How many other projects are being allowed wholesale changes outside of the public process?

Who is authorizing these changes and under what authority?

Does Council approve of this process of opaque changes to publicly approved projects?

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

Lynn M. Hoopingarner

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Joshua88
Joshua88
3 months ago

It is impossible to conclude other than these are the same photographs.

HELP!

Lynn Hoopingarner
Lynn Hoopingarner
3 months ago
Reply to  Joshua88

I believe the post has been fixed with the original image.

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 month ago

Did not see that.
Thank you.

Willy Nilly
Willy Nilly
3 months ago

This seems horrifying, as if it were a rooftop storage yard for miscellaneous fixtures. How does the city explain all the points illustrated in not following the decisions agreed upon by PC. Makes a mockery of the process by allowing arbitrary execution willy nilly.

JF1
JF1
3 months ago

This is not right and must not be allowed to continue. There is a process. What good is the process if builders can build whatever the hell they want once it gets approved?

Steve S.
Steve S.
3 months ago

I live on Westbourne and in living through their multi, multi year nightmare construction project we had the pleasure of having the sidewalk frequently blocked or in a condition where passage was dangerous. Oh, and this neighborhood is zoned for 4 stories. They built six.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
3 months ago

Lynn Hoopingarner once again does a great service to the residents of West Hollywood by digging in an analyzing projects and pointing out the flaws of process that result in buildings that have multiple variances from approved designs. Hoopingarner asks questions that demand answers. Sadly, in a city that lacks accountability it is doubtful that there will be any serious response. The city council fails miserably in its basic function of oversight, and the city bureaucracy will flip its collective middle finger at resident concerns. Bravo to Lynn Hoopingarner, a community treasure who should be sitting on Planning Commission, for… Read more »

Bastian
Bastian
3 months ago

This is deeply troubling for the Wetherly Palms development which will likely get a rubber stamp at tomorrows planning commission meeting despite significant neighborhood concerns and the developer WHCHC ignored most of the planning commission’s recommendations per the staff report. I imagine the final monstrosity will be even worse than what has been proposed and likely will be approved.

:dpb
:dpb
3 months ago

Sadly, just another day in West Hollywood; home to Boss Hogg and the most corrupt city officials. Of course who would be surprised since a West Hollywood developer was on the Planning Director selection committee without ever being publicly acknowledged until the selection process was completed. That city inspectors are not adhering to approved plans and approving whatever is put in front of them as long as a cash stipend is exchanged during the process is not surprising. That good design is more than aesthetic and just as much about safety measures is obliviously not in high regard at West… Read more »

Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino
3 months ago

Basically, our approval dept at the city is a fraud and liar.

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