West Hollywood currently has six development projects in the pipeline — one being the notorious eight-story tower coming to Huntley Drive — that will be allowed to deviate from standard city zoning regulations and height boundaries via the “Builder’s Remedy,” a part of state law meant to create more housing.
When WeHo delayed the adoption of the state’s Housing Element in 2021, it opened the door for developers to circumvent local zoning requirements. According to state law, if a locality has a noncompliant Housing Element, developers have free rein as long as at least 1/5th of the proposed units are held for low-income residents.
“While we are out of compliance, developers are allowed to submit plans that do not have to comply with our zoning code,” Mayor-elect John M. Erickson said at a recent City Council meeting. “The developer only has to comply with the building code. That’s why we have these proposals that seem so out of line with what the zoning ordinance permits.”
An application first filed on June 5, 2023, to construct an eight-story multi-family building at 1051 Edinburgh with 35 residential units is now complete, having held a neighborhood meeting last month. This building would replace a small one-story home zoned R3B located south of the parking lot of Laurel Veterinary Hospital on Santa Monica Boulevard. R3B is a residential zone that can include group homes with up to six residents and staff.
Four other projects have been submitted, but these applications have been deemed incomplete and they remain in the review process.
A 26-story mixed-use building with 160 residential units, 20 hotel rooms and 15,000 square feet of commercial space is planned for 9016 Santa Monica sandwiched on a triangular lot between the West Hollywood Animal Hospital on La Peer Avenue and a commercial building on Almont Avenue. The zone is CC2, which allows variety of commercial uses.
A seven-story multi-family building with 30 residential units is planned for 833 Westbourne Drive. It will replace a small single-story home south of Santa Monica Boulevard on a lot zoned R3A, which allows for single-family, two-family, multi-family, ADU, and commercial uses. R3A zoning also allows for a 1,210 square foot lot area and 25 feet tall, two-story buildings.
A six-story mixed-use building with 30 residential units and 2,743 square feet of commercial space is planned for 8817 Ashcroft Drive, replacing a small single-story home in the middle of the West Hollywood West neighborhood. The lot is zoned R1B, which permits single-family homes.
A 12-story mixed-use building with 130 residential units and 13,349 square feet of commercial space is planned for 8816 Beverly Blvd., replacing the Poliform store across the street from the new Ulla Johnson flagship. It is zoned CC2.
Last year, the city of Santa Monica, also out of compliance with the Housing Element, saw a surge in wildly tall projects submitted for review. Developers ultimately bargained with the city to scale down their designs in exchange for fast-tracked approval.