WeHo passes ordinance to kickstart stalled projects

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West Hollywood City Council held a public hearing Monday night to address the stalled development projects that have plagued neighborhoods across the city, adjusting city laws in hopes of expediting their completion. 

The ordinance they passed is aimed particularly at the Melrose Triangle and Arts Club projects, which were once poised to invigorate West Hollywood’s urban landscape and economic vitality but now face uncertainty and potential stagnation. The pending expiration of their entitlements added urgency to the situation.

Council approved a six-month extension on those entitlements in order for the city to negotiate new development agreements that establish clear terms for project implementation, ensuring timely construction and preventing the sites from remaining vacant. The agreements will include penalties for non-compliance, and set other essential terms, and they will maintain the City’s discretion throughout the negotiation process, which will undergo future land use hearings by the Planning Commission and City Council. While initially focusing on the two projects with submitted applications, the ordinance is structured to stay effective through the end of the calendar year, allowing other projects to opt for this route if necessary.

The councilmembers expressed a strong desire to ensure that these agreements are not only thorough but also enforceable, featuring specific milestones and financial penalties for any delays or non-compliance — but they were concerned that the language in the ordinance didn’t go far enough.

“I think that if there’s going to be a development agreement, there should be money up front. I mean, there should just be money up front,” Councilmember Lauren Meister said. “Show us the money because if you don’t have the financing, if you don’t have enough money to put towards the development agreement, then I don’t trust that you’re going to have the money afterward.”

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Representatives of the various development projects that will be affected by the ordinance came out to speak during public comment.

Oliver Gabay spoke on behalf of Systems LP regarding the Melrose Triangle project, expressing concerns about a revision that prevents them from pulling a permit while negotiating a development agreement. Gabay emphasized the importance of starting construction timely to prevent the project site from remaining vacant. He suggested a compromise where permits for subterranean construction could be granted first, allowing at least part of the work to begin.

DJ Moore, representing 8920 Sunset Boulevard LLC, spoke in support of a staff recommendation regarding their development project, which includes a DA application filed in November 2023. The project at 8920 Sunset Boulevard, the former Arts Club project, aims to construct a nine-story commercial building featuring a private membership club, creative office spaces, retail, and dining options, offering significant public benefits like arts funding and spaces for public art and music rehearsal. 

City attorney Lauren Langer and city staff expanded the language to meet the councilmembers’ requests.

“The ultimate goal I have is making sure that things are on track, that we’re not losing the investment that we have made in this community, and that we are getting these projects over the finish line fast,” Vice Mayor Chelsea Lee Byers said. “And that the community is getting the best out of that.”

“I moved into West Hollywood West in 1998 and started going to meetings about the Melrose Triangle in 2000, and the only thing that’s held up that project is the developer,” Meister said. “And the next time anyone blames the residents for that kind of thing, they’re going to have to talk to me about it.”

 

 

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Mick in Weho
Mick in Weho
14 days ago

Does anyone know the current status of the Robertson Lane project? What new lame excuse do they have this time for not proceeding? All of this is getting old. Stop doing business with these shady developers. Enough is enough.

Larry Block
14 days ago
Reply to  Mick in Weho

Im hearing that they may break ground soon.

Mick in Weho
Mick in Weho
14 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Thanks Larry.

It would help if the city did a better job sharing more frequent updates with the community. They could stand up a public facing webpage of all the stalled projects. Include a project timeline, current status, any reasons for delay, and target date for next status update for every project, as part of the development renogtiations with the developers. The public shouldn’t have to stare at abandoned lots for years without clear transpaceny as to why progress hasn’t been made. This includes city owned properties, purchased with taxpayer funds.

Larry Block
14 days ago
Reply to  Mick in Weho

I think there will be news forthcoming. The City Manager holds a quarterly business meeting where staff reviews projects ahead and status. The info from last weeks Q2 meeting seemed to indicate some movement on that property, which staff also clarified that Faring is still entitled to another extension, – but it appears that the ducks are being lined up to get this project moving.

Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino
22 days ago

And WHAT is going on with the gapping hole on Sunset & Cresent Heights?

David Reid
David Reid
1 month ago

So the rumor this was going to be flooded and turned into Lake West Hollywood is bogus? 🙂
[April 1st looms large]

JF1
JF1
1 month ago

ANYTHING to get these projects built will be welcomed.

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