What WeHo’s new Community Development Director has accomplished so far

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WeHo’s new Community Development Director on Thursday gave the Planning Commission a thorough update on the strides the city has made under his guidance, specifically highlighting several key initiatives aimed at enhancing the city’s resilience, housing, and urban mobility.

Marking his sixth month in the role, Nick Maricich detailed the proactive steps his department has taken to address some of WeHo’s most pressing development challenges.

Maricich highlighted the outcome of a pivotal City Council meeting that saw the approval of seven key items from the Community Development Department, including the city’s ongoing efforts to enhance its resilience against natural calamities. Additionally, the director provided updates on the city’s General Plan and housing element, including the meeting of its crucial Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) goals.

The community development director also shed light on the dockless mobility program and the approval of a street design plan aimed at promoting bike and pedestrian greenways on Willoughby, Vista, Gardner and Kings. 

In legislative developments, Maricich discussed the council’s approval of amendments related to dwelling lease terms for condominiums and single-family residences, a move designed to stabilize housing tenancy amid a fluctuating real estate market. The director highlighted the introduction of an ordinance to extend the validity of planning entitlements for projects seeking development agreements with the city, ensuring that ongoing developments are not unduly hindered by external disruptions.

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“We are aware of several properties in the city, primarily on the east side, that will become eligible for these renewals and therefore allowed to proceed to completion through this process under their prior building permit,” he said. “However, the process is going to be added to the city’s building code and it will be available to any similar projects going forward in the future.”

Maricich introduced an ordinance aimed at renewing expired building permits for projects that have seen significant delays. This ordinance is expected to facilitate the completion of several key developments across the city.

“As of now, there are two projects that have filed development agreement applications that would be eligible for this process. Those include the Arts Club development and the Melrose Triangle development,” he said. “Any additional projects that would seek to utilize this ordinance would need to file for a development agreement before their entitlements expire and no later than December 31st of this year.”

Maricich also touched upon the importance of public engagement and transparency in the city’s governance process. In response to significant ordinance changes, the department decided to bring a modified ordinance back to the Planning Commission for a public hearing.

“The council voted to approve a Zone text amendment to lengthen the initial minimum dwelling lease term for individually owned condominiums and single-family residences, and they made a change to that ordinance to increase the minimum lease term to one year,” Maricich said.

“At the meeting, staff were asked about the planning commission’s prior review of this matter, which I acknowledge was prior to my arrival here in the city. We responded to staff that a range of options were considered by the commission at that time. Still, the modification that was made by the council represents a significant departure from the action that was taken by the commission. Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure maximum transparency for the public, staff will be agendizing this matter for another public hearing before the Planning Commission in their near future.”

Lastly, the Community Development Director discussed a directive from the council to amend conditional use permits for hotels, allowing them to serve non-guests.

 

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Kevin
Kevin
29 days ago

Nick has been a great, communicative and responsive addition to the city.

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
30 days ago

Excellent leader we have here. And I’m so glad we have a politician that represents me! More please. I bet he doesn’t even own one dress.

Nicholas Roybal
Nicholas Roybal
30 days ago

no comment

Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary
30 days ago

My biggest concern with Nick Maricich was recently when my neighbor showed me her email correspondence with him. It was 16 emails deep where he could not or would not even answer simple questions from her original email regarding a local business and its permits. Was this intentional or was it ineptness? Why couldn’t he just answer her simple questions from the first email with his first response back? Was he hoping she would give up or go away?

The real tire squeal.
The real tire squeal.
30 days ago
Reply to  Jerome Cleary

Jerome, you are such a conspiracy theorist. Why would you ask the President to give you a tour of the White House, that isn’t his job–It’s Megan Mullally’s job (you need to watch the first episode of the reboot).So, if you are looking to figure out about the businesses permits, you would email the planning manager and ask which planner handled the last permit, CUP, Liquor, Nosey Neighbor above Supreme, etc. Once you know that, you talk to that planner and ask all your questions. (voice of Mullally) “You see, Honey, if you want to get things done you have… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
29 days ago

Chain of command. The buck goes first to Maricich and then to David Wilson. That’s how accountable structures work.

Kevin
Kevin
29 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

No Alan, you go to the direct person responsible, not levels up to get what you need. If the proper person is non-responsive, then you go over their head. Your direct superiors must have loved you and glad you never worked for me.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
28 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

Yep, that’s what I said. Chain of command.

Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary
28 days ago

I am so confused by your odd response you are trying to say my neighbor on Holloway is wrong for emailing Nick and Nick continued endless emails back and forth and you think Nick is wrong for responding to her at all? This makes no sense what you are saying. I saw all the emails and she kept me updated on this. So you calling me a conspiracy theorist based on black and white facts? LOL! Oh, that’s right you hide behind a fake screen name!

The real tire squeal.
The real tire squeal.
1 month ago

Maricich appears to be doing a very good job. If you read the reports, you would have noticed that the focus groups, none of them conducted under Marcich or the current long-range manager, took place in the “dog days of summer” on August 25-27 of 2022, and consisted of a whole 40 people.

So, Maricich inherited this mess from his predecessors. Old data, old management with current staff being dealt the “olde maid.”

Us Eastsiders, of course, receive the Jokers.

Long Time Resident
Long Time Resident
1 month ago

All this nonsense about protected bike lanes! There aren’t enough bike riders in this city to make sense of the amount of attention the issue is getting. Give them bike lanes and create more parking problems and more traffic jams.

WestHoBornRaised
WestHoBornRaised
30 days ago

The reason that this idea is pushed is so that congestion pricing can be pushed through later on as a way to make more money for the city

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

Too bad his belief in transparency and community participation is not something shared by other members of City Staff or our City Council majority. The residents on the Eastside were pretty much blindsided by the Council’s decision last Monday to remove over half of the parking spaces on Gardner north of Lexington to make for “protected bike” lanes.
Certain Council members seem to have little regard for inclusion or public engagement except from members of their little echo chamber.

david
david
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

100% agree with your comments! The fact that staff said they never informed the community that parking spots were to be removed and yet they still said it didn’t matter was arrogant and exactly why the public finds them untrustworthy. No regards for the community needs. Also I found it amazing when City Council encouraged staff to talk directly with a developer to change city policy while council took a ten minute break. How was that allowed without anyone at the city concerned on how that would look to us? This is why nobody wants to speaker attend council meetings… Read more »

Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

The item had been to several different commission meetings. We heard it several months ago and received updates on it at subsequent meetings. The bike community showed up, few others.

“Blindsided” is a good term to use, that’s a legitimate concern for biker safety when you’re asking them to weave back and forth from shallows to bike lanes every other block.

There’s more to civic engagement than just showing up at council meetings and speaking during public comment just so you can hear yourself speak. You should consider joining a commission Steve. We’d all benefit from your experience.

Larry Block
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

Im not here to defend Steve but he has put in his public service, has served on numerous commissions, appears at more commission and board meetings than any other citizen or any ex council member and has served this city for over 40 years. Your last paragraph seems to disregard all of that lumping his voice into the many who do not participate.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

Neither is commission service the pinnacle of civic engagement.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
30 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

Unfortunately can’t take your comments too seriously after your hypocrisy over not wanting short term rentals in your building.

Carleton cro9nin
1 month ago

Busy chap. Is there a CERT element in the resiliency plan? Why not?
All the chess-like moves to accommodate scooters, bikes, vehicles and, oh yes, people are for naught until the city understands, and the county has a true, wide-reaching transit system, that cars are the real problem. Leave a note at my grave marker when that happens…

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