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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Atwater gastropub gets tangled in city red tape

Earlier this year Andy Hasroun leased the storefront next to his Atwater Village wine shop with plans to transform the former H&R Block office into the Atwater Tap House, a gastropub serving craft beers and sausages. Hasroun envisioned that his new customers would be sipping beers and munching on sausages  in time for the holiday season. Instead, the space next to his 55 Degrees wine and beer shop remains unfinished as Hasroun estimates the delay is costing him $10,000 a  month in rent and lost business. What’s the hold up?  Hasroun was counting  on a new city parking credit program to provide him the necessary parking.  That parking credit program, however, has been tied up in the City Attorney’s Office despite the fact that it was approved by the City Council in February. Without those credits, the beer can’t flow the Atwater Tap House.

The parking credits were “the reason I  planned to open a business in this area,” said Hasroun.  “I should have been open in November if everything went smoothly. This is disgusting.”

The Atwater Village parking credit program, modeled on a similar program in Eagle Rock and Old Town Pasadena, is supposed to avoid the lengthy and costly delays many business owners face when they lack the off-street spaces required under existing zoning. Instead of going through the uncertainty and expense of a public hearing associated with zoning changes,  business owners can instead satisfy the city’s parking  requirements by purchasing some of the parking credits that have been assigned to a specific area, which in this case applies to properties fronting Glendale Boulevard through Atwater Village.

The Atwater parking credit program has been praised and supported by Councilman Eric Garcetti as a way of getting around “outdated city parking regulations” that had proven a barrier to news business owners in older parts of the city. Garcetti’s office blames a bottleneck at the City Attorney’s office, which must complete the detailed instructions needed to implement the Atwater parking credit program.  “We have been advocating the City Attorney to make it a priority,” said Garcetti spokeswoman Julie Wong. “They are well aware of it.”

But Garcetti’s office has been trying to get the City Attorney to act for the past few months now.  The latest word from the City Attorney is that the legal language might be ready in January, according to city officials But no one is making any promises.

Meanwhile, after meetings with staff from Garcetti’s office, Building & Safety and other departments, Hasroun received building permits to start work on the storefront. But, Hasroun said he’s in no rush to finish The Atwater Tap House because he still does not know when he will be able to buy the parking credits and open the doors.

“To be honest, I don’t know what to do anymore,” Hasroun said. “I am afraid this will never get done.”



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9 comments

  1. Will this be the type of effective leadership Garcetti will tout as he runs for mayor?

  2. SL-er, I’m not sure what more you want Garcetti to do. It’s Trutanich’s office causing the delay, and there’s not a whole lot anyone on the board can do about that.

  3. hope it works out for you, Andy. my wife and I live down the street and love your place and are sure the new place will be as great. good luck.

  4. Masteroftheobvious

    This is also why the new market Bon vivant can’t open either…such bs!!

  5. It sounds as if councilmember Garcetti’s office has made a valiant effort to sheperd this small business person across a bureaucratic logjam so that he can complete his investment and bring a new amenity and new jobs to the Atwater neighborhood.

    I say don’t give up yet on Garcetti to become like Moses and part the Red Sea of L.A. parking requirements. Give the good councilperson Garcetti a biblical inspiration.

    Take 2 months worth of income foregone through delay in opening the business. A simple basket of reeds will cradle the lucre to place upon the river with note attached – Herewith a Bequest : Garcetti for Pharoah 2012.

    you will do this as an act of faith – that miracles can happen for the earnest small business person Atwater upon city of the Angels.

    Meanwhile, delay no longer.

    Grab the bull by the hornet’s nest. Finish what needs to be finished and start grilling-up your Atwater knackers to be enjoyed next door to the wonderful 55.

    Just make sure that you are not selling any food from yonder location.

    Instead you will lease a food truck and take up 3 or 4 public parking spaces on the street out front. All food and beverage will vend from the truck. You will escape all parking, seating, ADA access, zoning, etc. requirements.

    Addendum: avoid tendency to become wrought with worry and bad dreams concerning Los Angeles City Attorney Trutanich.

    Take a look at the Trutanich Office Bldg. on Gaffey Street in San Pedro and then make a guess if all the necessary permits have been pulled for improvements made on that parcel.

    Hah!!!

    I would wager NOT EVEN A ONE!

  6. I imagine Trutanich is too busy figuring out how to shut down more dispensaries or outlaw homelessness… as soon as he takes care of that… you can expect *immediate* action on whatever this parking thing is.

  7. Lame… one size fits all parking minimums are outdated and inappropriate in a city as large and diverse as Los Angeles. And what ever happened with the mayor’s plan to simplify city hall’s Kafkaesque permitting process for small businesses?

  8. I am disgusted too. Do we really need impediments to business now?

  9. It al stems from the corrupt city attorney Carmutt Truttruncheon this guy is a real crook he needs to be put behind bars!

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