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Atwater parking credit program has been praised and supported by Councilman Eric Garcetti as a way of getting around “outdated city parking regulations” that had proven a barrier to news business owners in older parts of the city.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.”