The city Planning Commission this morning postponed taking a vote on a 62-unit housing project that would rise five stories above Sunset Boulevard, making it one of the tallest buildings in Echo Park. A vote was postpone for one month it became clear that the Sunset Flats development at Sunset Boulevard near Mohawk Street lack sufficient support among the five commissioners. “I have serious reservations,” said commissioner Mike Woo. “I don’t feel I can vote for it.”
Representatives for the developer of Sunset Flats, which would combine 74,000 square foot of housing and storefronts, agreed to work with residents to deal with concerns about the height, density and traffic issues related to the project. The commission is scheduled to take up the issue again on April 14
The commission was voting on a request by the developer to build a project that was bigger and more dense than currently allowed. Many neighbors were concerned about the height and size of Sunset Flats. One of the commissioners noted that a portion of Sunset Flats would appear as a nearly 60-foot-high mass on Sunset Boulevard; one resident said that one of the two buildings in the development would loom 30 feet over her backyard. In addition, the only parking garage entrance for residents who would live in the complex would be located at the top of the hillside lot on Elsinore Street, which would funnel more traffic into the residential neighborhood.
“We feel it’s going down the wrong road,” one resident told the commissioners. “It does not define Echo park in anyway. This will be the new entryway to Echo Park.”
Architect Jay Vanos said that the project, which would include 10 units set aside for low-income residents, was stepped backed from the street to reduce the impact of its height.
Commission members suggested that Vanos look at ways to step back the project even further to reduce its mass. Also, they wanted changes in the complex’s underground garages to shift more traffic to Sunset Boulevard and away from Elsinore.
Kate Henigan, planning deputy for Councilman Eric Garcetti, told the Planning Commission that the council office had been working with residents to deal with their concerns about Sunset Flats. However, she did not say whether Councilman Garcetti supports or opposes the development.
* Correction: A previous version of this story said that Sunset Flats would rank as the second tallest development in Echo Park after the Citibank building on Sunset Boulevard. That’s wrong. There are existing structures that are taller than the proposed Sunset Flats. The dome of Angelus Temple, for example, rises about 125 feet.