Friday, October 28, 2016

Silver Lake to weigh in on Sunset Junction development

The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council has scheduled a special meeting next week to take up a developer’s plans to build more than 300 apartments in a trio of buildings that promise to dramatically change the look and atmosphere of Sunset Junction.  Frost/Chaddock  earlier this year said it wants to construct the new buildings within three blocks of each other.  Two of the properties would rise across the street from each other on the site of the 4100 Bar and the site of  Santa Monica Boulevard storefronts that were demolished last summer. In addition,  the vacant Sunset Pacific Motel on Sunset Boulevard and Bates Avenue would also be demolished to make way for a new apartment building.

The neighborhood council has scheduled a meeting on Tuesday, April 24 to review and possibly take action as an environmental impact report is prepared on the trio of apartment buildings that would stand four-stories tall.  The public has until April 26 to comment on what kinds of issues that report should take into account.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. at the Silver Lake Independent  JCC, 1100 Bates Ave, which is located across the street from one of the proposed apartment buildings.  An official with the developer has agreed to attend the meeting, said Clint Lukens, co-chair of the neighborhood council.

Frost/Chaddock angered many residents  when it unexpectedly demolished  a cluster of Sunset Junction storefronts  last September. Officials from the neighborhood council and Council District 13 said they were taken by surprise when Frost/Chaddock ordered the demolition of the one-story building near the corner of Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards. The building –  which once  served as the original site to A Different Light, a gay bookstore that eventually become a nationwide chain – was considered a possible historic landmark.

According to documents filed by the Frost-Chaddock, the developer is seeking to build more apartments than are currently allowed in return for setting aside some of the units for low-income tenants. The buildings would also include space for restaurants and shops.

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  1. Cue red tape and whining NIMBYs.

  2. 300 seems like a ton of apartments for a relatively small area. They should decrease that amount significantly. The politicians hopefully are not in the developer’s pocket.

  3. For a single, well-connected developer to come in an in one fell swoop dramatically turn a neighborhood upside down, so drastically changing an area, is nothing less than criminal, no matter any laws involved. This must not be allowed. He is proposed to completely upend the environment of this neighborhood — and for the worse.

    And to in addition ask for more units than the flat out zoning would allow — this is someone completely out of touch with this area and whose attitude it that we all go to hell. I say to hell with him.

    Mind you, whatever the simple zoning might allow, that is not the full story of what is allowed and does not have to be approved. The zoning is only one factor to determine what is allowed. Among other things, the effect on the environment can limit that to less. And that goes to any number of things, not simply endangered species. The simple impact of the huge change in density and all its ramifications, such as congestion and crowding is an environmental impact. So too is the shadow presented by what certainly with be a building of 10 to 15 stories, maybe 20 stories. So too are things like storm runoff from the site, and any grading that might be needed, although as it happens, those are mostly flat properties. Even view blocked for other properties by the highrise construction is an environmental impact. Imagine the impact that dense construction would have on that stretch of Santa Monica Blvd. and Manzanita!

    This does NOT have to be approved, despite the wrongheaded attitude of our neighborhood council, which is too naive and unknowing to understand that zoning is not all there is and thinks you have to vote approval if the number of units is within the maximum the zoning in theory would allow. You do NOT have to approve.

    I also must point out, they are not offering LOW income units. For one thing, the city’s idea of “low income” unit is $1,600 a month of a mere one-bedroom apartment. That’s not my idea of low income! Still, what they are offering is market rate units.

    • As someone looking to buy a little dinky overpriced house in one of these trendy areas I am following certain city news more closely lately. Some of your arguments are very off in regards to grading and stormwater runoff, especially in the City of Los Angeles. As you can click on my name and link to my own Civil Engineering business to know that I am not blowing smoke. Most cities in LA County are becoming even more strict than is reasonable for grading and stormwater issues. So strict in fact I have been told by others that areas are starting to require storm water regulations to go back to undeveloped criteria. Either way the current standards of grading and stormwater are much better and way cleaner than what is currently happening.

      If you really have issues with projects like this, you should become more knowledgeable about the issues, and go to the city hearings while voicing your concerns. I can tell you that sometimes the people up there are engineers and will side in your favor. I witnessed a councilman at a city hearing basically go ballistic on a badly written traffic report, turns out he was a traffic engineer beforehand. Needless to say, that project didn’t get approved.

      It’s easy to rant and rave on a forum, but if people reading this section really care, go to the city hearings. It really does make a difference.

      Low income units are a joke just like what it takes to qualify for an FHA loan. These are all completely fake and the only people getting this stuff are gaming the system.

  4. Yes, the politicians are in the developer’s pocket. Did you really believe that Garcetti innocently didn’t know the developer had that demolition permit that was used over a weekend? Of course Garcetti knew of it. He’s paid $178,000 a year and extravagant perks to know of it, and has a staff to flow every little detail. It is inconceivable that they not only knew of it, but had secret alert from the developer that he was about to use it. Its just how these things get done. If I had a penny for every time a politician said he didn’t know was was right in his face I would be richer than this developer.

    Garcetti is running for mayor and is seeking money from everyone in sight, and this developer is no exception. I guarantee you, Garcetti is NOT going to stop this. If you are lucky, he might take credit for a small reduction in size, but it will still be enormous in size. Gee, just look what he is letting go in at the little intersection of Echo Park Avenue and Morton! In the end, I would venture to guess it will take a lawsuit to stop it.

  5. This is awful and should NOT happen. Why turn it into another neighbor that already exist…it’s like bringing the burbs to the city. bleh.

  6. Is Dana Hollister selling 4100 to these guys? Silver Lake is going to end up looking like West Hollywood. The Bates Motel should have been converted into a boutique hotel, not leveled and developed as apartments.

  7. 300 Apartments….so, 600 parking spaces?

    What is (was?) cool about the eastside was that it is NOT West Hollywood—traffic/congestion/parking wise.

    Allowing this project to be approved gets us much closer to the westside in that respect.

  8. I’m definitely not a NIMBY and I’m all for progress.. but 300 apartments does seem like a lot… parking will disappear.. kind of a bummer and yes, very westside.. meaning CROWDED.. but i guess thats the world right? More crowded every passing day.

    probably really good for the businesses near there though.. silver lining?

  9. The pdf linked to above mentions the parking spaces designated for each unit:

    Site 1 = 98 units, 150 parking spots
    Site 2 = 91 units, 114 parking spots
    Site 3 = 122 units, 165 parking spots

    Expect as a result a significant increase in the number of people driving up and down Sunset Blvd and the little nearby cross streets looking for street parking.

    An influx of over 600 people located within 3 blocks of each other will inevitably bring about many issues. Any and all concerned locals should attend the neighborhood council meeting on Tuesday:

    • Then they also are asking for a reduction in the required number of parking spaces, as a minimum of two spaces per unit is required. But you see, by eliminating parking spaces, they can build that many more units instead.

      I’m sure they will cite plans for a ridiculous bus depot there to justify fewer parking spaces — not that the tenants will really choose to live there simply because a bus stops there. But they will claim that no one living there will want a car because this stupid depot is there.

      Mind you, there are only three bus lines there, and a depot will only make their run take longer, is a real undesirable disadvantage to any bus rider. A depot is not for some place like this, it is for a place with a lot of bus lines all converging, like the depot outside LAX, or at the Red Line Universal City station or NoHo station. This bus depot will merely waste transit funds that could have been better spent, and at the same time will be cited to justify denser building and fewer parking spaces.

      • The problem with the current intersection is those extra long east bound buses (704) have to make an unprotected left to continue onto Santa Monica… it’s pretty hairy if you’ve ever ridden that route at rush hour. Reconfiguring the intersection with a traffic signal and bus layover / transit area will fix that problem, and lay the groundwork for future transit upgrades (perhaps rush hour bus lanes in the short term, and later on, an underground light rail line from to El Monte to Vermont / Santa Monica red line stop as mentioned in Metro’s long range plan).

        • All what you say accomplishes is to stop the Santa Monica bus at Sunset and make people change buses if they want to continue into downtown — and at a full additional fare to do so. A depot is not needed for that, they can merely change buses regardless, like they do every place else.

          But making people change buses is only going to discourage bus use and make their ride take even more time.

          Further, the depot will require EVERY bus coming down Sunset to make that very left turn you say is so bad, not simply the Santa Monica bus! Every bus coming down will have to turn left across sunset to go into the deposit and stop — whether anyone is getting on or off or not! And then pull out of the depot and cross Sunset again in order to continue down Sunset. How is this helpful? Why is this something to spend money to accomplish?

          • You don’t need to change buses there, look at a bus map… Nothing would change with a bus plaza except that the 4/704 would have a much simpler and safer turn with a traffic signal at Manzanaita (and people would have a pocket park to hang out at instead of a Jiffy Lube and some ugly unmarked asphalt. The 2/302 would just bypass the plaza entirely. Why would Metro build a bus/ped plaza to force a new transfer? That doesn’t make sense.

      • But you raise a good point, the money for the “bus depot” could just as well be spent on increasing bus frequency and adding a traffic signal at Manzanita for that sketchy left turn.

        I was looking forward to the pedestrian plaza until I saw that lame pringle sculpture that’s supposed to go in there.

  10. Everyone who cares should show up to this meeting if they can. The Department of City Planning sent a notice out to local residents about the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that states the developer only has to have one EIR done for all three properties! Why should the developer Frost/Chaddock get special treatment so they can sweep concerns under the rug? They should be fined for double crossing the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, the LA Conservancy and local residents to negotiate in faith regarding the historic buildings instead tearing them down before they could be designated as historic. Frost/Chaddock has already demonstrated they cannot be trusted. They deserve no special treatment and the city must do separate EIRs for each site. The site where the former historic building once stood is not even geologically stable for one thing. They need to be held accountable.

    • Exactly! Why should we trust a developer who demolished a entire block in a day to avoid dealing with historic preservation issues? They guys don’t give a crap about the neighborhood, they just want to squeeze every last penny out of the deal. They need to have at least 2 parking spaces per unit, less than that will have a huge negative impact on the area.

  11. How about they build these without any parking? That would calm the fears of many of you that are afraid of too many cars on the streets, and it would build up the streetlife of the junction even more.

    If I were mayor…

  12. It’s silver lake so I’m sure all the occupants will be bike riders anyway. They don’t need parking.

  13. I think if they’re going to build 4 story mixed use buildings at these intersections it would be wise to add traffic signals and marked crosswalks to Manzanita (as has been discussed) AND Bates. There’s gonna be a significant increase in traffic, and a lot of pedestrians crossing at these unmarked/unsignalized crosswalks… does the neighborhood council have any pull or leverage to convince the developer to kick in some cash for street improvements?

  14. The 200 apartment units on Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevards = Death of The Sunset Junction as we know it.

    Realistically; its about as bad as you can imagine in damaging the physical personality and atmosphere of what the general public considers the ‘Core’ of Silver Lake.

    After all what sets this neighborhood apart is that it doest look or feel like any other neighborhood. Those 200 units ARE any other neighborhood.

    RIP Sunset Junction

  15. scale the project way way way back (like by 70%), then REQUIRE them to create 3 parking spaces per unit and make the extra spaces available to local residents so that there is a net GAIN in neighborhood parking spaces.

  16. I like the Bates and 4100 building ideas, but I think the Santa Monica-Manzanita turn needs to be fixed. Why not a traffic circle? The current Bates Hotel is pathetic. As for the parking, I like the idea of spaces for locals and more bike accommodations, or an enhanced sidewalk at least. Traffic is already awful in the area, this will make it worse and force the city to come up with some good alternatives

  17. Delay, delay, delay, delay. That will be the best tactic against this plan. Have hearing after hearing, delay. Changes, considerations, studies, more changes, another hearing, delay, delay, never an end to the changes called for, and delayed votes, delay the votes endlessly, but then vote to demand another change instead. When they manage to move it to the next stop anyway, again the neighborhood must delay, delay again, delay with the hearing officers downtown, delay, demand more hearings. Then appeal, and delay.

    Then appeal to the City Council (not that Garcetti is going to help one bit, but he sure will lie to say he is), and delay, delay, delay.

    Then, if necessary, file suit — and delay. Challenge that biased and paid-for EIR –ti will be full of bull**** that very likely will fall before a court anyway.

    At some point, the delays will go so long that they will lose their financing — and the project will have to be abandoned. Not because it was denied, but because the developer drops it — because he lost his financing. Financing is only for making money; it doesn’t make any money while just sitting their waiting for the project, so the financiers will pull their money and put it elsewhere. But it will take a lot of hearings, and lot of appearances, a lot of thinking about what to demand next.

    It will not be the first project that has been defeated this way. But this is about the ONLY hope for stopping this drastic overbuilding and destruction our neighborhood.

  18. With regards to parking, the last time I checked the requirement was 1.7 spaces per unit rounded up to the nearest whole number which in this case would be 510 spaces.
    Overly restrictive zoning and NIMBYism is why we get projects like this. If residential zones were allowed to be more dense, there could be more small density projects (duplexes, quadplexes, etc). But no, everyone wants to keep there neighborhood purely SFRs. That leaves only the commercial corridors as zones that can be developed for density and thus by concentrating all the units in these small zones you get really big projects.

  19. The gentrifiers are about to be gentrified! I fucking love it!

    • That’s a cheesie statement nacho…

    • Gentrifiers generally improve and preserve neighborhoods.
      These developments destroy.

      I guess you fucking love destruction, your way of life.

    • @ IgnoramusPaz

      So……. Are you saying that you actually like 200 unit apartment complexes ?

      I don’t think people who reside in 200 unit apartments actually like 200 unit apartment complexes themselves.

  20. Bad idea for the neighborhood considering the new condos being built on Rowena & Hyperion at the old Coffee Table location and new condos on Rowena and Glendale Blvd hill top. The neighborhood is already being compromised with more traffic road closures. Talks of putting up apartments and shopping center at the Ralphs lot at Glendale and Silver Lake Blvd is wrong as well. The charm and uniqueness of the area should remain.

    • TOTALLY agree. I’m a relatively new resident – moved here 2 years ago – but love the charm and small-town feel of Silver Lake/Los Feliz. (I’m in a ’60s-era building myself.) Condos do nothing for the aesthetics of our little ‘hood and traffic/parking is going to be a nightmare.

  21. Reason #941 everyone is moving to Eagle Rock.

  22. bottom line, no matter what your concerns everyone needs to spread the word about and go to this meeting! This is our opportunity to unite before its to late and people start crying that they snuck this t project through.

  23. FWIW, more parking just means higher rents and more cars in the road.

  24. Unfortunately, incentives and density bonuses for developers who include affordable units in their projects is required by state law, SB 1818. The affordable housing advocates, though well meaning, have significantly contributed to the destruction of neighborhood character.

  25. Only +/-100 apartments per property? What a waste of opportunity. We need 500 units at each of those locations. Go taller. We need density. No one is going to be driving in 10-20 years. Eliminate the parking. Buses, bikes, and subway are the transportation of the future.

    • Richard obviously thinks that LA is like Manhattan, with a very limited amount of space. LA still has lots of space to grow, so there is no need to ruin a nice little neighborhood like Silver Lake with huge apartment buildings.
      “No one is going to driving in 10-20 years.” Jeez, you are such a hippy! Head back to Portland where you belong and leave Silver Lake alone!

  26. Guys, its 4 stories. Everyone is like, ‘L.A. is not New York!’ Have you ever been to New York? If L.A. was like New York, then we would be covered in twenty+ story buildings. 4 stories is nothing! Moreover, L.A. needs to grow. Contrary to popular belief, we can’t keep growing out. We’ve reached our borders. We need to grow up. How do you expect L.A. to grow if you wont add a measly 300 units? Thousands and thousands of people live in Silver Lake already. Will a few more hundred really change the character of the neighborhood that much?

  27. Build baby build! Should reduce the parking. Parking only encourages more car use. There are 3 major bus lines 2 of them being 24 hour buses running right in front of these developments. On top of that there are two major subway stops 3/4 of a mile away at Santa Monica/Vermont and Sunset/Vermont. LA is all about arguing the supply side of transit. Well the supply now exists and if you still don’t want to take was has been granted the demand side must be induced through denser developments and less parking. This is the perfect place to build these units if not even more. I’m more concerned about a fucking wall being built that impedes pedestrian flow and will forever be an eyesore to at the gate of Sunset Junction.

    • less parking sounds good in theory, but it’s a DISASTER in reality.

      What actually happens, is that all of these new residents will still own and use cars. With less parking, you’ll have folks driving around and around looking for parking.. creating more congestion, more local pollution, more aggravated people, and a generally worse environment.

      BTW – while LA is working on transit, it is obvious that they haven’t done a good enough job on the “supply side.” The network is not dense enough and efficient enough to be a viable option for *most* people. So, adding more residents will simply make things worse.. and creating too few parking spaces will exacerbate the situation.

  28. stop the developers

    i’m from Seattle and this same shit is and has been happening to Capitol Hill there (similar feel to Silver Lake here).

    money talks.

    the developers bought the city council out in Seattle and i know that is happening here.

    guaranteed it will change Silver Lake and turn it into another West Hollywood.

    just look on Rowena right now. 2 buildings are going up. one right next to Edendale (condo) and one right where the Coffee Table(RIP) was. that one is going to be HUGE.

    and another one is just starting on Glendale Blvd. over looking Atwater Village/I-5/Riverside Dr.

    • You say “turn it into another West Hollywood” like that is a bad thing…

      I don’t get how there is such ignorance among people. How would you ever be able to stop development? Why do you waist an ounce of energy thinking you could stop it?

      I really would like to understand where you are coming from. I mean no offense, but it seems that if you would like to live in a “Mayberry” type place where change is slow and predictable, why would you subject yourself to a place like LOS ANGELES?

      • I live in Silver Lake because it’s NOT West Hollywood.

        If I liked how it is in West Hollywood (or much of the westside for that matter), I’d live there.

        What the hell is wrong with those that live in Silver Lake wanting to keep the charm of this area and less density of West Hollywood? If you like the density of Hollywood/West Hollywood (or ‘progress’ as you so aptly put it), why do you live here in Silver Lake??

  29. the jiffy lube has to go

  30. @True Freedom: People still drive because you continue to make it easy for them to. By providing an over abundance of parking that sits empty throughout the evening at commercial shops and during the day at residential multi-family buildings. There are 2 24 hour buses on Sunset along with a Rapid limited stop all 3 of which take you from Downtown all the way to the ocean. If that wasn’t enough you could also use any those 3 buses to take you to the nearest subway stop on either Santa Monica or Sunset to connect to the Red Line subway which will further connect you to the Blue to Long Beach, the Gold to either East LA or Pasadena or the soon to be opened Expo to Culver City(by summer). The transit system isn’t perfect but it’s workable from this area in the city. And if you must drive then drive. But don’t use the sorry ass excuse that you can’t find a bus or train to hop on at least some of the time. Oh yeah, the Red Line also takes you to the commuter rail network known as Metrolink. Surely out of 10 people 2-3 could use the transit option. There fore out of 300 units a third could use transit and cutting out about a 1/3 of prkng requirements is doable. People will find every excuse to stay in their cars unless you give them a push. Easing parking requirements along with variable rate parking meters are the push.

  31. We’ve seen success on a national level with electronic signatures in response to the cutting off the funding for Planned Parenthood and for the internet censorship bill… what do you all think about an online petition? Does anyone have an experience creating one in the past?
    Or do we all just lay down in the dirt on the day they are to start building and refuse to leave?!

    NOT COOL on any level!

    • Emily,

      I’ll meet you there on the day they start building! I’ll have on my rose colored glasses!! What will you be wearing?

  32. That area is a mess right now. It’s ugly and a traffic nightmare. As noted higher in the comments the bus has to make a really awkward and difficult left turn onto Santa Monica off of Sunset. There should be more stores and a pocket park like the one at Griffith Park Blvd. As for 300 units – it seems a little high but not that different from the loft buildings at Myra and Manzanita. The city is growing – no getting around it. Might as well make the best of it and make sure the area retains or ads some retail/walking character.

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