EAGLE ROCK — The neighborhoods north of Colorado Boulevard have a lot going for them, including tree-shaded streets lined with restored bungalows and Spanish-Colonial homes. But perhaps one of the neighborhood’s most prized features is its zoning: R-1. That’s reserved for single-family homes and excludes apartments, shops, restaurants and other commercial buildings. However, a variance from the city would allow for other uses. That’s what the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is seeking as it plans to build a retreat center for priests next to the former Bekins-Lane mansion on Hill Drive. The architect and representatives for the church presented their plans during a meeting on Tuesday night and are scheduled to do so again tonight (June 22).
The church plans to keep the Tudor-style mansion, built during the 1920s by the founder of the Bekins moving company, intact. But the church wants remove a swimming pool and demolish several accessory buildings on the property to construct a three-level complex with parking, 23 residential suites, meeting rooms, dining and “silent dining” rooms, offices and two chapels, according to a summary provided by architect Robert Kerr.
Kerr presented preliminary renderings and plans on Tuesday night at a packed meeting of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee. Some of the committee members thought the new structure was perhaps too contemporary in appearance given its location next to the mansion’s classic style. But others seemed supportive. The council is an advisory body. It’s recommendations would be forwarded to the Planning Department and city officials who have the power to grant exceptions to current zoning.
What appeared to worry many was the amount of traffic and noise that would be generated by the project.One neighbor said he and his family were “distraught” by the proposal, but Kerr and other church representatives said they will work to minimize the impact on the neighborhood.
The sale of the property is contingent on winning the necessary variances from the city, officials said.
Tonight’s meeting, hosted by the The Eagle Rock Association in partnership with other groups, will be held from 6 pm to 8 pm. at the Twentieth Century Women’s Club, 5105 Hermosa Avenue.
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