By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Design Review Board met virtually on Wednesday, August 25, to discuss a proposed project: the change of use of the former Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf space from a cafe to a medical office.
The meeting called for a continuation of the final review of The Hydration Room, which is slated to be located at 15278 Antioch Street—where The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf closed in 2019.
Board members discussed plans that would change the space from a cafe to a medical office, and the addition of a 23-square-foot awning sign.
Applicant representative Cason Hall previously offered an overview of the proposed project. The Hydration Room was established in December 2014 by anesthesiologist Dr. Brett Florie, and integrates both allopathic and osteopathic medicine into vitamin injection and IV therapies.
There are currently 15 Hydration Rooms across LA, Orange and San Diego counties, according to Hall.
Hall returned for the second DRB hearing to share design changes in response to the DRB’s previous comments. She said the project team worked with The Shade Store, slated to move in next door, to finalize the proposed facade.
A “brow” awning has since been extended to The Shade Store to create a uniform street frontage, and Hall said the paint color was changed from beige to a light grey to complement the colors chosen for The Shade Store and modernize the facade.
The board previously requested the sign be reduced in size to satisfy Specific Plan Requirements; In response, the sign area was updated to 23 square feet. The signage has also been simplified with the removal of a previously proposed wave icon.
“The proposed project is a community-oriented and innovative provider of important personal care functions … it is in a designated commercial village that is mindfully separate from the surrounding residential community and does not include densification in any form,” Hall said about the project’s compliance with the Specific Plan.
Florie explained there will be treatment rooms where patients get procedures done privately and a common area for individuals to lounge afterward. The treatment is placing the IV in the patient or giving the injection.
“I just wish this were not taking place here,” DRB Chair Donna Vaccarino said. “I’ve got to tell you, I have a strong personal concern that this is something that should be in a medical clinic or suite of medical offices. I have a deep moral objection to this whole thing … I think it puts the community at risk, I don’t like the image that it gives our community and if you want to locate this someplace else, that’s your business.”
Though Florie argued that Vaccarino’s comments were beyond the scope of the DRB’s review, Board Member Barbara Kohn explained the DRB is responsible for ensuring future developments are compatible with the surrounding residential community and character of the neighboring residential areas.
“We do have a mandate to look at compatibility … and particularly, where this is opposite … a little park, the Village Green, which the community purchased and paid for and maintains,” Kohn said. “We have that consideration in terms of reviewing the project.”
DRB Vice Chair Maryam Zar requested a tint to the storefront windows as a way of obstructing a clear view to individuals walking by. Board members also expressed disinterest in the proposed signage, claiming that it is still too large and nonconforming.
The board unanimously moved to continue the item, based on input in relation to changes to the design. The board requested the applicants resubmit plans at the next available meeting, scheduled to take place Wednesday, September 22.
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