By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Design Review Board met virtually on Wednesday, January 13, to discuss proposed changes at 107 and 109 N. West Channel Road in the Palisades.
The project proposes updates to ground-level retail space and a second-level duplex at 107 N. West Channel Road, as well as ground-level storage and a second-level guest room at 109 N. West Channel Road.
The changes include turning two existing guest rooms into “light house-keeping units,” with a representative of the project explaining that a light house-keeping unit is a guest room with a kitchenette; it is a rental unit but not a full dwelling unit.
The meeting called for review of remodeling plans, which suggest replacements of the existing wood, windows, roof materials, as well as a new courtyard between the West Channel buildings that would include retaining walls, metal guardrails and a fence. The exterior of the two buildings will also be painted an icy white.
The board previously met to discuss the project on December 9, but requested continuation. The DRB is the first step in the review process of this project—a building permit cannot be issued without going through a planning review process, which includes a design review board.
Representing the applicant and property owner Pacific Partners Group LLC, Henry Ramirez explained that plans for the exterior need to be approved so work can begin on the project. Interior plans have already been approved.
After review of the submitted materials, the board was concerned the building’s footprint encroached over a property line, raising questions.
“I’m sure you understand that this is a very extraordinary building, it also is on the corner of the most dangerous intersection certainly in Pacific Palisades, if not, in the westside of Los Angeles,” DRB Chair Donna Vaccarino said. “There’s a lot of public concern about this intersection … somebody has to ask questions of whether or not this is an appropriate renovation.”
Vaccarino explained the board is put in a difficult position and has to consider the safety of the Palisades.
“We’re all volunteers, we all want the best for our community,” she said. “I believe we have the right to ask some questions and make sure that there is careful planning and thoughtfulness in these projects that come to us.”
Ramirez went on to present materials to the board, but technical difficulties presented challenges.
“I’m sorry [this] was so difficult … I don’t think anyone wants to go through this again, it was just brutal,” Vaccarino said to Nick Vasuthasawat, city planning assistant.
Board members later expressed their support of the design itself.
“I think it’s a huge improvement over what’s there, and I’m just happy something nicer is going in its place,” DRB Secretary Sarah Griffin said.
A motion was made to approve the plans as submitted and passed unanimously.
Ramirez said he will return to the board in the future to discuss 117 N. West Channel Road.
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