By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
A telephonic public hearing before an officer on behalf of the City Planning Commission was held on Monday, July 6, in response to community concerns over plans to reimagine a former Jack in the Box site.
The proposed project, located at 17346 West Sunset Blvd., calls for the demolition of the former fast food restaurant and construction of a five-story, mixed-use building.
The project would feature 32,225 square feet in floor area and include 49 parking spaces. Roughly 2,900 square feet would be for ground-floor commercial uses.
Pursuant to Section 12.22 A.25(g)(3) of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, applicant Michael Aminpour is requesting a density bonus and/or affordable housing incentive program review to permit the incentives to develop more affordable housing, including 39 units, reserving four for very low-income household occupancy.
The applicant has also requested a 30-foot, nine-inch and three-story increase in the maximum building height, which would allow 60 feet, nine inches and five stories.
The hearing invited public participants to dial in by phone to voice their concerns—a new format for meetings in compliance with Governor Gavin Newsom to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Before a hearing officer, the applicant’s representative, Michael Gonzales, started the conversation by sharing the project was proposed roughly two and a half years ago and was designed differently than the presentation to date.
Gonzales said the project had been presented to the Pacific Palisades Community Council on two occasions and to the Land Use Committee—who did not favor the project—citing concerns about character and the design of the project relative to the surrounding area.
“You’re going to hear opposition that the property’s project is out of character with the area, the opponents to this project want to define ‘area’ as immediately adjacent sites,” Gonzales said. “The character of the area is more well-defined by what surrounds it … next to us is a one-story shopping center, above that one-story shopping center is a four-story apartment building … you’ve got three-, four- and I believe five-story buildings along Sunset Boulevard. That, I would suggest, is the area, for the purpose of defining character in this case.”
Gonzales added that the project will not interfere with the public’s right of access to the beach, block existing views of the ocean and disturb natural land, since the property was previously disturbed by the empty Jack in the Box drive-thru that currently occupies the footprint of the site.
Public comment followed Gonzales’ statements, where community members were each given one minute and 30 seconds to speak.
Notably, a number of Edgewater Towers and Palisades residents disapproved of the project. Common concerns pointed out that the project is not compatible with nearby uses and does not preserve the community’s character. Additional concerns included population density, limited vehicle access and public safety.
Gonzales clarified that a traffic study was conducted and reviewed, California Environmental Quality Act was conducted, the project is consistent with zoning allowed by the city and parking is consistent with code as well.
According to the PPCC, this was the initial hearing of the matter and there are tentative plans for the City Planning Commission to hear the matter again in August. The PPCC previously expressed opposition to the project in August 2019.
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