Impact Brookside Has Much to Say About Proposed Nearby Development

CIM_PHOTO_LARCHMONT_AUGUST 2015_TWO STORIESBROOKSIDE—Density, increased traffic, and the closure of a residential street that feeds to Wilshire Boulevard are some concerns Brookside residents have expressed regarding a proposed new development along two blocks of Wilshire Boulevard at the northern tip of their neighborhood.

The development in question is for 87 homes—of various sizes, looks and configurations—to be built between Rimpau Boulevard and Muirfield Road between Wilshire Boulevard and 8th Street.

Developers have presented their plans twice to the neighborhood for the homes—which range in size from 1,500 to 3,600 square feet—most recently in July to about 100 residents as part of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s monthly meeting.

The latest presentation revealed that the developer—CIM—had reduced the number of homes for the project from 119 units to 87 as a result from earlier feedback. At the July presentation, developers asked again for community input passing out comment cards and they received a heavy stack back.

But after the latest meeting, Brookside resident Jan Wieringa sent about 300 surveys to Brookside residents only, of which she said she’s received about 70 back.

According to Wieringa, respondents have, thus far, continued to express concerns about the project’s density, it’s lack of a formal environmental review and the developer’s desire to close off a street that runs in the neighborhood that runs between Olympic and Wilshire boulevards.

CIM wants to develop over a portion of Mullen Street, so its project is on one continuous piece of land. Currently, their project would be split by the street. But doing so would create a dead-end of Mullen at 8th Street and some residents fear that would push cut through traffic to other small neighborhood streets.

Locals have also expressed concern about the developer’s plans to create a “pocket park” at 8th Street, which they say might attract a bad element to the area, especially if it were outfitted with benches.

“We’re not opposed to green,” Wieringa said, “but we are opposed to something that attracts crime and transients.”

The overall project is a mix of four different types of homes that would use the existing Farmer’s building and its street level parking lots just west of it. In total there would be: 52 luxury two and three bedroom condos in the Farmer’s tower starting on the 4th floor; 11 modern townhomes immediately adjacent to the tower and then nine three-story Spanish style condos facing Wilshire Boulevard.

Also proposed is a mix of two and three story single-family homes, again Spanish in style. Seven two-story homes would face 8th Street and eight, which are both two and three stories in height, would be sandwiched behind those homes and the nine condos facing Wilshire.

Wieringa has other concerns, including, she said, that the Spanish look of the development is not in keeping with the mixed architecture styles in Brookside and that the zoning for the property allows homes to be built closer to the street, not set back further from the curb as other homes do in the neighborhood.

The two and three story homes will each have an attached garage, some of which are proposed to be in the front of the property. Residents of some of the other units will also use what’s known as an “automated parking garage,” where cars are vertically stacked using an elevator-like system.

But already, some are doing the math and wondering about all the cars matching up for 87 new homes, some of which may have three or more occupants. Additionally, the first three stories of the Farmer’s building will still be used for commercial office space.

“It’s going to be kind of mind-boggling all these people going in and out of this development on a daily basis,” Wieringa said.

A traffic study is expected from CIM in mid-August. But some residents have expressed a desire for a full environmental impact review for the project.

“We have no idea what to expect,” Wieringa said, “regarding pollution, traffic and light and noise spill. We want as many reviews and studies as possible.”

Developers have said they want to start construction in April of 2016.

“We’re looking for solutions,” said Wieringa. “Let’s see where the hard sticking points are and then try and resolve them.”

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