Some Locals Fighting Development on Melrose at Beachwood

A rendering of a proposed development, at 5570 Melrose Ave. and 647 N. Beachwood Dr., which would include 52 studio units, a one-bedroom luxury rental unit and 5,500-square-feet for commercial use on the ground floor.

An appeal has been filed by two entities and a third area home owner, regarding the Los Angeles City Planning Commission’s approval in April of a mixed-used project for the corner of Beachwood Drive and Melrose Avenue.

According to the appeal, dated June 7th, appellants claim the commission’s approval was “an abuse of agency discretion,” and that the commission failed to conduct an environmental review of the project under the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA. The three also have taken issue with the height of the proposed project, which exceeds other area’s structures at five stories tall, or 56 feet. The current neighborhood height limit is 45 feet.

The proposed development, at 5570 Melrose Ave. and 647 N. Beachwood Dr. would include 52 studio units, a one-bedroom luxury rental unit and 5,500-square-feet for commercial use on the ground floor.

According to plans submitted to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, the project will have five low-income units. The developer is Crescent Capital Partners.

But Estevan Montemayor, spokesman for Los Angeles Council District 4 City Councilmember David Ryu, said the councilmember is supportive of the proposed project.

“It will have a positive impact on the neighborhood, specifically increasing the housing stock and affordable units that the city so desperately needs,” Montemayor said. “The applicant worked extensively with the community, including the nearby neighborhood association and neighborhood council, both [of whom] are supportive of the project.”

However, some local homeowners feel the project was pushed through the approval pipeline without adequate community outreach and input. They have complained of the proposed complex’s limited tenant parking and paucity of low-income units.

Tracey Clarke, one of the appellants, said developers have ignored current locals’ concerns. She said she and a group of about a dozen homeowners, mostly along nearby Gower Street and Beachwood Drive are the most concerned.

Those are, “the two streets that will mostly be affected,” by the project she said.

According to Clarke, the locals want the building to conform to the area’s height restrictions and provide enough parking to accommodate tenants and those patronizing the proposed site’s commercial businesses.

“What are you going to tell tenants who have two cars?” Clarke said.

The group also wants to see the development’s proposed rooftop pool deck soundproofed and a prohibition of short-term rentals.

In an effort to bring public attention to the matter, the group has hired attorney Beth Dorris, who also worked on an appeal case when Paramount Studios sought approvals in 2016 for expansion. In that case, Paramount originally planned to install lighted billboards facing Melrose Avenue but those plans were scuttled.

In the meantime, Clarke and other locals have created a Go Fund Me page to help offset legal costs, if necessary, to address the matter.

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