Upcoming hearing on Sunset Flats Development in Echo Park

Rough outline of where Sunset Flats will be built according to a city hearing notice

Last week, we wrote about the Sunset Flats development – a 60+ unit apartment complex planned for the form Echo Park Community Garden site along Sunset Blvd. and Rosemont. Coming up on Monday, November 22, the city will hold a hearing on the requested variances for the project, including a density bonus. Echo Park Now has learned that there will be no actual decision made on the project, but will just be a meeting with the hearing officer. A decision will be made on January 13, 2011.

Everyone is still encouraged to submit letters for the record as well as show up to the hearing (to protest or support the project) as every little thing does make a difference.

For those not familiar with the project, here’s the low-down (and some updates from previous reports):

  • 12 total buildings with 62 total units (one-two bedrooms) and commercial storefronts
  • 10-11 low-income units will be provided, which is the minimum required for this project
  • Existing structures (approximately 6 buildings with 11 units) will be removed
  • Project is a mixed-use project where the developer is applying to combine residential zoning with commercial zoning under SB 1818
  • 113 parking spaces (101 are required) with 12 of those being guest parking
  • Front of project, along Sunset, will be five stories if the developer gets approval from the city (the developer is arguing for 12 extra feet, making the project five stories at a total of 57 feet)
  • Back of project, along Elsinore, will be two stories
  • All parking will be access through Elsinore street, which will be a terrible impact on that small neighborhood

The bottom line is, the problem with this development is that although the developer can legally build a structure this size, it’s not going to serve the community. In addition, the issue has blown up because of the developer’s lack of communication with the community (including even those living in houses they plan to demolish), and there’s a sense that they are pretty hot-headed. For instance, at the neighborhood council meeting last month, architect Jay Vanos told everyone he could build a bigger, 127-unit complex if he wanted. This was right before the committee voted to approve the project (despite objections by residents), so it seems the threat worked. We do have one office on our side – Garcetti has said publicly that he remains on the community’s side.

In fact, it’s gotten quite nasty. On the comments section of an Eastsider LA, someone who identifies himself as “Al” and has some relationship with the developer (perhaps a consultant?)  writes, “If the proposed building will not be acceptable then we will build what is by RIGHT and then it will be bigger.” Seems a little threatening for someone trying to get the neighborhood’s support.

In another article, this on on the LA Weekly blog, the same “Al” attacks an Echo Park resident by name (who we know to be incredibly involved in Echo Park and does amazing things for our community), calling her emotional. More recently, the developer agreed to meet with the Echo Park Improvement Association, but failed to attend last Wednesday’s meeting and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) meet later that week.

On a personal note, this is what bothers us the most. Garcetti’s office will continue to work to bring together the developers and the community to discuss the issues with the project. But the developer has to stop threatening to make the project bigger if he doesn’t get support from the community, and he’s not going to get it if they don’t communicate.

The best thing residents can do is make sure the city hears us and our opinions go down on record. Click here to download the hearing notice. Go to the hearing, or write a letter be snail mail or email, all the info is below:


Monday, November 22, 2010 at 11:00 am
Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street (Entrance on Main Street between Temple Street and 1st Street)
10th floor, Room 1020
For more info:  Rogelio Flores 213/ 978-1478 rogelio.flores@lacity.org

In writing:

Los Angeles Department of City Planning
Community Planning Bureau
City Hall
Room 667
200 North Spring Street. Los Angeles CA 90012
Case # CPC-2009-3488-DB-SPR

Email: rogelio.flores@lacity.org

You should also CC Eric Garcetti’s office at councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org

We are in the process of writing a letter ourselves, if you would like some help please feel free to contact us and we can help you with some of those complicated talking points.

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