On Tuesday, February 7, Associate Zoning Administrator Aleta D. James said she would hold the record open until February 28, 2017 to allow LAPD Vice officers time to conduct interviews and due diligence on the Condition Use Beverage Permit (CUB) application for East of June, a new restaurant and bar proposed at 6063-6065 Melrose Avenue, formerly the home of an automotive service shop.
The applicant is requesting a CUB with full alcohol sales for a 2,883 square foot restaurant with 15 bar seats and 46 dining seats including a 442 square-foot patio with 32 outdoor seats and operating hours until 7 am to 2 am daily, according to the Planning Department website.
At the start of Tuesday’s hearing, James read from a letter sent by the Hancock Park Homeowners Association asking for the following modifications.
- Change operating hours so the restaurant closes at 11 p.m.;
- Add language to the permit that there cannot be amplified live music and that any amplified recorded music be kept at a reasonably low decibel level;
- That noise of any kind from the restaurant and its customers be no higher than 70 decibels as measured from across Melrose at the Hancock Park Terrace condominiums;
- Have a plan for immediately addressing parking, traffic and noise issues that is agreed to by our Association.
In the public comment period, June Street resident Don Kossman said he was concerned about the late hours and the commensurate noise.
“The neighborhood is full of old houses with poor sound proofing and at night the noise really carries on the streets south of Melrose,” said Kossman. “This kind of restaurant is completely out of character with our neighborhood.” He also asked Administrator James how noise restriction rules would be enforced. Later in the hearing, James assured Kossman there were protections in place if East of June’s operators violated their CUB.
Hancock Park Terrace residents Anne Loveland and Kelly Martin expressed similar concerns, since three of the 100-unit condominium’s five buildings directly face Melrose, which is entirely residential on the south side of the street. Loveland noted that all the nearby restaurants, including the Mozza group, close at 10 pm on weekdays, with only Xiomora staying open until 11 pm on weekends. Martin requested a sound wall be considered, in addition to hedges, to block the sound from the proposed outdoor patio, as well as the inclusion of specific language regarding allowable noise levels in the CUB.
Philip Farha, secretary of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee, said the committee voted to support the project in the interest of equity, explaining the CUP for Xiomara allowed it to operate until 2 am. He said the committee felt the proposed project is a better use of the site than the current automotive service use, and after discussing the concerns with nearby neighbors, including the South Hollywood Neighborhood Association, they voted to support because, “we thought it was the best solution we had at hand.”
Administrator James invited the applicant and his representatives to respond to public comment. Phil Howard, operator of the proposed restaurant and also current operator of Laurel Hardware and Ysabel in West Hollywood, said he would be happy to meet with residents to address additional landscaping solutions.
“We have two restaurants in West Hollywood that have been operating for five years and everything we do is for the community,” said Howard. “We would not exist without the community. It is not in our interest not to work with the community.” Howard added that his company has an exemplary record with code enforcement in West Hollywood. He also said that his business “isn’t viable with an 11 pm close.”
Julia Duncan, Planning Deputy for CD 4 Councilmember David Ryu, said her office received many letters and emails about the project. She said she was pleased with the applicant’s effort to reach out to the community and gain support as her office had requested. Duncan said her office concurred with a reduction in the operating hours and suggested closing at 11 pm instead of 2 am as proposed.
After further discussion between James and the applicants, covering a range of issues including various options for sound proofing and landscaping, and reducing operating hours for the outdoor patio, she urged them to meet with residents to work out solutions to these issues over the next three weeks, while LAPD conducts its investigation. James said she would hold the record open until February 28, 2017. Comments on the application may be sent to staff member Lisette Covarrubias by phone (213) 202-5439 or by e-mail: email@example.com.