Illegal Parking Lot on Wilshire Removed

Paving has been removed from an illegal parking lot on Wilshire Blvd. and Bronson Avenue

After months of back and forth with various City entities, the Eastern Presbyterian Church removed the asphalt from the parking lot it had illegally paved in November, 2015, on the empty lot on Wilshire Blvd. at the corner of Bronson Avenue. The Church, located at 4270 W. 6th St., owns the property and has tried for many years to develop the land.

John Welborne, Vice President of Planning and Land Use for the Windsor Square Association, reported to residents at the annual meeting held earlier this month that the lot had been removed.

The Buzz had previously reported that no permits were issued for the parking lot because that kind of use is prohibited by the Park Mile Specific Plan, which establishes land use parameters for Wilshire Blvd. between Highland Ave. and Wilton Place.  The Park Mile Specific Plan was adopted in 1987 to preserve the low-density, single family residential character of the neighborhood.

In November 2015, the  Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety issued a violation notice and an order to comply, either by converting the parking lot back to a vacant lot or by pursuing a variance to officially change the use of the property.

The Eastern Presbyterian Church agreed to remove the paving earlier this year.

At the time, Windsor Square Association President Larry Guzin had urged City Council Member David Ryu to oppose any application to change a use that does not conform to the Park Mile Plan.  No exceptions to the Plan have been granted in the almost 30 years since the Plan’s inception.  And according to Guzin, any exception would be a “disaster” for Windsor Square.

City Council Member David Ryu’s office supported the neighborhood’s position that the property owner must adhere the Park Mile Specific Plan and follow the Order to Comply.

In June 2016,  the Church applied to the Park Mile Design Review Board for permission to install a landscaped parking lot at some time in the future. The request was turned down, citing three provisions in the Park Mile Plan that specifically address parking lots.

  • Section 5D-1  “No building, structure, parking area or any other combination thereof (inclusion any area covered by pavement or other durable surface employed for the on-grade paring of any motorized vehicle), shall be erected…. to occupy more than 50 percent of a lot.”  In this case it was the entire lot.
  • Section 6B   “…garage or private parking area shall be provided in connection with and at the time of the erection of each of the buildings or structures hereinafter specified…..”  (In this case, there was no construction, and the lot appeared to be intended to be used for additional parking and rented to filming companies for local parking. Eventually FilmLA was successful in preventing the use of the illegal lot. The matter was protracted because the church rented the lot using three different addresses.)
  •  Section 6C  Parking areas must be  “enclosed with a landscaped earth berm or other device designed to screen visual access onto the parking area from adjacent streets.”  And a “plot plan for each of these parking areas shall be subject to review and approval of the Director of Planning…” But according to a member of the Park Mile Review Board, nothing was reviewed or approved. 
Finally, the City also objected to the illegal driveways that were created to access the parking area. In one case, drivers were actually driving on the sidewalk to access the lot.
For now, the site it empty. Commerical or residential development are  the primary uses permitted by the Park Mile Plan.
Illegal driveway installed to access the parking area

About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, “Larchmont” for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier’s Books.

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