Tuesday, a City Council committee recommended that the Council join other agencies of the City in denying the Larchmont Bungalow’s latest attempt at delaying enforcement of the Larchmont zoning law. The recommendation is to deny the Bungalow’s November appeal of the Area Planning Commission’s unanimous October denial of the Bungalow’s request for special treatment to be allowed to operate as a restaurant.
The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee of the City Council previously had listened to testimony on January 13, 2015, but Committee chair Jose Huizar continued the matter at that time to seek clarification from Planning Department staff of questions raised during that hearing.
Those questions were answered today by Debbie Lawrence from the Planning Department and Chief Inspector Todd Borzi from the Department of Building and Safety. Committee Chair Huizar then allowed those in attendance to speak. About a dozen people (including Councilman Tom LaBonge) spoke in opposition to the appeal, and another six people — Larchmont BID head Tom Kneafsey, four Bungalow employees, and one customer — joined the applicant, his wife and two lawyers in asking the Committee to grant the appeal. Among those joining Councilman LaBonge in opposition were the President and several officers of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council and members of the GWNC Land Use Committee, the President of the Hancock Park Home Owners Association, and the Vice President of the Windsor Square Association.
Councilman LaBonge asked the Committee to consider the sentiment of the neighborhood and the recommendation of the Planning Department. He expressed frustration that he had personally met in 2009 with Albert Mizrahi, owner of the Bungalow, and urged him to follow the “Q” conditions before opening his business. Citing a program of Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman LaBonge called Larchmont a Los Angeles “Great Street” that had been created to serve the local neighborhoods, and he urged the Committee to support the city planning process that will insure that Larchmont continues to be a great street.
Renée Weitzer, Land Use and Planning Deputy for Councilman LaBonge, also urged the PLUM Committee to deny the appeal. Then, upon a motion from Chairman Huizar, seconded by Councilman Englander, the Committee voted to forward the matter to the full City Council with the recommendation that the appeal be denied. The matter should be on the Council agenda by next week.