Can you believe it? The holiday season is upon us and 2017 is coming to a close. The new year will be bringing a few big changes to the City of West Hollywood.
As you may know, Californians voted for legalization of adult-use of cannabis in 2016. Cannabis sales and consumption will be legal in Weho come January 2018. For more information, you can visit the City's website by clicking here. Hosted home-sharing will likely be legalized early in the new year, although the final ordinance has not yet been approved by Council. The Community Development Department will also be bringing forward its Public Benefits Framework proposal, which will allow development that does not adhere to our Zoning Codes to be approved in exchange for a benefit that is considered to be of value to the community. I hope that all of you will be part of that discussion when it is brought to Council. Last but not least - the off leash dog parks located in West Hollywood Park should be opening in January. Stay tuned!
This last quarter of 2017 was quite busy for the City and me! Here are some of the highlights of Q4...
The City hosted its fabulous annual Halloween Carnaval on Santa Monica Boulevard. Kudos to City staff and the LA County Sheriffs department and Fire department for keeping us safe.
Along with my Council colleagues, I participated in City-hosted events on Veterans Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and World AIDS Day. It's during these events that we forget our differences and remember those we have lost, those who have fought for our freedoms and those who are still fighting for our rights every single day.
Another highlight of Q4 was the re-opening of the newly renovated City-owned Werle Building, home of the West Hollywood Recovery Center, the ONE Archives Gallery & Museum, and the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives.
I also hosted the City's first Community Forum on Homelessness. The forum included a panel comprised of city staff and representatives from the West Hollywood Sheriffs Station, the LASD Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) and LA County Supervisor Kuehl's office. It was an opportunity for West Hollywood residents and businesses to have an informal discussion with members of the panel about homelessness in West Hollywood, community members' concerns, what the City is doing, and what expectations are for the near term. The City Council will be holding a Study Session on homelessness in February.
This quarter, my colleagues voted to adopt a number of initiatives I've been working on:
Bollards initiative: directs staff to evaluate the installation of bollards at locations in West Hollywood with heavy pedestrian traffic in order to protect the public from vehicle traffic.
Affordable housing development incentives: directs the Community Development Department to draft a Zone Text Amendment to allow a reduction in parking requirements for affordable housing developments (100% affordable) that provide car-sharing parking spaces and services on site. Thanks to Councilmember D'Amico for co-sponsoring.
Streamline review of smaller commercial projects: directs staff to amend the Zoning Ordinance to allow applications for new or additional floor area in commercial development projects of less than 30,000 square feet and requiring 150 parking spaces or less, to be reviewed by the Community Development Director. This would apply only to projects that do not require a conditional use permit or variance, and do not request any bonuses, incentives, parking reductions or “minor modifications” above the baseline zoning requirements. The intention is to streamline the approval process for smaller, less impactful commercial projects that fully adhere to the Zoning Code, and to provide greater certainty and quickness with regard to these requests for development approvals. Thanks to Councilmember Horvath for co-sponsoring.
Clarification of "No Waiver" provision in the Rent Stabilization Ordinance: directs staff to amend the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) to more accurately reflect the City’s role with regard to waiving of relocation fees.
Noticing: directs staff to amend the City’s policies related to noticing for developments in order to increase community awareness of proposed new developments and public hearings in West Hollywood. Thanks to Councilmember Horvath for inviting me to co-sponsor.
Improving pet grooming regulations: directs staff to develop new pet safety regulations for pet grooming facilities doing business in the City of West Hollywood.
Land use issues (update)
At the last Council meeting, Community Development Department staff brought back a follow up item regarding mixed use. You might recall that I brought an item to Council last January proposing we eliminate or modify the City's mixed use bonus. It is my position that since the advent of the State of California's affordable housing law, which provides for a number of incentives such as height and density bonuses to encourage mixed use projects with affordable housing, that the City's mixed use bonus is no longer necessary. Unfortunately, my proposal, which would result in more appropriately-sized, neighborhood-friendly development, did not garner the support of Council majority. However, I appreciate Councilmember D'Amico's support, and hope that we can come up with an alternative plan next year!
Don't forget to check the City Calendar for upcoming City meetings and events. Our next City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Be sure to check the City's website for the Agenda.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy new year! See you in 2018!
Halloween Carnaval - Jon Viscott, West Hollywood; Veterans Day Event - Richard E. Settle, West Hollywood; Transgender Day of Remembrance Event - Tony Coelho, West Hollywood; World AIDS Day Event - Jon Viscott, West Hollywood; Werle Bldg. Ribbon Cutting - Jon Viscott, West Hollywood; Spike & Lauren on Porch - Jon Viscott
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