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'Poor Doors' Come To SoCal: Low-Income Residents Of This Proposed WeHo Complex Can Look At The Pool But Can't Swim In It
Developers of a mixed-use building in West Hollywood have proposed building low-income housing within its ritzy complex, but those folks wouldn't be able to share the same amenities as everyone else.
The current plans for 8899 Beverly Blvd. have low-income housing overlooking the pool that they wouldn't be able to use, WEHOville reports. The city isn't happy with the proposal.
"This very obvious delineation of amenities runs contrary to West Hollywood’s policies of inclusiveness and equal access for all … Housing staff remains unable to support the proposed project because there would be separate amenity areas for the affordable housing tenants and the market-rate homeowners," according to the city's Community Development Department report.
Folks are calling this a controversial "poor door" practice that has recently come under fire in areas like New York City, which lawmakers have been trying to ban. A mixed-use, luxury high-rise in Manhattan that was approved by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was blasted for having a separate, back-door entrance for poor residents.
"To permit developers or encourage them to create separate and unequal buildings and take tax credits and benefits from the city," lawyer Randolph McLaughlin said about the New York building to NPR. "I think that's a constitutional violation."
The proposed development in West Hollywood is being helmed by Townscape Partners of Beverly Hills and Angelo Gordon & Co., who want to expand the sprawling 90,000-square-foot, 10-foot West Hollywood complex that currently serves mostly as offices. They want to transform existing office space into condos, build some single-family homes, as well as tack on a recreation center and indoor pool. WEHOville says that building low-income housing "is a way developers are able to get waivers under state law from meeting certain local zoning requirements."
West Hollywood residents are already up in arms about a proposed development, complaining that the project is massive and the construction would bring in noise, traffic and dust to the community.
The developers have revised some of their original plans, and this Thursday, the Planning Commission will consider the construction plan as well as hear comments from the West Hollywood city planners (who are asking them to reject the plan) and public.
UPDATE 8/7: The developer Beverly Blvd. Associates is backing off its proposal, and released the following statement (via WEHOville):
“We have worked tirelessly over the last several years to craft a project that provides an extraordinary public benefit by building significantly more affordable housing units than would otherwise be required for a project this size. “The City of West Hollywood previously recommended comparable amenities, which we had agreed to. If the City now feels that shared amenities and access best meet the needs of the residents of the affordable housing units, we are more than willing to accept those conditions of the project.
“We look forward to continuing conversations with the City of West Hollywood, affordable housing advocates and our neighbors to make this housing a reality.”
However, this is not quite the end. The City Council will be given the Planning Commission's decision and have the final vote on a later date, according to the LA Times.