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The owner of a four-story residential home in West Hollywood has asked the city council for a change in zoning to a five-story commercial structure.
At Monday’s city council meeting, the owner of the property at 8532 West Knoll Dr. was seeking to modify the zoning ordinance, which was voted in favor by Councilmembers John Heilman and Abbe Land. However, the city council, according to Mayor John Duran, decided to defer the request to a meeting scheduled for June 20.
In recent weeks, residents living near 8532 West Knoll Dr. have expressed concern regarding the proposed land use change for the parcel. The proposed change was requested by the property owner to better accommodate possible future development projects that are in keeping with the General Plan’s overall land use goals.
The property owner in question is Ben Soroudi, of Soto Capital, who denied owning the property during a phone interview. But Duran, and attendees who were at the city council meeting, said Soroudi is the property owner.
According to Lynn Hoopingarner, vice president of the West Hollywood North Neighborhood Association (WHNNA), the very idea of changing a zoning ordinance for a specific property on a residential street is disturbing.
“All of us are befuddled why a random property would be granted a change in ordinance,” Hoopingarner said. “The house next door would be completely ensnared. It would wipe out a lot of the asset value for just one random property to get zoned for a five-story structure.”
Local resident Woody McBreairty, who attended Monday’s meeting and lives across the street from the house on West Knoll Drive, is also concerned that councilmembers would consider such a change in zoning.
“We need our housing much more than we need another giant development, which will also cut off our light and the views from our homes,” McBreairty said.
Local residents have speculated that the 8532 West Knoll Dr. property owner plans to tear down the house and use it for a new development project on the corner of West Knoll Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard, which abuts the Ramada Inn.
While residents are concerned, Duran said it seems the property owner is unsure of his actual plans. Hoopingarner also stated that the WHNNA has not been contacted about any potential development.
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