Monday, August 13, 2012

Under Review: East Hollywood Target Headed to Central Area Planning Commission [Updated]

The East Hollywood Target Project is back. And, uh, it looks almost exactly the same (and is requesting the exact same entitlements) as it did when it first reared its head back in 2009. The main change this time around is that City Planning and Target have prepared a full blown Environmental Impact Report, instead of the Mitigated Negative Declaration that the parties previously prepared. The questions remains though, will an EIR be enough to scare off Target’s litigious neighbors and finally get this project moving?

Item 4 (APCC-2008-2703-SPE-CUB-SPP-SPR) at Tuesday's Central Area Planning Commission Meeting is the consideration of the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Target Shopping Center project proposed for the corner of Sunset and Western (5520 Sunset Boulevard) in East Hollywood; as well as a number of discretionary approval requests, including several exceptions from the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan, a Site Plan Review, and a Conditional Use Permit for alcohol.

The Target Shopping Center project proposes to construct a 163,862 square foot Target store along with 30,887 square feet of other smaller retail, food, and associated uses in a 3-level (and up to 84 feet high) building. The first floor of the building would have retail (along both Sunset and Western) while the Target store itself would be located on the structure's third level. A total of 458 automobile parking spaces would be provided in two parking levels, on ground floor and one above ground.

Per the City Planning Department Staff Report (.pdf), the Target Shopping Center project is requesting:

  • Certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report
  • Relief from the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan requirement to provide free delivery of purchases made at the site by residents living in the Specific Plan Area.
  • Relief to allow a maximum building height of 84 feet above grade in lieu of the maximum permitted building height of 35 feet.
  • Relief to permit Target to provide 458 parking spaces in lieu of the maximum 390 parking spaces allowed by the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan.
  • Relief from various portions of the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan's Development Standards and Design Guidelines, including (1) an allowance for the entrance canopy and balconies, which are to be located within 15 feet of the property line along Sunset Avenue, to exceed the maximum permitted height of 30 feet; (2) relief from the requirement that the second floors along Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue be setback a minimum of ten feet from the first floor frontage; (3) relief to permit transparent building elements such as windows and doors to occupy approximately 24% of the ground floor fa├žade along St. Andrews Place in lieu of the minimum 50% building transparency otherwise required; (4) an exemption from the requirement that all roof lines in excess of 40 feet must be broken up through the use of gables, dormers, cut-outs or other means; and, (5) relief from the allowable hours of operation in order to allow store deliveries between the hours of 5AM and 12AM Monday through Sunday.
  • Approval of a Conditional Use to permit the sale of beer and wine for off-site consumption.
  • Approval of a Project Permit Compliance with the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan.
  • Approval of a Site Plan Review for a project that results in an increase of 50,000 gross square feet or more of nonresidential floor area and a net increase of over 1,000 average daily trips.

City Planning Department Staff is recommending the project be approved, with one minor change: That Target only be permitted to build to a maximum building height of 74 feet instead of the maximum building height of 84 feet that Target requested.

As this project is essentially the same project as was presented before, my criticisms of the project (and of City Planning) remain the same as I wrote in this post back in June 2010. Short version, for those who don’t like clicking links, is that the project (1) should not exceed 35 feet in height unless it is a mixed use residential and commercial building, (2) should be required to make it parking subterranean instead of above ground, and (3) should be only be permitted a maximum of 390 parking spaces so as to encourage as many customers as possible to bike, walk, or take transit to the store.

After this project was withdrawn in August 2010, I wrote that I hoped that Target would go back to the drawing board and design a building that better fit the goals, objectives, and vision of the Vermont/Western TOD Specific Plan. Target didn’t, so here we are stuck with the same ill-designed and ill-though-out project. This could have been a nice project if City Planning had stood firm for its own Specific Plan, and made Target hew to its terms. This is looking like a huge missed opportunity, as an thoughtful, innovative, and pedestrian friendly, building on this corner could be catalytic for East Hollywood and help drive the neighborhood to the next level.

Update: The Central Area Planning Commission approved (.pdf) the East Hollywood Target project, with the changes recommended by City Planning Department staff in the City Planning Department Staff Report (.pdf).


giosf said...

 I am a resident in the immediate vicinity of the proposed Target. I support their plan, as advertised, and would like them to build it.

You do not speak for me, nor do you speak for any of the many neighbors I have spoken to about this project. We want it, and we want it now. We are tired of the blight that has existed at this location and would respectfully request that you stop criticizing the project.  You do not speak for all of us when you say that you wish they had come up with a better plan, I like the plan, as do my neighbors. Please stop advocating for more delays as all it does in enrich the lawyers, and blogs like this, while those of us who live in this community and are forced every day to look at this eyesore sit back and wonder how such a small minority of our community can have the power to stop large projects like this that will benefit the community.

Do you even live in this community sir?

Darryl Ford said...

I do live in the community, thank you sir. And besides, never said that I spoke 

AmandaSigafoos said...

I also live in the neighborhood just a few blocks away and I would love to have this come! It would be amazing, and save a lot of driving time for me. I could walk there, or just hope on the bus for two blocks. I do wish Target would do something with the site in the meantime. It seems they are a company that embraces good design, perhaps they could work with a local design group or a non-profit to do some pop-up retail or offer it for a festival any case, this will be great!

giosf said...

I'll concede your first point and apologize for assuming you were yet another NIMBY.

Your second point is laughable. You want me to blame Target for delaying this project these last two years out of fear of lawsuits from our friends at The La Mirada Neighborhood Association? Sorry buddy, it sounds to me like your real problem is that you have a problem with big box stores. I'm going to go ahead and blame the NIMBY's and their lawsuits for delaying the continued rebirth of Hollywood. We're tired of looking at empty weed filled lots waiting for lawsuits to be resolved.

Whether you like it or not, there is overwhelming community support for this project, if you look at the Curbed LA article that links to your blog, you'll see support for is about 10 - 1. Rather than continuing to bitch about it, why don't you join our community and work positively toward getting this location improved. Yes, this is your blog, but you obviously have a readership and so your "one voice" has a tendency to hold a little more weight than the average Hollywood citizen.

I am heartened to hear you say that you know you do not speak for the community because you most certainly do not.

giosf said...

and blaming Target for the loss of jobs? Are you serious? How many years has this property been sitting there utilizes? How many construction workers could have used that work two years ago in the middle of the recession? How many years of wages have we lost for the people that could have been working in a finished site? How much lost tax revenue to the city was caused by this delay?

Blame Target. Dude, I'm a screaming liberal born and raised in San Francisco and that's a stretch.

guest 221 said...

I think that the point of this development, and any other development in any other city is Why do cities come up with plans if all a developmer has to do is pay in lieu fee's or whatever to get around them? I presume that these plans are drafted for the good of a particular location for a reason, but yet time and time again, in most of our cities across this nation, the rules are tossed out by the very people that are supposed to represent us! What a crock!

Darryl Ford said...

It may sound to you like I have a problem with Big Box stores, but my credit card company would strongly disagree with you. Me and Target go way back. Just got some T-Shirts there the other day in fact.

If you'd read any of my other posts on this project, you'd see that I've said time and time again that I would welcome a Target at this location. This project would have my wholehearted support if it met the requirements of the Specific Plan OR had some good justification as to why it should receive exceptions from the Specific Plan. To be clear, I'm not a big fan of the Specific Plan, but as long as the SNAP is the adopted Specific Plan for this area it should be respected.

Darryl Ford said...

Yes, I blame Target. And City Planning. And CD 13.

Target shouldn't have been so stupid as to try and get this project approved with a Mitigate Negative Declaration that they had to know was indefensible. They painted a huge CEQA bulls-eye on themselves and rightly got shot at. If Target had gone the EIR route the first time the damn project would be well on its way to completion and nobody would be complaining empty lots and lost wages.

Anybody with any sense could have seen a lawsuit coming from a mile away.

Mark Chavez said...

I cannot for the life of me understand why any member of the "community" would file a lawsuit to stop this project like the two nameless faceless people did last year!! I bet they live up in the friggin Hollywood Hills and laugh at us looking out from their 5 million dollar houses. Have you seen what is there now?!! It is a run down strip mall that is dirty, full of illegal aliens and has an aluminum fence around half of it. How could ANYONE have allowed two people stop this project from happening and allowing them to file a lawsuit to stop this amazes me?!!! This project would be a VAST improvement over what is there now! If I had the millions these two bozo's have to file frivolous lawsuits I could have sued them to get things back on track! Just goes to show you that the rich can get away with anything they want and we just have to suck it up and live with this run down piece of crap that is there now until they can get exactly what they want and how they want it .. PATHETIC!
This project will bring life back to the area ! WAKE UP! The heck with the height limits ... what will the building be blocking views of the smog? Seriously!

denny said...

As a resident on N. St. Andrews Place, above Sunset I'd like to demand a second traffic signal at the northern corner of Sunset at St. Andrews, with a second crosswalk. I'd also like to demand that workers at the Target and other associated stores (as well as those who work in the Sunset @ St. Andrews strip mall) not be permitted to park on the 1500 block of St. Andrews Pl. The neighbors have a tough enough time trying to park where we live. We have no off street parking available.

denny said...

p.s. I don't have a problem with the Target Store - it's just about the parking/traffic situation on St. Andrews.

Anonymous said...

I am an 83 year old woman who, when traveling on foot either West or East on Sunset Blvd, am inconvenienced by the necessity to reroute to the North side of Sunset for that one block which has been shut off to foot traffic due to the ongoing impasse. It is my wish that the La Mirada Association could put their talents and efforts into something more meaningful such as solving the homeless situation or perhaps reducing the national debt crisis.

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