Panel Heeds Residents, Rejects Bid for Motor Inn

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission voted 4 to 0 last week to deny a local developer permission to build a 112-room motor inn in the Baldwin Hills area, after numerous homeowners complained that the project would lower property values and become a haven for drugs and prostitution.

Nearly 200 residents from Baldwin Hills, View Park and Windsor Hills crowded the hearing room in the county Hall of Records on Thursday to voice opposition to the proposal to build the two-story Buena Vista Motor Inn at 5105 Overhill Drive.

Attorney Joshua Kaplan, a spokesman for the developer, A. H. K. Development of Los Angeles, told the commission that the $4-million project was being stereotyped.

'Not a Cheap Motel'

"This is not going to be a cheap motel with short-time rates and transient occupants," he said. "It is not a motel, it is a motor inn."

Kaplan, who presented the commission with a petition with 43 signatures in support of the project, said a motor inn caters to a "higher-end" clientele than a motel.

In response to the community's concerns, he said the owners were willing to hire a full-time security guard, prohibit short-time rates and work to alleviate traffic congestion caused by the project.

"There may well be motels in the area which have bad reputations, but that should not tarnish our reputation," Kaplan said.

The 1.76-acre parcel is located at the top of a hill near a busy intersection where Overhill, Stocker Street and La Brea Avenue meet. The site is across the street from Windsor Hills Elementary School and surrounded by homes.

'Don't Need' Motel

"Everybody knows what urban motels located away from major transportation terminals are all about," said Victor M. Parker, president of the United Homeowners Assn. of View Park and Windsor Hills.

"We all know the kind of undesirable element they attract," Parker said. "Who is the developer building this motel for? Certainly not the people in the community. We don't need one."

Parker warned that the approval of the motel "could very well create more than just a simple undesirable motel, it could create a strip along La Brea where drugs, prostitution and who knows what else can take hold and threaten everything this community stands for."

Assemblywoman Gwen Moore (D-Los Angeles), whose district includes the property, said the construction of a motor inn on the site "would not be compatible" with the surrounding middle- to upper-income community.

She presented the commissioners a petition with 150 signatures opposed to the project.

The commission denied a similar request last year by the developer to build a six-story hotel on the same site. The same developer received commission approval in 1980 to build 35 condominium units on the site, but that project was not considered financially sound, Kaplan said.

Commissioner Sadie B. Clark moved to deny the permit based on the overwhelming community opposition to the motel.

She also asked the staff to prepare a zoning change to prevent the proposal from coming back before the commission.

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