Developers Say They’ll Drop Height Fight Over Condos
The developers of a controversial Woodland Hills condominium project, which neighboring homeowners contend is too tall, said Wednesday they will drop their fight in Los Angeles City Hall against city orders that may force them to lop the top off their building.
The decision came after the City Council approved a Planning Department recommendation that the height of the building at 20700 Ventura Blvd. should be limited to 45 feet. Los Angeles Building and Safety Department surveyors will measure the building during the next two weeks to determine if it is over that height.
Robert L. Glushion, a lawyer representing the developers, said that in a “worst-case scenario” the builder would have to reduce the height by two to three feet, which would result in adjustments to skylights and possibly several of the structure’s lofts.
The unanimous council action Wednesday, which must be approved by Mayor Tom Bradley, made moot a pending case before the Board of Zoning Appeals over the height issue, Glushion said.
Development partner James R. Gary had hoped that the zoning board would overturn a Planning Department decision that the site was covered by the 45-foot height limit and that a 75-foot limit shown on city maps was in error.
But independently of the ongoing zoning appeal, the Planning Department’s rulings won approval by the council’s Planning and Environment Committee and by the full council Wednesday.
The Board of Zoning Appeals still could have heard the case on its merits and possibly made an exception to the council-approved height limit at the site.
But Glushion said the fight wasn’t worth the effort because the developer is losing money by not being able to complete the building.
“Because we are only talking two or three feet, the economic reality is that the developer is going to work with Building and Safety and finish the building in accordance to the 45-foot limit,” Glushion said.
The height reduction was only a partial victory for homeowners. The City Council also approved a Planning Department ruling that a 134-foot greenbelt separating the condos from neighboring single-family homes was wide enough. The homeowners had contended that the greenbelt had been incorrectly measured.