At its meeting today, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted to approve plans from Thomas Safran & Associates to construct a senior affordable housing development next-door to Hollywood's historic Montecito apartments.

The proposed development, slated for a property at 6650 W. Franklin Avenue, calls for replacing a small courtyard and parking lot with a six-story building featuring 67 income-restricted senior apartments and one manager's apartment.  Plans call for a mix of studio and one-bedroom dwellings, in addition to a two-level, 57-car subterranean parking structure.

Withee Malcolm Architects is designing the project, which is called Montecito II.  The building takes its references its Art Deco neighbor by incorporating clean, vertical lines.  Floor plans also indicate that the project would include a small courtyard atop its podium deck.

The Montecito II will be physically connected to its historic neighbor by way of a new common lobby with shared amenities.  The Montecito, completed in the early 1930s, housed the likes of Ronald Reagan before it was transformed into a 118-unit senior apartment building by Thomas Safran & Associates in the 1980s.  The property is already on the National Register of Historic Places, and as of 2018, the building is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

Several residents of the Montecito spoke in opposition to the proposed development, lamenting the potential for noise and air pollutants during the course of construction and the loss of the Montecito's courtyard.  The courtyard, which was added to the property in the mid 20th century, is not protected bythe building's national and local landmark designations.

Another speaker, who identified herself as a manager of the building, spoke of receiving calls on a daily basis asking about the availability of affordable housing, and expressed exasperation that residents of subsidized affordable housing are opposing a project that would offer that opportunity to others.

The vote by the City Planning Commission endorses density bonus incentives requested by the developer, as well as a conditional use permit to exceed maximum allowable density at 6650 W. Franklin Avenue.  Additionally, Commissioners voted to adopt the findings of a Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment conducted for the project.  The SCEA process is a form of clearance under the California Environmental Quality Act available to high-density developments in close proximity to major transit stations.

The Montecito II project is located one block east of the intersection of Franklin and Highland Avenues, where a six-story, 118-unit apartment complex is now under construction.  Two blocks south, developer Jamison Services, Inc. is building a similar 224-unit project.

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