At its February 22 meeting, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission signed off on a proposal to redevelop the site of a shuttered Sizzler restaurant in Lake Balboa with a mixed-use apartment complex.

Aerial view looking southeastAlajajian Marcoosi Architects

The proposed development from Lion Signature, Inc., slated for a roughly 50,000-square-foot site at 16949-16955 Sherman Way, calls for the construction of a new four-story structure featuring 111 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments above approximately 4,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. A garage with more than 160 parking stalls would sit in two subterranean levels below the building.

The City Planning Commission hearing considered a request for a zone change to permit the housing on what is now a parking-only area at the northern side of the site. That makes the project subject to the rules of Measure JJJ, which requires that developments seeking general plan amendments and zone change set aside a certain number of residential units as on-site affordable housing. In the case of the Sherman Way development, 13 of the new apartments would be set aside for rent as very low-income affordable housing.

Alajajian Marcoosi Architects is designing the contemporary mixed-use complex, which would have an exterior of painted plaster, composite wood panels, and metal siding. Plans show an E-shaped footprint, creating space for a pair of small courtyards at the ground level. Additional amenity space would be provided at the rooftop.

16955 Sherman WayGoogle Maps

Although not faced with an appeal, the project was nonetheless the subject of vocal opposition by several commenters identifying themselves as residents and homeowners of the surrounding neighborhood. They expressed concerns regarding a loss of privacy, increased traffic, and a loss of parking, as well as the scale of the building. Likewise, a representative of City Councilmember Imelda Padilla, having already asked for a continuance to permit additional dialogue between the applicant and the neighbors, proposed at the hearing that the project height be reduced to three stories.

While the City Planning Commission's approval is a key step for the project, it is not finished with the entitlement process yet. A zone change will ultimately require the approval of the Los Angeles City Council.

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