Trustees of a Los Feliz house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright have appealed a city decision that would ban the leasing of the landmark residence for parties and tours.
The Trust for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, owner of the Ennis-Brown house at 2655 Glendower Ave., filed an appeal last week with the Los Angeles Board of Zoning Appeals, asking that the nonprofit organization be allowed to raise funds for restoration of the house by leasing it for parties and charging admission for public tours.
The trust said in its appeal that, if a variance is granted, it will limit parties to once a month but continue to conduct public tours six times a year. In addition, trustees said, shuttle transportation from a commercial parking lot away from the neighborhood will be provided for parties with more than 35 invited guests.
Trustees also offered to ban parties on Sundays and eliminate outdoor rock bands.
Zoning administrator Jack Sedwick ruled last month that tours and parties constitute a commercial use of the property that is illegal in the residential neighborhood. He agreed with neighbors in the wealthy hilltop area who said that the parties and tours have created noise, parking and traffic problems.
Trustee and architect Eric Lloyd Wright, grandson of the late architect, has said that the fund-raising events are the only way to raise about $500,000 needed to fully restore the house. If the money is not raised, he said, the house will suffer irreversible damage within five years.
The 7,000-square-foot, two-bedroom house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been declared a Cultural Heritage Monument by the Los Angeles City Council. It is one of eight houses in Los Angeles designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Former owner and live-in caretaker G. Oliver Brown said Monday that the trust will continue to conduct tours and hold social functions pending the appeal. "Our feeling is that we are not in violation of the city codes," he said.
Sedwick said the filing of an appeal does not grant the trust permission to continue fund-raising activities at the house while the matter is pending. He said he did not know if the city would cite the owner of the house, however.
Officials of the city Building and Safety Department, which enforces land-use laws, said they cite properties only if they receive specific complaints.
A hearing is expected to be scheduled in late December or early next year, Sedwick said.