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Smaller Version of Project Preferred by Planners : Hotel Would Add to Westwood Congestion, Study Says

December 29, 1985|BARBARA BAIRD | Times Staff Writer

A proposed 14-story hotel at Wilshire Boulevard and Gayley Avenue would generate significantly more traffic in the already congested Westwood area, according to an environmental analysis just released by the city Planning Department.

The final environmental report estimates that the project would generate 2,260 vehicle trips a day in busy Westwood.

City Council Decision

The report states that of several other possible uses for the half-acre site, a hotel 25% smaller would have less effect on traffic and air quality and would be "environmentally superior" to the proposed project.

A decision on the Murdock Development Co. hotel proposal ultimately will be made by the City Council, according to Mas Matoi, a city planner who helped prepare the environmental analysis.

The 14-story hotel, about 175 feet tall, would substantially exceed the city's height limit of 75 feet for the site, Matoi said. In order to proceed, the developer will have to obtain changes in zoning and in the height limit, he said.

In addition, the developer will have to obtain exemptions from the Westwood Specific Plan for the hotel, Matoi said.

Murdock, a Westwood-based development company, originally proposed a 12-story hotel on the northwest corner of Wilshire and Gayley. In January, the developer revised the proposal to 24 stories, which would have made it the tallest building in the Westwood Village section of Wilshire, planners said.

Then, after further design consideration, the proposal was scaled back to 14 stories, with 215 rooms and 215 parking spaces. The developer plans to provide a 90-foot setback from Wilshire.

Matoi said that since the first application, the city has passed a law requiring developers to pay for traffic improvements needed to compensate for the vehicle trips generated by their projects. This will be a substantial sum for the proposed Murdock project, he said.

The project has drawn fire from area homeowner groups, including the Friends of Westwood, which opposes the project because it will add considerable traffic to one of the busiest commercial centers in the city.

Gas Station, Car Rentals

Currently, a gas station and car rental office occupy the site.

The next step is for the developer to apply to the Planning Department for the zoning and height changes, Matoi said, and these proposals then will be submitted to the Planning Commission and the Los Angeles City Council. The hearing dates have not been set, he said.

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