The Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously to block construction of a 222-unit apartment project proposed for the site of the now-demolished Monte Sano Hospital in Silver Lake.
The move came at the urging of a neighborhood organization, the Los Angeles school board and Councilman Michael Woo, whose 13th District includes the area.
The council rescinded the developer's exemption to a building moratorium on projects that exceed densities allowed in the community plan for Silver Lake-Echo Park. The plan would allow a maximum of 85 units on the 3.5-acre site at Glendale Boulevard and Waverly Drive.
"It was definitely out of scale," Barbara Miyamoto, Woo's field deputy, said of the rejected project.
The proposed three-story apartment project was something of a political hot potato.
The City Council granted the exemption to the developer, UIC Group, in January, 1985, on a motion by Councilwoman Peggy Stevenson, who then represented the 13th District.
But the neighborhood erupted in protest about potential traffic problems. Also, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, fearing that the project would worsen crowding at local schools, passed a resolution asking the council to reverse itself.
In February, 1985, at Stevenson's urging, the council suspended the exemption. Woo, who defeated Stevenson last April, promised to get UIC's exemption permanently rescinded. The council's vote Feb. 19 did that.
"We suffered a sizable loss because of that action," Gerald Ross, UIC senior vice president, said last week. He said it will not make economic sense for his firm to build a smaller project there. UIC reportedly has invested $3.9 million in the Silver Lake project.
Ross said his company has not decided what to do with the property, although several potential buyers have inquired about the land. He declined to identify the interested parties.
Miyamoto said a Japanese Buddhist group has expressed interest in buying the land to build a temple but that the group has not made an offer to UIC.
Meanwhile, another developer is planning a 240-unit residential project on a nearby 11-acre parcel along Riverside Drive between Glendale Boulevard and Fletcher Drive.