A developer who mistakenly demolished a Sherman Oaks restaurant that it was remodeling will be prohibited from rebuilding until the firm finds extra parking space for future diners, Los Angeles city officials have ruled.
The city's Building and Safety Commission voted 5-0 Tuesday to uphold revocation of the remodeling permit for the defunct Stromboli's Restaurant, 14670 Ventura Blvd.
The action will require the new owners of the site to find 28 parking spaces within 700 feet before they can resume construction of an upscale, 94-seat Japanese restaurant.
5 Parking Spaces
Under the city's remodeling requirements, Kamadoya USA, the developer, would have been permitted to operate with only five parking spaces. That amount of parking was also all that had been required for the former Italian restaurant.
Current city requirements for Sherman Oaks mandate 33 parking spaces for a new restaurant, which officials decided the Japanese restaurant will be.
Valet parking will be allowed, provided the lot is within 700 feet of the restaurant and an agreement guaranteeing the lot's availability is recorded with city officials, said Jan Bear, the commission's secretary.
The unauthorized demolition was discovered last fall by leaders of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn.
"It didn't look like a remodeling project," said Fred Kramer, a director of the association. "It looked like a construction project."
Bruce Miller, a consultant representing Kamadoya USA, described the demolition as an innocent blunder. He said the developer plans to serve French-Japanese food at the restaurant, to be called "Capitaine."
Miller said the project was the Japanese company's first U.S. development. "They were relying on the professionalism of people they hired," he said. "There was no intent to circumvent the laws, just to be good neighbors."
He said structural damage from the Oct. 1 earthquake occurred because the old restaurant's roof was off and being replaced. The unsupported walls cracked, prompting workers to tear them down.
"They were right at the limit of what they could tear out when the earthquake came," Bear acknowledged. "The earthquake pushed them over."