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How Many Hotels Does Village Need?

September 03, 1989

This is largely an answer to a letter from Dori Pye concerning the matter of a proposed new hotel in the Westwood Village.

The Westwood area is now surfeited with hotels. There are within the perimeter of the Westwood Map Plan 400 rooms, 300 adjoining the campus, 1,000 rooms in nearby Wilshire Boulevard hotels and perhaps a thousand more in nearby Century City. On Hilgard Avenue there is a super luxury hotel, the Westwood Marquis, immediately adjoining the campus.

Since 1986, in all the published reports of planning meetings, a hotel has never been named as an aim or goal of the proposed Westwood Plan. Even the Gruen plan mentions a hotel, not as needed to afford lodging for visitors to Westwood, but rather as a help to provide customers for struggling businesses in the village. Quoting Gruen in Companion Report, "Hotels provide a built-in 24-hour resident population in search of restaurants, entertainment and shopping." And again quoting Gruen, "Value of a hotel is to attract a diverse mix of evening users and to provide anchors for quality retail users."

Dori Pye does not even mention a need for a hotel to provide lodgings for visitors, but says a hotel "is needed to infuse new life into the community," to fill the empty stores and put new glass in shattered windows. A hotel should be built, in other words, to provide more customers for the struggling shopkeepers.

The effect of this business intrusion into a residential area would be to crucify the owners on the east side of Tiverton, by completely trashing the street. These owners bought their lots and invested their savings in improvements, in reliance on existing "residential" zoning on both sides of Tiverton.

All of the owners on Tiverton filed written protests against this zone change from residential to business. By the arbitrary action of a commission, they are threatened with having one side of their street zoned for business. Instead of facing residential buildings with green lawns and landscaping, they are facing directly into the back end of a hotel with all the business shops that go with it.

Rezoning to allow a hotel is contrary to the very aims of the replanning process, i.e. reduction of traffic, of apartment density, and reduction in height limit. The hotel would go up six stories, and portions would be 80 feet high.

One need not cry over the difficulties of Nansay Corp. They embarked on drawing hotel plans knowing full well that the law limits the number of hotel rooms in the village to 350, and also knowing that a very large hotel already exists immediately across the street from their proposed hotel site.

They should also know that during the hearings on the plan, serious objections were raised as to the legality of this zone change from residential to business on one side of the street. This zone change will most likely be challenged in the courts.

CHARLES B. OLERICH

Los Angeles

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