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Excess Preservation

March 17, 1991

The article on preservation vs. development at the Warner Bros. studio (Times, March 7) raises some important issues.

I have total appreciation for efforts to preserve various cultural landmarks, but our oversensitivity to such preservation can turn appreciation into deterioration.

West Hollywood city officials are calling Warner Bros. long-range plan a "wish list." By this statement I am assuming they are planning to mutilate that wish list. Fortunately, the city officials' own "wish list" for an elaborate civic center in West Hollywood Park was mutilated by the voters. I'm confident these officials are broad-minded enough not to take out their loss on a major facility that contributes so much to our city economically, historically and socially.

West Hollywood has only one major studio, the Warner Bros. facility. Although the city should not be asked to give Warner Bros. carte blanche to develop, it should make exceptions and concessions and limit its demands for preservation if Warners' plans are within reason.

One of the hottest issues now is whether Warners should be allowed to tear down the Formosa Cafe. I think other buildings within the Warner Bros. complex can be incorporated into their expansion program for adequate historical preservation, without preserving this particular eyesore. The mementos contained within the facility could be relocated.

The city's Cultural Heritage Preservation Board will soon be hearing the petition to declare this restaurant and bar a landmark. I hope the board will take progress into consideration. Otherwise, we can become known as Landmark City, with historical sites that do not generate revenues for the city.

The survival of any city depends on its leaders promoting progress, and due to the heavy competition in Los Angeles County, an expansion by Warner Bros. into a state-of-the-art facility is essential if it is to survive and continue to benefit the city.

MEL WICK

West Hollywood

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