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WINDSOR SQUARE : Temple Case Goes Before Zoning Board

March 21, 1993|MARY HELEN BERG

A public hearing Thursday will determine whether the Scottish Rite Cathedral Assn. is violating its agreement with the city that specifies how the group can operate its temple at 4357 Wilshire Blvd.

Councilman John Ferraro requested the hearing before the city zoning board after neighbors complained that the 1,700-seat auditorium of the Scottish Rite Temple was being rented to profit-making groups, violating zoning restrictions and creating parking problems.

Bruce Nahin, legal counsel for the temple, said the group is following its agreement with the city and that parking was a "non-issue."

"We don't see ourselves as a burden on the community, we see ourselves as an asset," Nahin said.

The temple complex, which has dominated the block on the north side of Wilshire Boulevard since 1962, borders the Windsor Square neighborhood.

The temple is headquarters for a branch of the Freemasons, a Masonic order that promotes mutual assistance and brotherly love among its members. The building also houses a center for children with learning disabilities.

Under its agreement with the city, the temple may rent its facilities "to nonprofit organizations and/or private parties who are affiliated with the lodge."

In past years, the temple has been cited for violations of its permit, such as allowing retail sales of antiques on the property.

Neighbors have been complaining for more than a decade about parking, noise and trash problems created when parking for lodge events overflows onto nearby streets, said Mike Cornwell president of the Windsor Square Assn., a group representing 1,000 homes.

Nahin said the temple is planning to augment its 300-space parking lot with space at a nearby church and theater.

The hearing will begin at 12:30 p.m. at City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., Room 561-A.

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