By Roxanne Brown – Member, Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset
Hopefully, you’ve been following the Beachheads’ monthly updates on Fran Camaj’s (owner of Gjelina’s) proposed conversion from office to bakery to restaurant project at 320 Sunset Avenue, in Venice.
Here’s the latest. On October 3, LA.Eater.com stated: “Gjusta, the anticipated bakery from Venice’s popular Gjelina’s, is near completion, with an opening slated for October 13.”
On October 9, craigslist.org posted: “Gjelina Group is currently seeking qualified Prep and Line Cooks to join our team in our new location, Gjusta, in Venice.”
Gjusta, the “bakery” didn’t open. Because, it appears a full-blown restaurant has been built (using a bakery building permit) at 320 Sunset. It seems the “fakery” is lurking behind brown paper covered windows at 320 Sunset – recruiting prep and line cooks.
The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) and Venice’s Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) denied 320 Sunset’s proposed conversion from bakery to restaurant. Next stop is the Zoning Administration.
In the Zoning Administration’s document of September 4, 2014, they note: “The zoning administrator indicated her concern with how the applications were filed and concurred with speakers who felt that there was a lack of transparency involving the building permit application process in which the project was described as a bakery with retail and now it was described as a restaurant serving alcohol with a baker and retail component.”
“On July 28, LADBS issued a Certificate of Occupancy (permit No. 13106-10000-07038) for a change of use from office to a 4,116.2 square-foot bakery with a 559 square-foot retail use.”
“There have been three site plans submitted as part of the subject application, but the Master Land Use application and findings of fact have not been amended. The plot plan submitted for the VSO and building permits differ from what was submitted with the MLUA making it impossible to reconcile what has been approved with what is currently requested.”
Which leads us to the ZONING ADMINISTRATION HEARING
Residents within a 500-foot radius of 320 Sunset should have received a NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING.
This hearing is regarding the change of use from bakery “to permit the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption and the off-site sales of beer and wine only, in conjunction with a 5,008 square-foot restaurant, with service area of 717 square feet, with seating for 87 patrons total (22 indoors, and 65 with outdoor patio on private property) and hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday through Saturday.”
ZONING ADMINISTRATION HEARING
WEST LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL BUILDING
SECOND FLOOR HEARING ROOM
1645 CORINTH AVENUE
LOS ANGELES, CA 90025
DATE: NOVEMBER 13, 2014 – THURSDAY
TIME: 10:30 A.M. – Please note – “The exact time this report will be considered during the meeting is uncertain since there may be several other items on the agenda.” While waiting, you may want to review a typed copy of what you want to say, and give a copy to the Zoning Administration.
WRITTEN COMMUNICATION MAY BE MAILED to:
THE LOS CITY PLANNING DEPARTMENT
OFICE OF ZONING ADMINISTRATION
200 N. SPRING STREET
LOS ANGELES, CA 90012
ATTN: JOJO PEWSAWANG – CASE ZA 2013-3376(CDP)(CUB)(SPP)
Or EMAIL TO:
JOJO PEWSAWANG – email@example.com
Reference: CASE ZA 2013-3376(CDP)(CUB)(SPP)
REMEMBER: Correspondence must be received prior to November 13. All correspondence must reference the case number and the address, 320 Sunset. Note in your letter that you “request my letter be printed and placed on record in the file for CASE ZA 2013-3376(CDP) (CUB)(SPP). Keep all copies of your correspondence and/or give a copy to your neighborhood association. We need to have a record.
Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset believe that the Zoning Administration is aware of the alleged deception and alleged bad behaviors that have taken place at Gjelina’s Abbot Kinney location over the past seven years, documented in the press and a 150 plus page lawsuit.
The focus at the hearing must be on why a restaurant does not belong at 320 Sunset. Many people have outlined that in their letters to the Alcohol and Beverage Control Board. It’s been outlined in many of the previous Beachheads.
It appears Camaj, Gjelina’s and Gjusta’s owner, wants to basically make Gjusta in Gjelina’s image with a bit of a modification that would significantly and negatively impact the residents near 320 Sunset.
Gjelina’s restaurant on Abbott Kinney seats 65 inside and 25 outside. Those 25 outside have kept neighbors up in arms and complaining about the noise, nuisance, and disruption to the peace and quiet of their neighborhood for the past seven years. Knowing that 25 people in an outdoor area can do that much damage, Camaj wants to put 65 on an outdoor patio at 320 Sunset.
Gjusta at 320 Sunset will be 12 feet 6 inches from residents – much closer to residents than Gjelina’s on Abbot Kinney. 320 Sunset is in Oakwood – a residential neighborhood with more children, more elderly residents. Sunset is a narrower street than Abbott Kinney and a coastal access route.
VNC and LUPC recommend 320 Sunset adhere to its present Certificate of Occupancy – Bakery with Retail – No Seating. That fits with the neighborhood, since the last tenants at 320 Sunset were 6 architects. Camaj’s application for Certificate of Occupancy claimed there would be no increase in occupant load, vehicle trips or increase in parking.
A restaurant seating 87 – plus 30 customers getting take out – plus 30 employees – plus more people waiting to get in – plus vendors, maintenance, delivery people – plus all their vehicles certainly is a HUGE and VAST increase in occupant load, vehicle trips and increase in parking congestion. It certainly will change the character of the neighborhood and create a nuisance with lots of noise accompanied by bad behavior when you add alcohol, disturbing the environment and peace and quiet of Venice’s historic Oakwood neighborhood.
Attend the Zoning Administration meeting – write to Zoning. Let your voice be heard.
P.S. Last minute update to the update: We hear Gjusta’s parking lot will now enter/exit on both Sunset and the alley between Sunset and Vernon. Yes, that’s the 12 foot 6 inch alley with blind corners, next to residents’ homes.