CITY HALL — A popular sports bar on Wilshire Boulevard will be cutting back its hours and could have to turn people away even though there may be empty seats after neighbors expressed frustrations with the behavior of patrons and the noise the establishment creates.
The Planning Commission last week ordered owners of The Parlor, located at 1519 Wilshire Blvd., to decrease the hours of operation, bringing the 2 a.m. weekend closing to midnight and weekday closing to 11 p.m. The commissioners are also requiring the current valet cost — $5.50 a car, according to co-owner Ike Pyun — to $2 or less, to compete with the cheaper city-owned parking lot in the rear of the building.
The decision came as the commission considered allowing the restaurant to remain in operation despite not having the proper number of on-site parking spaces for a restaurant.
Currently, The Parlor operates as a sports bar and restaurant with seating for 255, and requires 48 on-site parking spaces.
When Pyun and his co-owner Silas Gaither went to City Hall to obtain the right to use the second floor of the bar, which was already in use, they were told they needed 48 on-site spaces to allow the two floors to operate — the off-site parking approval given to the property in 1980 had expired over 20 years ago.
Neighbors, who said they have been frustrated with the decreased quality of life due to The Parlor for some time, took the opportunity to bring their frustrations to the commission, which in turn restricted The Parlor’s operations.
Many of the complaints had to do with patrons who use the city-owned lot behind the restaurant. Pyun said security staff watch the lot on busy nights, but neighbors said the noise disturbs them, and that security have not stopped patrons from trespassing on their property and urinating in yards.
Two neighbors presented petitions to the commission. One supported the variance and use permit, but residents were still concerned with the enforcement of the conditions required by City Hall.
Other neighbors stood up in support of The Parlor’s atmosphere and operations, calling it a community establishment.
The owners addressed concerns, explaining that they have six security staff on duty on busy nights and have posted signs asking patrons to be mindful of neighbors. Pyun said he lives near the restaurant, adjacent to the city-owned parking lot which residents say is the site of a lot of the rowdy behavior. He told the commissioners that if he hears noise, he calls the managers on duty to ensure security is alerted.
Commissioner Jim Ries said he did not want to shut down the business, but added that “there are too many problems” to not impose changes on the way the business is currently run.
The stipulations by the commissioners include limiting the hours of operation, charging less for valet service to alleviate parking in the city-owned lot, reducing in the seating occupancy to 135 (while still using the two floors), and possibly putting in a window on the open balcony on the second floor, where a lot of music and noise escapes.
The owners will also have to reappear before the planning commission after filing a report in 90 days outlining how they have met those conditions. The commissioners will then consider whether to allow the increased seating occupancy, up to 225, or to revoke their permits and put The Parlor out of business. City staff pointed out that the planning commission has never successfully revoked a permit, putting a business out.
The approval passed 4-1, with Hank Koning, acting commissioner chair, dissenting largely because of the reduced occupancy requirement.
With the approval, The Parlor is now deemed a “restaurant” by City Hall and will follow different guidelines, including the requirement of a food order with a drink order — even at the bar — and limits alcohol sales to no more than 35 percent of the total gross revenue, among other stipulations.
Oncology center gets new design<p>
A new design for a building, slated to house Santa Monica-UCLA’s oncology and outpatient surgery center, was approved by the planning commission Wednesday.
When the project was first presented to the commission on May 20, the “design got beat up pretty badly,” said property owner Randy Miller at Wednesday’s meeting. At that meeting, the commission suggested to add better landscaping, more solar panels on the roof, bicycle and motorcycle space in the garage, and a third-story floor plan, as well as switch to one driveway to the garage.
The new architect of the building, Michael W. Folonis Architects, presented a new design for the three-story, 45,000-square-foot building.
“Everything that I had issue with has been significantly addressed,” said Commissioner Jay Johnson, referring to a less boxy design, lighter façade, additional landscaping and other changes.
The building will also house 44 new commercial units to be used a medical office space. Commissioner Ries was concerned that if these were ever sold individually, unwelcome businesses could lease the space. Miller reassured the commission that the building would be used for medical use only, and that this requirement would follow the property if sold.
Santa Monica’s UCLA Medical Center is slated to lease the building for 25-30 years.
The building has also applied for LEED certification, supported by its use of natural light, the automated garage parking system and the solar panels that will cover a large part of the building’s roof. The garage will be used in the evenings by residents who purchase a monthly parking pass.
The commission unanimously approved the design, with recommendations regarding parking costs, an additional stairway and the use of the commercial spaces.