The Laurel Ave estate. could welcome artists in residence

“Tara” at 1343 N. Laurel. (Photo by Jon Viscott)

The 102-year-old estate on Laurel Ave. could one day be a home for artists in residence as the WeHo Historic Preservation Commission reviews plans this week for the future of the property.

The house at 1343 Laurel was built in 1917 and was designated a Local Cultural Resource in 1994. The front and side yards of the property have been used as a public park since 2011.

Elsie Weisman donated the 7,000 square foot house and surrounding property to the city in 1997 with the verbal stipulation that the property will not be developed. Although Weisman never put this stipulation in writing, the late council member Sal Guarriello, who was mayor at the time of the transfer of ownership, confirmed that it was Weisman’s wishes during a council meeting in 2006. .

By then the city had moved forward with plans to construct two buildings with 21 units plus underground parking at the rear of the property and also turn the main house and driver’s house into seven additional units for a total of 28 apartments on the property. The city had even received a $4.2 million grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to build the project.

However, Weisman’s son, Richard Weisman, as well as Allegra Allison, a longtime resident of the house affectionately known as “Tara” (because that was the name of the house in the house’s favorite movie Elsie Weisman, “Gone with the Wind”), filed a lawsuit against the city.

That lawsuit went all the way to the California Supreme Court, which in 2008 ruled that the city had failed to get enough public comment on the project. The city had already applied for the HUD grant before holding the first public meeting regarding the property; therefore, the court ruled that the public process was only a justification for a predetermined decision.

In 2019, City Council approved the completion of a feasibility study into possible uses for Laurel House. On Tuesday, Historic Preservation will review the most recent plans for the property, which include:

  • renovating the first floor of the main house and grounds to support an art gallery and community gathering space.
  • repurpose garage space into artist studios or performing arts rehearsal spaces.
  • renovate the outdoor grounds to create a small performance hall and/or a sculpture garden.
  • renovate and designate the second floor of the main house into four unique artist-in-residence accommodations.
  • study the feasibility of relocating the City archives in the carriage shed and integrating a reading room there
  • continue to maintain the passive dog area as part of the overall site design

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

To participate by providing a Electronic commentary:

To better facilitate the remote meeting, members of the public wishing to comment on matters before the Historic Preservation Commission are strongly encouraged to email [email protected] no later than 2:00 p.m. on the day of the historic preservation commission. Historic Preservation Commission.

***Your comments and information will become part of the official public record. If you do not want your personal information included in the official record, please do not include your address and/or telephone number***.

To note: Electronic comments received by 2:00 p.m.. will be forwarded to the Historic Preservation Commission and posted on the City’s website as part of the official minutes of the meeting.

To participate by providing public comments over the phone: This option is to provide public comments via Phone ONLY.

1. You are strongly encouraged to email [email protected] prior to the Historic Preservation Commission meeting to be added to the list of public speakers for the meeting.

Please include your name, phone number from where you will call, and what element you would like to talk about.

2. Call 10 minutes before the start of the meeting (meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.)

You will be put on hold in the virtual waiting room until it is your turn to speak.

Call: 669-900-6833

Meeting ID: 819 9763 5009#

3. Please mute your phone until you are called to speak. Public comments are limited to 3 minutes per speaker.

4. You can participate and view the meeting via the Zoom platform:

When you enter the meeting, be sure to turn off your video and mute the sound.

If you would like to make a public comment, please use the Zoom app’s “raise hands” feature. You will be called at the appropriate time. Please enable your video and audio to make your comment public. Please join the Zoom meeting here:

· HPC MEETING ZOOM LINK

To comply with the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 If special assistance to attend this meeting is required (for example, an American Sign Language interpreter for those who are deaf or hard of hearing), you must call or submit your request by write to the City Clerk’s office at (323) 848-6409 at least 48 hours before the meeting. The City TTY line is (323) 848-6417.

Written materials distributed to the Historic Preservation Commission within 72 hours of the Historic Preservation Commission meeting are available for public inspection immediately upon distribution to the Department of Planning and Development Services, please submit electronic requests to [email protected] weho.org during normal business hours or contact HPC Secretary, Sharita Houston at [email protected]

This agenda has been posted at: City Hall, Plummer Park and West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. For more information on any item listed below, please contact Senior Planner, Doug Vu, HPC Liaison at ([email protected]) (323) 848-3120.

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