The West Hollywood Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved plans for a large mixed-use development on the city’s east side.
The Domain project will occupy land that housed a metal-plating factory at the 1.3-acre site on Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue.
According to a city planning staff report:
The existing Faith Plating facility, a sound editing studio, and associated surface parking lots would be replaced with a six-story building containing:
166 residential rental units (including 33 affordable inclusionary units);
9,300 square feet of ground level retail and restaurant uses;
35,000 square feet of open space;
and ground-level and subterranean parking containing 260 parking spaces.
Weho residents who spoke at the commission meeting expressed concern over the toxicity of the site, having accumulated decades of heavy-metal contamination in the topsoil, as well as the number of large projects slated for the city’s eastern section.
Prior to construction, which commissioners said won’t start for several years, the contaminated soil will be removed.
Commissioners and city staff members also said construction on nearby projects likely wouldn’t coincide with Domain.
Of the 22 residents who spoke during the two-hour hearing, most favored the project but worried about the removal of soil contaminated by heavy metals used by Faith Plating, which since 1935 had been one of the world’s largest replaters of chrome automobile bumpers.
“The level of contamination is not as extensive as once thought,” testified Joe Frey, founder of the Newport Beach-based Frey Environmental, Inc., which will be in charge of removing the contaminated soil. He said there will be no chance of spillage as they remove and transport the hazardous waste.
Frey explained the soil on the site was mostly clay, which is far less porous than sand. That means that very little of the toxic chemicals had seeped into the ground water. Tests indicate the contamination stops about 10 feet beneath the surface, he said.
Commissioner Roy Huebner assured the concerned residents that the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has stringent guidelines for the clean-up process.
Domain is one of several large-scale projects on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood’s east side, including the Movietown Plaza site and the former Carl’s Jr. location at the corner of La Brea Avenue.
Trammel Crow Residential will own Domain when it’s complete. Studio One Eleven of Long Beach is the architectural firm that designed the building.