Well over 100 people filled room 219 in City Hall On Thursday night, November 16th for a special planning and zoning board appeals meeting to determine the future use for 2727 Johnson Street, former home of the old Sunset Golf Course.
At the heart of the debate was the proposed Hollywood Adventures Park, a multifaceted park intended to provide a variety of active and passive sports for kids and adults, from walking paths to paintball. On one side of the fence is Richgreen LP -Richmound Italia, the owner of the property, who has so far invested a reported 4 million dollars in testing and planning to meet city requirements for this type of a business. In this venture, they are partnering with Giovanni D’Egidio owner partner of Hollywood Adventures Park LLC, already a successful operator of a similar concern in Los Angeles, who is empowered to speak on behalf of the property owner.
Vocally opposing the plan is the North Central Hollywood Civic Association, citing that residents do not want a paintball facility in the middle of their neighborhood.
The argument seemed to come down to a game of semantics rather than a discussion of what would be best for the city and its residents.
The parcel is currently zoned “OS” Open Space District which is described as follows:
District Purpose: This district is intended to provide standards for privately owned uses which are characterized by large open spaces. The intent is to preserve and protect areas having natural beauty and to mitigate the effects of development on the environment.
Main Permitted Uses: Privately owned fields, undeveloped lands, landscaped recreation areas, bodies of water, campgrounds and similar uses.
Special Exception: Cemeteries
Accessory Uses: Any use that is customarily associated with the main permitted use.
The decision against the Hollywood Adventures Park, by city Planning Manager Leslie DelMonte, and upheld in the special meeting, said that
“The proposed site plan cannot be evaluated for compliance, as the intensity of the proposed use does not meet the intent of the Zoning district as outlined in the Zoning and Land Development Regulations.”
Also, two members of the boards, who had been openly opposed to the project, refused to recuse themselves from the vote, claiming that their personal opinions would not get in the way of their objectivity on the vote.
Attendees in the courtroom appeared to be about evenly split for and against the development. A survey conducted by Mr. D’Egidio shows that a strong majority of residents are actually in favor of the park and the many benefits being offered to the locals.
Meanwhile, the site itself remains in some disrepair, especially after some damage from Hurricane Irma. The proposed park would add trees and the current plan should greatly improve the appearance of the site from the street view. No sports activity would be visible from the street.
The board has approved the use of the land for either a campground or a cemetery. Company spokeman D’Egidio explains that a campground would be open 24/7 and bring in many outsiders, as opposed to the park which would only be open during non school hours, except for private events, and would not benefit Hollywood residents nearly as much. Both options are being explored by the owner of the property.
This story is clearly ongoing and the Hollywood Gazette will continue to follow it and keep you updated.