The Power is Now

Op-Ed: It’s time to give back the free real estate – WEHOville

By Peter Clark

Isn’t it time for the bars and restaurants to give back the free real estate to the city and the taxpayers who own it.

The so-called “pent up demand” has dissipated. The photos attached show business on Friday night (about 10:30pm) and Sunday Funday (about 5:00pm). There is plenty of unused capacity both within and outside of the venues.
Some businesses are remaining closed for business on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays because they can make up the revenue on the weekend utilizing this free real estate. This causes less employment on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, while creating more chaos on the weekend.

This is at the expense of hundreds of citywide lost parking meter spaces, unfair disability access to sidewalks (while also having to navigate discarded scooters), not being able to drive on Robertson Blvd. for 36 hours per week (including tens of thousands of dollars in parking enforcement personneltime), and go-go boxes on the sidewalk (on the corner of Rocco’s). More venues are finishing their new build-outs which will add even more capacity once completed. They would not be doing this if their business plans did not support the additional compensation. Is the use of extra free real estate a part of their business plans?

The taxpayers/owners of West Hollywood have been supportive in getting businesses active again, however in exchange we have received higher prices at those bar/restaurant venues, less parking, more traffic and the loss of typical enjoyment of life types of benefits. Have we thrown away all important zoning requirements that the city has developed?

Without supervisionand rules that are fair to everyone, it will always be the case to abuse the situation. Rocco’s has installed the equivalentof a corner billboard during Pride month without typical billboard permission and they are hopeful that it will remain “under the radar” forever because they hope that some of councilmembers will think that it looks cute. After all, isn’t it easier to ask forgivenessthan permission.

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