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Bobby Shrivers response to his vote to convert Apt to Hotel rooms

Illegal Hotel granted public parking for private use.
Illegal Hotel granted public parking for private use.
Wake-up Santa Monica Downtown and it's tourist are moving into your apartment/neighborhood and your rent controlled Apt is soon to be occupied by a tourist. And SMRR will do nothing to help you. 

What would you do if your Rent Controlled Apartment was granted a Hotel exemption and you got the BOOT so tourist could stay in the home you lived in for 25 or 35 years?

If you live in The Sovereign on 2nd and Washington, you should know the City is claiming it's a Hotel! 

Bobby Shrivers response to his vote to convert Apt to Hotel rooms. and my response back.
Dear Ms. Wilson-Hausle,
Thank you for your message, I’m sorry the hotel is disturbing you, but here are the facts: The Embassy opened at that location in 1927; the hotel use was grandfathered into the R-3 zone, which was established later. In 2000, half the hotel was converted into apartments, as part of an agreement with the city. In 2008, the building’s new owners told the city they were going to convert the apartments back to hotel rooms. 
To preserve rental housing, the city tried to stop them. But the owners sued the city, and the appellate court ruled that the owners had the right to convert the units. A 2010 settlement gave the remaining tenants four years to move out. The council unanimously approved this settlement to ensure that the tenants wouldn’t be evicted much sooner, which was likely to happen if the case went back to a trial court. Forgive me, as I fear I’m repeating what you have already been told, but that’s all there is to tell. We did the best we could, given the legal constraints.

Best,
Bobby

MY RESPONSE
Thursday 10:47am
FYI i have tracked down 3 Tenants who were present and spoke at the RCB meeting in 1980 when the Embassy was denied exemption as a hotel. All three lived there in 1979-1980 and are willing to testify it was an Apartment. And they had a association/group of tenant who worked together to protect the rights of the tenants. I find it appalling you are claiming it was a Hotel that converted 19 units into Apt in 2000. This new spin just fuels my fire.

Embassy/Palihouse Illegal Conversion Fact Sheet

*The Embassy Apartment conversion to full-scale Palihouse Hotel in an R3 residential neighborhood of Santa Monica is illegal. This illegal conversion and use sets a serious and dangerous precedence for both land use and renters rights in Santa Monica.

*1927 The Embassy Apartments were built. The 1927 building permit is for a Residential Apartment. The permit included the question: What type of business will operate in the building? The answer was: NONE. And at the time The Embassy was built in 1927 Property was zone residential, not commercial. Thus, the assertion it was built or operated, as a hotel is factually incorrect.

*1979 rent control is established.

*April 1980 the RCB denied the owner of The Embassy Apartments a Hotel Exemption based on the fact: The owner failed to provide evidence any units qualified as Hotel units. I am in contact with three tenants who spoke/testified at the hearing.

*All 38 units were registered with rent control and paid fees as residential Apartments for 20 years. This requires forms submitted under penalty of perjury that the units are used as residential occupancy. 

*All recorded sales with the county records office of the property are for a Residential Multifamily Apartments house. The new owner just recently had the parcel type changed to commercial but they purchased The Embassy as a Multifamily Residential building and parcel.

*There is evidence the Embassy was “illegally” renting a few units as hotel rooms. Done so without City authorization, a hotel business license or paying any Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on and off for several years. This is in direct violation of the rent control laws after the Hotel Exemption was denied in 1980 and the Owner failed to appeal.

*The Embassy had NO business license to operate as a hotel until 2008 and in fact its business license was for residential use prior to that time. 

*A 1992 independent review for California Park and Recreation identifies The Embassy as an Elegant Apartment Building used as Residential. There is NO mention of Hotel use.

In 1995 an overlay was created that grandfather “Legally Existing Hotels” in the R3 zone in which The Embassy sits. There is no mention or inclusion of the Embassy in the staff report in support of the overlay. In fact, the report identifies the hotels in the overlay zone and the Embassy is not one of them. No notice was given to any property owners or tenants located near the Embassy. The overlay does not apply The Embassy because it never “legally operated” as a Commercial Business Hotel. 

*In 1998 the City Planning Dept. sent the Embassy a letter to stop the use of residential units as Hotel rooms.

*In 1998 The Embassy Owners Attorney provide a statement that only 6 units were used for shot-term Hotel rentals. 

*In 2000 without public notice or a hearing the Embassy Owners and the City entered a settlement agreement (see attached). The 2000 agreement was the first step that slowly and illegally eroded away the residential status of the Embassy Apartments. The settlement included a provision to allow an illegal conversion of residential units. The compromise was 19 hotel units and 19 rent controlled units. NOTE: I believe this agreement violated the Brown Act.

*In 2003 the Embassy’s application to become a Historical Landmark it acknowledges its “Mixed Use” Character and argued the Embassy was primarily residential. And they supplied The State of California “HISTORIC RESOURCE INVETORY“ of the Embassy property. It was prepared in 1992 and identified the significance and evaluation of the Embassy property as an Elegant Apartment Building…..

The Attorney representing the Embassy included the following….
More particularly the interior of the Embassy generally consists of residential and guest unit corridors support spaces for the Embassy personnel and a lobby area that (unlike some hotel lobby areas) is not regularly open to the general public The Embassy lacks the type of public spaces commonly associated with hotels (as opposed to apartment hotels) such as restaurants banquet facilities, meeting rooms or a lobby that serves as a public gathering place. For the privacy of the Embassy’s Residents and guests, and in recognition of its mixed-use character as both a resident-serving and a visitor-serving facility the Embassy does not allow the general public access to any of its interior spaces.”

Thus, the Embassy abandoned all rights to run a full-scale hotel with a lobby lounge, restaurant, bar, and valet service.

*In 2008, the Embassy owners sued the City of Santa Monica to invalidate its 2000 settlement with the City so they could evict the tenants under the Ellis Act. 

*In 2010 the court on appeal invalidated the 2000 agreement. However, this finding by the court does not give the City or RCB the right to disregard the SMCC laws in order to settle a lawsuit. And that is exactly what the City and RCB did. 

In total disregard of SMCC zoning laws they entered into another settlement agreement that I believe is illegal. The 2011 agreement violates basic zoning laws to protect neighborhoods from illegal commercial hotel business expansion in residential zones. The 2011 SA also violates the Brown Act as there was no public notice or hearing on the matter. Thus no due process as required by law.

The RCB failed to follow basic requirement for hotel exemptions under Chapter 12 of the RCB laws. And, no effective Notice of this drastic change in use and mode of use of the property were given to the surrounding residents or property owners. RCB denied the Hotel Exemption issue in 1980 and the Owners failed to appeal the decision.

*2013 The City now claims the Embassy is a “permitted use” and the Hotel can expand and intensify its operation with Valet service, a restaurant café and bar for patrons and their guest. Effectively, destroying the peace quiet and enjoyment of the R3 neighborhood and eroding all SMRR has done for Renters Rights. 
The illegal conversion of the Embassy Apartments cannot and should not be ignored. Respecting our City zoning laws and protecting Renters Rights is the just and right thing to do.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

mimi February 03, 2014 at 03:17 PM
Laura - What's next on your agenda, the White House?
Kage25x February 04, 2014 at 10:20 AM
It's wrong whats happing to this town
ARIZKID February 04, 2014 at 11:15 AM
An you wonder why the city leader's (who work for us) are not paying attention to our needs? The new activism that is starting to sweep across this city because the quality of life is slowing choking us and examples mentioned above are starting to open the eyes of the residents of this stressed out city. If our elected leaders aren't up to the task, we need to step forward, and clean house.
mimi February 04, 2014 at 12:03 PM
Arizkid- If this is the new activism, you are misguided and silly.
Danielle Charney February 04, 2014 at 01:07 PM
Whatever Laura decides to take on- especially if it has to do with zoning - I am in total support- we are lucky to have Laura- her enthusiasm and hard work, smarts and relentless search for justice -very lucky -
mimi February 04, 2014 at 01:44 PM
I prefer Shriver's definition and application of the law.
Danielle Charney February 04, 2014 at 03:49 PM
and i prefer people who come out of the dark and use their real names and don't go around insulting people and belittling them constantly- you are no professional - you are a paid troll- if that - who cares what you think with your refusal to be real- hiding behind some made up identity- Bobby should be horrified that you agree with him- and how you put down those who actually take part in the community - how dare you -
Danielle Charney February 04, 2014 at 04:46 PM
Bobby Shriver, although he may have differring information, I am sure- respects anyones stepping up and being involved in the process- as both he and his family have always supported- aside from trolling around insulting and hiding mimi- to any smart woman who takes part - you have nothing but negative and vicious comments all the time- and that- the family of this city has no use for- come out and be who you really are- I dare you - or stop trolling- we all have much to learn and share but it wont' happen the way you do it
Danielle Charney February 04, 2014 at 04:48 PM
and also- how interesting mimi - that you "preferred" what Bobby said before he said it- you had no idea what he would say- none- you are so busted- calling people "silly" and humiliating people who do the work "take on the white house"- I suggest mimi- you take on a four point jacket and your meds and get a life- get involved- come out of hiding
mimi February 04, 2014 at 05:06 PM
Danielle--- Have you forgotten that you promised never to respond to my posts? You carried on like a raving lunatic a year ago because you didn't like my opinions. The editor deleted many of your comments and you were not allowed to post. Now that we have a new editor, you are back to your old habits.
ARIZKID February 04, 2014 at 05:07 PM
Danielle, couldn't have said it any better.
Nina David February 04, 2014 at 07:17 PM
I hope everybody realizes that this self serving individual is now going to run for supervisor in the district covering all the beach areas down the coast. He got on the Santa Monica City Council because he didn't want to conform to its hedge height requirements. Apparently six feet just doesn't do it for the very very rich. And with his name and his sister and the then governor, of course he won. I wouldn't vote for him under any circumstance, especially since he is planning to run against Sheila Kuel who was our assembly person and senator until she was termed out. She represented us well, and put in the time to learn the ins and out of government. He is just a power grabber.
Apolinaire February 05, 2014 at 10:08 AM
OMG - yes, Nina, five years we wasted our time in City Council Chambers arguing about the hedges. B.S. got what he wanted from the outset and the rest of us are still fighting for our rights under the newly written Hedge Ordinance. Is the Ordinance enforced? No. Look around, violations everywhere.
Nina David February 05, 2014 at 04:16 PM
I hope more people see this and realize that with Bobby Shriver as our Supervisor his concerns and votes will also be himself first.
mimi February 05, 2014 at 05:58 PM
I like Zelda From her Dobie Gillis days. If Sheila runs, she has my support.
Angelov, Ljubco February 06, 2014 at 05:59 PM
Bobby Shriver made us to recognize his divined power and got his back yard hedges to grow into the Haven, or higher into unlimited heights. It is hard to believe it, but you could just check the hedges ordinance, it is in writing...Bobby Shriver's own hedges could go up and higher than the sky, universe, unlimitedly high.. Than, he sold his magical hedges for $10,000 0000.00 more than the purchased price, and at 400% profit.

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