A Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council committee gave an informal thumbs up on Thursday night to plans by Beverly Hills developer Raffi Cohen to build an eight-unit, small-lot subdivision in the community.
Cohen, principal of Galaxy Commercial Holding LLC, wants to raze two triplexes on a roughly quarter-acre lot at 15012-15020 Moorpark St. He would replace them with residences that look similar to townhomes but are actually detached units sold as single-family homes.
Cohen, 65, is a prominent developer, known for the 660,000-square-foot Figueroa Plaza office towers downtown and for high-profile, luxury condo projects in San Pedro and Beverly Hills.
The reception he got from the committee was positive. Sleek, modern architectural renderings designed by Hraztan Zeitlian, of Los Angeles-based Struere Architecture, were praised as “handsome” and the small scale of the project – designed specifically to fit in with the neighborhood – was called “exemplary.”
However, two speakers did raise concerns about lack of street parking on Moorpark, which is located one block north of busy Ventura Boulevard. Cohen’s project provides two-car garages for each unit but is not required to include space for visitor parking.
Lisa Petrus, a member of the neighborhood council, said she plans to circulate a petition calling for permitted parking on the street, which should alleviate congestion.
Ron Ziff, chairman of the land-use committee, noted that small-lot subdivisions are relatively simple to finance and sell, making them increasingly popular with developers.
“This is the third small-lot subdivision we’ve seen in the last year. Prior to that, we never saw them before,” he said.
Given the project’s small size, Cohen was not required to bring his plans before the committee, which on larger projects makes recommendations to city planners.
But in an interview after the meeting, Cohen said he wanted to gauge community support before doing any more work on the project.
“I started right here in Sherman Oaks in 1979,” he said, referencing an earlier project. “I never close escrow until I know if people like it. I don’t want to fight the residents.”
Cohen said Galaxy is in escrow to purchase the property, which is listed for sale for $2.4 million by Richard S. Comras, of Tarzana, according to real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc.
Cohen said he was pleased with the committee’s reaction and will bring back a more detailed version of his plans once escrow closes in about two months.