West Hollywood is certainly having a big construction boom, but it's pretty wild that they're so gung-ho to build that not even a pesky nuisance like state law can keep projects from getting green-lit. According to WeHoville, designer Amit Apel was able to get approval from the West Hollywood planning commission to demolish three residences near the Sunset Strip to put up a four-story apartment building despite the fact that he is apparently not even a licensed architect. To his credit, Apel is an accomplished interior/exterior designer, but California law requires either a licensed architect, a licensed landscape architect or a licensed engineer for projects over two stories high or with more than four units.
Apel's plans called for tearing down a single-family unit and four-unit apartment at 948-950 San Vicente Boulevard as well as an eight-unit apartment building at 954 San Vicente. Both lots would then have been merged to put up a 20,000-square-foot, four-story, 18-unit apartment building.
The project made it through the planning commission, but (licensed) architect, Ed Levin, cried foul at a West Hollywood city council meeting on Tuesday night. Levin asked the City Council to pull the plug on Apel's project and advocated for a change in procedure to allow for checks on licensing before future projects are approved.
What's worse, this isn't Apel's first rodeo in WeHo. He submitted plans in 2011 to demolish two homes on La Cienega Boulevard south of Fountain Avenue to put up some condos. The California Architects Board issued "a four-count administrative citation that included a $5,000 civil penalty" to Apel for working without a license. According to the CAB website, Apel paid his fine, "satisfying the citation."
You have to admire his persistence. State law or no state law, he's going to soldier on until they let him build something. —Jeff Wattenhofer