Bins Are In at Gjusta

By Roxanne Brown
Architect/Representative: Stephen Vitalich
Former Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) Case Manager:  Jim Murez,
Current LUPC case manager Mark Kleiman
Owner: Fran Camaj, Owns Gjelina, GTA, Gjusta and 1301 & 1305 Abbot Kinney
Zoning Administrator (ZA): Maya Zaitzevsky – Currently awaiting decision
Architect: Stephen Vitalich
Former LUPC Case Manager: Jim Murez,
Current LUPC Case Manager: Kathleen Rawson
Owner: Alicia Searle
Zoning: No Hearing to date
Architect: Stephen Vitalich
LUPC Case Manager: None – case never went through LUPC or VNC
Owner: Richard J. Gottlieb, Dune Investments LLC
Zoning Administrator:  Linn Wyatt, Chief Zoning Administrator signed off on project
Zoning Appeal:  January 7th in West LA
THE PLOT – All three of these projects are proposing change of use to restaurants with late night hours serving liquor to patrons; most will be seated outdoors (where sound is not contained). These projects are as close as 3 feet from some residents’ homes and 12 feet six inches from some other residences. Sound travels farther and wider at night. Why? Google it.
LIQUOR LICENSES – Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) states: “ABC will not license a new retail location within 100 feet of a residence unless the applicant can establish that the operation of the proposed premises will not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the property by residents. (Section 23789 and Rule 61.4)” see Q18. LAPD’s Captain Brian Johnson testified at Gjusta’s ZA hearing that ABC allows 5 liquor licenses in Gjusta’s tract area. That tract currently has 14.  Add Gjusta, and it’s 15.
BUILDING & SAFETY – Sauce at 259 Hampton does not have a permit for restaurant and tables and chairs outside. Yet, they have been operating as a sit-down restaurant for 4 years with no penalty. Gjusta has a permit for a bakery/bakery equipment/no seating/no eating– inside or in the parking lot.  Yet, prior to opening, Camaj built a full restaurant with commercial kitchen equipment, opened in October and began encouraging people to sit and eat.
At Gjusta’s ZA Hearing on November 13th, Building and Safety’s representative, Avi Sargsyan, confirmed the above. Knowing this, Camaj went back to 320 and didn’t change a thing. Camaj was cited by Building and Safety at the end of December with an order to comply within 30 days.  Since the citation, he hasn’t changed a thing.
Waiting for Camaj to comply is like “Waiting for Godot.” In seven years at Gjelina, he has flouted laws, codes, rules, and regulations with no penalty.
PROPERTY GANGSTERS- One resident testifying at 320’s Zoning hearing accused some owners of being “property gangsters.”  They do what they want to with their property, blatantly disregarding laws and facing no penalty.
MAXIMIZE PROFITS – Why are these projects going into residential neighborhoods? Could it be that the cost is less than going on Abbot Kinney, Rose, or Main – which have properties for lease?
At GTA and Gjelina, we see patrons sitting and eating on milk crates in an adjacent alley, on the sidewalk and in the street. Camaj told neighbors (at his owner outreach, VNC, and LUPC meetings) he would do the same at Gjusta.  It appears he will do this at 1301 Abbot Kinney as well, since the inside is limited in size, but there’s a very big rooftop parking lot.
Just think how much more money you make without paying for a permit, without building an enclosed space, no cost for tables and chairs – just a milk crate.  Charge $16 for a brisket sandwich, two sides at $10, add an $8 dessert, and a $4 small black coffee – lunch for two – on milk crates in a dusty parking lot – with tax and tip – $80 – $100.
Gjusta’s patrons are convinced this is “cool” while Camaj seems to be laughing all the way to the bank.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT- Gjusta’s first health department report came out. They found flies on meat and bread and asked workers to dispose of it, which they did. They found equipment not sterilized at recommended temperatures. This is public record. Anyone can obtain it.
YELP also records this with less detail.  Google Gjusta Yelp, go to the upper right corner and click on Health Report. You will find several notations– including “standard not met” for unadulterated food and vermin-proofing. Yet, Gjusta got an “A” with those observations and with patrons eating in a dirty, dusty parking lot.
CHEERS or JEERS Do you want to support this? If not, vote with your dollars – dine at restaurants that are responsible neighbors. Each dollar spent at Gjusta, Gjelina, GTA and Sauce seems to be funding a very bad neighbor policy.
People may say I don’t want to be involved in the politics – I like the food. Do you know that with every bite of food and every dollar spent at 320 Sunset and 259 Hampton (600 Mildred is on pause), it appears you are emboldening those who: Flout the law, put up a restaurant serving liquor with late night hours next door to residents’ and their children’s bedroom windows. Chase Venice artists out – all artists at 334 SUNSET have been evicted
Gjusta’s Owner Outreach Meeting:
Gjusta’s ZA HEARING: – Zack Galifianakis has a cameo appearance
Part 1:  
Part 2:  
Part 3:

West LA Planning Commission Appeal Hearing
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 4.30 p.m.
Henry Medina West LA Parking Enforcement Facility
2nd floor, Roll Call Room
11214 West Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90064
Applicant: Richard J Gottlieb, Dunes Development LLC
Representative: Stephen Vitalich
THE ENDING? – It seems Mayor Garcetti and Councilman Bonin support these “property gangsters” rather than tax paying, voting citizens in residential communities. Councilman Bonin is nowhere to be seen. Neighborhood associations have asked to meet with him and he refuses. Far from improving our communities, Mayor Garcetti and Councilman Bonin seem to be destroying Los Angeles neighborhoods one block at a time.