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Hearing on Major Changes on Former Twin Palms Site to be Continued to June

Mixed-use project would increase structure size to four stories

Published on Monday, April 26, 2021 | 10:59 am

A discussion on major changes that would convert the site of the old Twin Palms Restaurant to a four-story, 20,530 square-foot mixed-use structure with 3,702 square feet of commercial space and 18 residential units will come back to the Design Commission on June 8.

The commission was scheduled to hear details on the project at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, but the applicant has requested a continuance to further redesign the project.

“The proposed site design consists of a single four-story building with no setback from the west property line where it adjoins an existing building on the neighboring property,” according to a city staff report. 

“The building has minimal setbacks from the north and south property lines and at the extreme north and south ends of the east elevation, primarily at ground-floor recessed entries,” the report states. 

“The central portion of the east elevation is set back approximately 12’ from the property line. A two-story recessed niche at the rear northwest corner of the site provides space for an electrical transformer. No on-site parking or loading areas are proposed.”

The project’s owner, Sunshine Management Group, originally proposed a two-story, 14,008 square-foot commercial/office building at the site.

That project had already passed concept design review. But in 2016, the Sunshine Management Group came under fire when it cut down two 35-foot tall canary palm trees on the property.

Those trees inspired previous owner, Kevin Costner, to name a restaurant at the site Twin Palms. 

The two trees were removed without a permit, a misdemeanor violation of the city’s tree ordinance.

According to past media reports, Sunshine Management failed to file its landscaping plan after being told that the plan for the renovation had to take into consideration the tree canopy, The trees were protected under the city’s tree ordinance by virtue of their size and species.

The company was forced to stop work until $6,000 in fines were paid.

The owner was also warned not to discard, remove or damage decorative grilles that are historic remnants from a Myron Hunt building demolished to make way for the Plaza Pasadena, the city’s first mall.

Soon after the removal of the trees, the City Council approved modifications to the city’s City Trees and Tree Protection Ordinance which increased fines for illegally cutting down protected trees. 

The site has been empty for the most part since 2009 when Twin Palms closed its doors after 15 years. In 2008, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton held a fundraiser at the restaurant.

The site also previously housed an auto garage.

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