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This log cabin is a haven for sobriety groups. Beverly Hills wants it torn down

Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- On a posh stretch of Robertson Boulevard, one of these really stands out: A Kundalini yoga studio. A restaurant owned by former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Lisa Vanderpump. The headquarters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. A log cabin.

Yes, a log cabin.

Far from the forest, the shabby little cabin with peeling paint and battered wooden doors has become the center of a property dispute between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, two tony cities where land is both scarce and expensive.

The log cabin -- the site of some two dozen addiction recovery group meetings every week -- is in West Hollywood. But it sits on a lot owned by Beverly Hills, which wants it gone.

"To many people, the log cabin looks rustic. It looks like a crappy building," said West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran. "To us, it's a place where a lot of miracles have happened."

For decades, the cabin has been managed by the West Hollywood Lions Club, whose emblem is displayed prominently on the building's facade. But Beverly Hills officials said they recently learned that the Lions Club lease expired in 1977 and that the longtime nominal rent of $1 per year had not been paid for more than four decades.


"I can't speak to why years have passed and it wasn't discussed earlier," Beverly Hills spokesman Keith Sterling told the Los Angeles Times. "A few years ago, we started to take a closer look at our real estate holdings, the current status of leases and agreements, and this was discovered."

Last week, Beverly Hills City Manager George Chavez told the Lions Club in a letter that they must remove the cabin and its foundation from the property at 621 N. Robertson by March 31.

Gyula Kangiszer, president of the West Hollywood Lions Club, said his small club was "completely surprised" by the notice and had held prior discussions with Beverly Hills officials over how to extend the dormant lease and keep the building open for the sobriety groups.

"We have been serving a community need, and the cities were appreciative of this service," Kangiszer said. "Now, I can only guess what the motivation would be.


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