Converted law office will probably be allowed to stay

DOWNEY - A Downey property that was converted from a house to a law office - without permits from City Hall - may be allowed to remain intact after the Planning Commission voted 3-2 last week to grant the property owner a variance.The structure at 10825 Lakewood Blvd. is zoned residential but property owners Timothy and Irma Nilan converted the house from a one-story, 1,418 square foot single-family residence into an office building with a reception area, two offices, two restrooms, conference room and break room. A two-car garage was demolished to make room for a parking lot, and a 6-ft. tall wall was built that encroached into a neighbor's yard, city officials said. (The wall was later removed.) The renovations were completed without proper permits, prompting the city prosecutor to send the Nilans a letter, directing them to reverse the conversion. Instead, the Nilans appealed to the Planning Commission and asked for a variance so they could continue with their law office. Three commissioners - Ernie Garcia, Hector Lujan and Louis Morales - agreed with the Nilans. A final variance can be approved as soon as June 6. Commissioners Robert Kiefer and Michael Murray opposed the variance.

********** Published: May 24, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 06