updated 8/16/2004 1:58:22 PM ET 2004-08-16T17:58:22

The city is placing a velvet rope around the Sunset Strip, trying to control which clubs and eateries use the storied nickname, but some businesses say they’re trying to rewrite history.

West Hollywood leaders say the famous moniker should apply solely to a 1.7-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard within the city’s limits.

To stake its claim, the city has hung banners proclaiming “Sunset Strip — Only in West Hollywood” on streetlights, and it’s considering building a formal “gateway” to West Hollywood along the boulevard.

Officials of the 2-square-mile city, which sits between Beverly Hills and Los Angeles’ Hollywood section, say they’re merely protecting an asset.

“It’s frustrating when West Hollywood is misidentified,” said Brad Burlingame, president of the West Hollywood Convention and Visitors Bureau. “If they said Rodeo Drive is in Los Angeles, people in Beverly Hills would have a fit.”

Business owners in neighboring Hollywood argue that many of Sunset Strip’s memorable moments happened on their section of the boulevard.

Among landmarks linked with the nickname and located outside West Hollywood’s boundary are the hotel where John Belushi died of a drug overdose and the site of the drugstore where Lana Turner was reportedly discovered.

The corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards, two blocks east of West Hollywood, was where the Garden of Allah Hotel opened in the 1920s and drew Gloria Swanson, Rudolf Valentino and other celebrities.

“West Hollywood is lunatic to do this,” said Jamie Masada, who owns the Laugh Factory, a Hollywood comedy club that he considers part of the Sunset Strip. “So much has happened here. History speaks for itself.”

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