[LOS FELIZ IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION] By Right, But Wrong
Through the years I’ve had many opportunities to stand up for what I believe in. I protested a war during a march in Washington DC, went braless as an expression of liberation, picketed to save the old Brown Derby in mid-Wilshire and the Garden Court Apartments on Hollywood Boulevard and advocated for the importance of the arts as part of the Hollywood Leadership Alliance that helped kick start the Hollywood renaissance.
I’ve appeared at countless hearings and community meetings both for and against various developments deemed either good or bad for the community. But, it’s an entirely different story when it literally hits close to home.
Our bucolic hillside is about to be assaulted by a double lot project plan to construct a 16,300 square foot single family residence that includes a basement of 7,600 square feet requiring the excavation and hauling of 8,500 cubic feet of earth. This amounts to 1,000 round trips of 10-wheel trucks over substandard narrow streets disrupting the lives of scores of residents over a three-month period. All because this is considered a “by right” project—that is, it is your right as a property owner in Los Angeles.
Having been notified by the city about the project, we soon learned that our only recourse was to try to stop this over sized, over scaled project by stopping the haul route plan.
Joining neighbors to protest the haul route before the Department of Building and Safety Commission, we witnessed what other homeowners in the west Hollywood Hills have been experiencing for years. Homes in their area have been enlarged and extensive hauling has left their streets in massive disrepair with excavation, noise, dust, and parking issues disrupting lives for months and, in some cases, years on end.
Despite their pleas to deny the projects and testimony from the Department of Transportation and Street Services explaining why their streets could not be repaired, the commissioners blithely approved the haul routes.
Although our matter was continued thanks to the intervention of Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu and support from the Hillside Federation, the writing is on the wall and it’s not encouraging. We have hopes that the owner may have second thoughts and possibly downsize his grandiose plan. We’ll be back at Building and Safety the end of the month.
After last month’s column, I received an email stating that any effort to create an HPOZ to protect our community would be vigorously opposed by the writer, a land use attorney. I wonder how this fellow would react if a project such as this was happening next to his home.
From my experience, I can tell you that when it hits home, it’s an entirely different story.
By right, but wrong as it can be.