By Aaron Blevins, 8/02/2012
A project aiming to construct a 20-story residential and retail tower near Hollywood Boulevard and Gower Street has been stopped after a Los Angeles County Superior Court decision on July 23.
Attorney Robert P. Silverstein and his client, the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association, had claimed that the city and developer, 6104 Hollywood LLC, had suppressed information from public view until the last minute. The association had been opposed to the project, especially its reduced parking.
“We’re hopeful that this will send a message to the city that business as usual will no longer be permitted,” Silverstein said.
He said Judge Ann Jones invalidated the project’s environmental impact report and its prior approvals. Silverstein said the project is essentially dead at this point, though the developers can appeal.
Specifically, the city and the developer’s consultant had “secret dialogue” and tried to include hundreds of pages of new documents, including a “critically important” parking study, into the record after the public hearing portion of a Planning and Land Use Management Committee meeting, Silverstein said.
“Those documents are critical for the public to view,” he added.
Silverstein said the public has the right to know the basis of the city’s decisions and should not be lied to. He said city officials assured members of the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association that specific documents would not be included in the record — only to find the contrary after the hearing.
“In this case, we were repeatedly lied to by city staff,” Silverstein said, adding that such deceit is a common practice. “Unfortunately, the city does not have a good track record in terms of fair hearings.”
He said the planning process is often skewed in favor of the developers.
“That creates a culture in the planning department and the city in general that elevates the rights of the development community over the rights of the public that the city is supposed to be protecting,” Silverstein said. “We’re extremely grateful to the court for exposing what is a deeply flawed process in the city of Los Angeles.”
City Councilman Eric Garcetti, 13th District, said he could not speak at length about the project, as the developers may file an appeal. He said the project was supported by some neighborhood councils in the area.
The Hanover Company, which operates 6104 Hollywood LLC, could not be reached for comment by deadline.