A Santa Monica Superior Court judge has ordered a Los Angeles homeowner to stop construction on a remodeling project that will block neighbors' views of Santa Monica Canyon and the ocean.
Judge David Rothman ordered homeowner Peter Olmstead to comply with a stop-work order issued Oct. 21 by a city of Los Angeles building inspector. The order said construction should be stopped because it violates a 1961 zoning ruling that limits the height of the home at 345 Adelaide Drive.
The residence is built into a hillside extending down from Adelaide Drive, which is on the Los Angeles-Santa Monica border.
The 1961 ruling dictates that the top of the home be no higher than five feet below Adelaide Drive, so the views from homes across the street are not blocked. Because these homes are situated above the rooftops of the homes on the opposite side of Adelaide Drive, residents have unobstructed views of the canyon and ocean.
The Adelaide Drive Residents Assn. filed suit last week, alleging that Olmstead violated the city's stop-work order and asking that the court stop further construction on the home's top level until a zoning administrator rules on the case.
Zoning administrator James Crisp heard the case Tuesday, and homeowners are awaiting a ruling, according to their attorney, Roger Jon Diamond.
Gary S. Smolker, Olmstead's attorney, said his client has a valid building permit for the remodeling, which would bring the rooftop of the Olmstead home 22 feet above Adelaide Drive.
He said the building inspector who issued the stop-work order should have consulted first with city officials who authorized the building permit.
Smolker said four officials from the city's Building and Safety Department granted the permit after reviewing the application and deciding the 1961 restrictions did not apply.
Final Ruling Later
Rothman did not rule on whether the addition may be built. That issue will be decided by the city's zoning administrator, Diamond said.
But the court order stops the work until a Dec. 22 hearing. Residents say they will then request a preliminary injunction to stop the work until the zoning administrator rules on the case.
Rothman's ruling is an important victory for residents, Diamond said. Had the remodeling been allowed to proceed, residents would have had a difficult time persuading authorities to order Olmstead to tear it down, he added.