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Hollywood Bowl Gets Court OK to Replace Sound Shell

August 22, 2002|MIKE BOEHM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Hollywood Bowl can tear down its 73-year-old orchestra shell and build a new one to improve concert sound, the state Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday.

The three-judge panel denied the appeal of preservationists who contended that the bowl's trademark white shell is a historically essential part of its design.

The preservationists argued that Los Angeles County and the Bowl's main tenant, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn., should find a way to renovate the shell.

"We think this is the end of the line, and the project will go forward," said James Arnone, the Philharmonic's attorney.

The dispute began two years ago after the county Board of Supervisors approved plans for a new shell, citing the old shell's deterioration, small size and poor acoustics, which don't allow orchestra members to hear one another as they play.

Robert Nudelman, a leader of Hollywood Heritage, and another preservationist group, Friends of the Santa Monica Parks and Seashore, sued to stop the plan.

But a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled in April 2001 that the project could go forward.

Then came the appeal, which also raised procedural issues.

Those included arguments that people who wanted to object to the shell's replacement were not given enough notice, and that legal descriptions of the plan were misleading.

The appellate court disagreed, ruling that procedural requirements had been fulfilled.

Nudelman vowed Wednesday to fight on with a further appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"It's a dangerous set of precedents this would set. We [would] have to fight this fight as other historic buildings get threatened. The door has just been left open for the bulldozers."

Arnone said he is confident that the issue is settled.

With the Board of Supervisors, a trial judge, and now the unanimous appellate panel finding in favor of the shell's replacement, Arnone said he doubts the Supreme Court will review the case.

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