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Ruling blocks construction of 20-story tower in Hollywood

A judge finds Los Angeles officials failed to do a proper environmental review by not giving the public enough time to examine a study of parking plans.

July 27, 2012|By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times

A judge has blocked construction of a controversial 20-story condo tower in Hollywood after finding that Los Angeles officials failed to conduct a proper environmental review.

The lawsuit was brought by the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Assn., the same organization suing the city over the recently passed Hollywood Community Plan, which changed zoning laws to allow for bigger and taller buildings in the historic neighborhood.

At the heart of both lawsuits are issues of parking and traffic, and whether the city has adequately addressed the impacts of bringing new development — and people — to Hollywood.

The tower would be built at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Gower Street, near the Fonda Theatre. It would include more than 150 apartment units, ground-level retail shops and a fifth-floor lap pool.

In a ruling this week on the city's approval of permits for the project, Superior Court Judge Ann Jones said officials violated state law because they didn't give the public enough time to review a parking study.

The number of parking spaces planned for the tower is below the level recommended by the city. The study said there were enough to meet the needs of residents.

But the public was not provided with the study until the day after the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee approved permits for the project, according to the ruling.

The action "wholly derailed" the state's environmental review process, Jones said. She also said emails between consultants for the project and city planning staff were evidence of "impropriety in the process."

R.J. Comer, an attorney for the developer of the project, said his client hasn't decided whether to file an appeal or submit new paperwork at City Hall for the project.

"We respectfully disagree with the court and we're evaluating our options," he said.

kate.linthicum@latimes.com

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