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There's a Fantastic Mr. Fox Situation in Sierra Madre

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Images via KPCC
The Los Angeles Times considers the story of Jeff Hildreth, a Sierra Madre resident now involved in litigation with the city over his attempts to create a wine bar/art gallery underneath his home. Initially, the city OK'd Hildreth's plans to create what amounts to a cave under his home, granting him a conditional use permit to change his residence to a commercial establishment. So Hidreth started digging the hole by hand. But six years later, no one is sipping wine under this home or offering to buy $120 oil paintings. From the Times:

"But things went awry, Jeff Hildreth said, when paperwork filed with the city was lost and new staff members unfamiliar with the project halted the couple's work, sometimes for months. He believes the city changed its vision of Montecito Avenue as a mixed-use street and hoped to derail his project. In 2005, he was cited for unpermitted hazardous excavation. Multiple stop-work notices were issued by building officials who said there was no record of approved plans for the project."

More recently Sierra Madre filed an injunction, and now the "Hildreths say they're emotionally tapped out but have no choice but to continue because all their money is tied up in the project." KPCC did the story a few weeks ago and has a photo gallery of the Hildreths' home.
· Digging toward a dream [LAT]