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LA Playing Fast and Loose With Building on the Hollywood Fault

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Handel Architects

The Hollywood Fault has been stirring up all kinds of shit in the last few weeks--the city geologist has ordered further testing at the site of the huge Millennium Hollywood towers proposal; the developers are now planning to dig a big-ass trench so they can figure out exactly where the fault runs. That seems like a pretty good idea, right? Knowing exactly where a fault lies in relationship to a giant building? (Developers are generally not allowed to build within 50 feet of an active fault.) Maybe it should be done for all the new development in the area. But it's not! As the LA Times explains, California law requires anyone building in a seismic zone "to study the exact location of all active faults mapped by the state." Except that the state hasn't gotten around to mapping the Hollywood Fault zone yet (budget constraints, natch), "leaving enforcement of the law in a gray area"--the head of the California Geological Survey "had given mapping the Hollywood fault a low priority because he thought the city was taking responsibility for preventing construction atop the Hollywood fault."

Well, they are! Sometimes! But not in the case of the under-construction Blvd6200 just down the block from Millennium Hollywood. That project, which broke ground in May, is only six stories, as opposed to MillHoll's 35 and 39 stories, but the section closest to the fault "includes 500 apartments and 74,000 square feet of shop and restaurant space." The LA Department of Building and Safety said that their map put Blvd6200 far enough away from the fault to be in the clear, except that that map "shows the general location of faults but is less precise at a block level." The Times consulted multiple geologists who think that taking that distance on faith was not such a smart idea.
· Hollywood's Blvd6200 project escaped review despite fault threat [LAT]
· Blvd6200 Archives [Curbed LA]