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The Hollywood Fault Has Finally Been Mapped And It's Bad News

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Handel Architects

Updated 9:49 am: Pop the champagne, NIMBYs: Turns out the proposed site of the huge Millennium Hollywood project appears to be directly on top of an earthquake fault, and it's illegal under state law to build on top of a fault. Hollywood Hills anti-development types stumbled on the Hollywood fault issue last year, having exhausted every other plan to stop the huge MillHoll towers (they've since filed many lawsuits and the developers have halted the project); there's a state law that prohibits building on top of a fault, but it depends on the state having up-to-date maps. The maps haven't been kept up to date, however, because the state is often short of money, so developers were kind of sliding by (the LA Times has taken up the cause in the past several months and notes that the nearby and well-under-construction Blvd6200 also appears to lie right on a fault, although that project is only six stories). Today the California Geological Survey finally rushed out its preliminary map (pdf) of the Hollywood Fault and it seems to run smack through the proposed MillHoll project and the Capitol Records Tower, not to mention a whole lot of the rest of downtown Hollywood (The mapped earthquake zones "do not affect existing developments unless extensive additions or remodeling are proposed," according to the CGS. Or, of course, they fall over in an earthquake.)

UPDATE: Leron Gubler, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce clarifies what's going on with the MillHoll project in an email:

The fault traces shown represent the state geologist's best guess of where they lie. They are not definitive. It is up to a developer to perform the additional study to the City's satisfaction to prove whether they are there and if so, the exact location. In the case of the Millennium project, the developers have already said that they are willing to perform trenching and additional seismic work. If they do determine that a fault trace runs through their project site, then it does not kill the project. They would need to redesign the project so that buildings are at least 50 ft. from the fault trace. The Millennium development team has already said that they would do that should a fault trace be found. The Millennium team has assured us that they remain committed to this project. He adds that "only four of more than 60 projects being developed within Hollywood are within the fault study zone." A final map should be released this year.
· Millennium Hollywood [Curbed LA]