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Nutty-Sounding Neighborhood Group Goes Rogue in Bel Air

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There are some seriously shady goings-on surrounding a huge megamansion project on Somma Way in Bel Air, where neighbors tend to be firmly against large building projects that move around a lot of dirt and bring a lot of trucks past their fancy houses. Per the Beverly Hills Courier, a neighborhood group called the Bel-Air Association bucked the trend with a letter of support for the project sent to LA's Planning and Land Use Committee; on Wednesday, the City Council approved the project and a rival group called the Bel Air Homeowners Alliance filed a lawsuit against the city of LA over the approval, and they're calling shenanigans on the BAA. According to a letter from the BAHOA's lawyers to the Board of Building and Safety Commissioners, the fight is over a 40,000 square feet megamansion (replacing a 3,799-square-foot regular mansion) that would span two lots and require workers to haul away nearly 29,500 cubic yards of dirt.

In its letter of support, the BAA asked that the Somma Way developer give $500 for every 500 cubic yards of dirt to BAA's Project Pothole, "which funds are specifically earmarked to repair potholes and other street issues exacerbated by the project's dirt hauling and construction related vehicles." If the trucks were double-axle trucks, donation amount jumped to $750 per 500 cubic yards. So 29,500 cubic yards of dirt would mean quite a windfall for the BAA. Weirder still: how would the organization even perform these repairs? As the (firmly anti-development) BHC points out, "It is unclear how an organization that is not a government agency, is not affiliated with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services nor with the Department of Public Works, could collect public funds or fix potholes on public streets. The BAA has not answered phone calls."

And it gets weirder! The BAHOA says BAA didn't get input from actual residents and, in fact, threatened the group to stay away: an attorney from the BAA has sent "threatening" emails "to an unknown number of homeowners, both members and non-members," warning about "an injunction or restraining order" against the BAHOA. Well, the NIMBYs have started to eat each other.
· Bel Air Homeowners Alliance Sues City Over Somma Way Project [BHC]
· Permits Revoked For Notorious, Half-Built Bel Air Megamansion [Curbed LA]