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Los Angeles Making it Illegal to Secretly Demolish Old Buildings

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Oh, Los Angeles doesn't respect its past, huh? It tears down anything built more than five years ago, huh? Not anymore! Well, slightly less anymore, perhaps. The LA City Council delivered a nice little surprise today, preliminarily passing an ordinance that will make it illegal to covertly demolish buildings more than 45 years old. (That'll be anything before 1970 by the time the ordinance takes effect, which should capture most of LA's important Mid-Century Modern architecture, stuff that's often a little too young to warrant stronger protections.) The ordinance requires property owners to notify neighbors and their Council District Office, and to post notice on the property, for 30 days before they can get a demolition permit for an old building. It also introduces a $60 fee for anyone looking to tear down an old building, to cover costs.

A statement from Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, who introduced the idea, says "The goals of the ordinance are to protect historic structures that are non-designated and to empower communities to weigh in before a demolition occurs." It was drafted by the City Attorney with the Office of Historic Resources.

The vote today was unanimous but the ordinance still needs to pass by a simple majority in one more vote on December 2 (obscure City Council procedural stuff). It should take effect in January.
· 13-1104 [LA City Clerk]