It's going to be impossible to build pretty much anything (legally) in Hollywood for a while. We've gotten numerous tips from Hollywooders who have applied for building permits—for things as small as adding a few windows—and been denied without receiving what they felt was a sufficient explanation. What's the deal? According to an engineer at the LA Department of Building and Safety, an email went out on Wednesday, February 12, telling LADBS employees not to issue any more permits until a court-issued injunction was lifted. That injunction is the result of a lawsuit against the city, brought and won by NIMBYs—including the notoriously litigious La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association and residents in the Hollywood Hills—to take out the Hollywood Community Plan, which was supposed to guide planning and development in the area over the next few decades toward what some neighbor groups felt was certain doom. (Proponents pointed out that the plan actually promoted sensible density, around transit stops, in a popular, Metro-accessible neighborhood.)
But Hollywood Hills residents are getting bitten in the ass on this too; one of the emails we received was from an architect trying to get permits for a repair to a balcony on an architecturally significant house in the Cahuenga Pass; she writes "Even our 'small job' is tens of thousands of dollars. Delays cost money and time. What is the economic impact on other projects?" We've also heard about a project held up in Bronson Canyon, and one in the far corner of Hollywood, on Hoover Street.
The court made its decision in December of 2013, but it wasn't until last week that anyone actually started to see an effect. LADBS is currently reviewing the injunction, figuring out what they can and cannot do in terms of permitting, but in the meantime, anything that would need a plan check (meaning an engineer has to review the plans) is not going anywhere. Express permits are still being processed, we're told, because those only cover very minor projects. LADBS is telling people to keep submitting their documents (the permitting process is long and slow even on a good day) because there is no time frame on when the issue might be resolved; it could be wrapped up in a couple of weeks. But if you're wondering why your new deck can't get approved, you now know who to thank.
· NIMBYs Win Battle Against Transit-Friendly Hollywood Growth [Curbed LA]