A handful of homeowners around the Hollywood Sign have pitched a years-long battle now to close off access to tourists looking for Los Angeles's most famous landmark, and they keep on winning. They've gotten public parking banned, they've gotten a shuttle leading to a faraway viewing point in neighboring Griffith Park, they've gotten a personal LAPD patrol, they've gotten a former pedestrian road in Griffith opened to cars, they've gotten every major map company to change their directions to the sign. But like deranged crusaders, they still feel wronged and they will not stop fighting a battle they've won and won at the expense of the public. Now they are suing the city of Los Angeles for not adequately keeping the plebs out of their neighborhood.
The LA Times reports that the Homeowners on Beachwood Drive United, a group founded to fight Hollywood Sign tourists and guided by a public relations professional, is suing the city to close the Hollyridge trailhead at the top of Beachwood Drive, which leads directly behind the Sign and into Griffith Park, "until the effects on the neighborhood have been fully evaluated." They want the city to do a costly, intensive environmental impact report, which a state law requires for large development projects.
The lawsuit alleges "that officials encouraged a flood of visitors without analyzing the actions as required under the California Environmental Quality Act and state planning laws," although the city and specifically outgoing Councilmember Tom LaBonge (who the suit names as a particular offender) have gone out of their way to give the Hollywood Sign NIMBYs whatever their hearts desire (see above). LaBonge in fact helped keep the Hollyridge trailhead closed to the public throughout most of 2014 as the neighborhood waited for its permit parking district. The suit, however, complains that his office cleared brush from an area on Mulholland Drive (while simultaneously wringing its hands over fire risk).
Incoming Councilmember David Ryu was elected with a lot of support from the Hollywood Sign militants and has seemed even more willing than LaBonge to do their bidding. He says he's researching the trail closure, but is "very concerned about the safety of the residents of Beachwood Canyon."
· Battle over access to Hollywood sign heads to court [LAT]
· How a Small Group of Neighborhood Activists Have Taken the Hollywood Sign Hostage [Curbed LA]
· Hollywood Sign Viewing Spot Wars [Curbed LA]