The Beverly Crest neighborhood in the western Hollywood Hills is no stranger to giant houses, and a planned "gigamansion" on a hillside lot in Benedict Canyon would have been one of the biggest contenders yet in Los Angeles's enormous house contest, but now it may just be dead for good. Michael Scott, a man described by the Beverly Hills Courier as a "trailer park magnate," had plans to build a mansion at 10101 Angelo View Drive that may have measured more than 80,000 square feet, and which opponents claim was as big as 139,000 square feet.
But for now, the future of this huge, neighbor-angering house is uncertain, reports the LA Business Journal. Scott has withdrawn his application to build the mansion following intense neighbor opposition and the urging of the LA City Councilmember who reps the area, Paul Koretz, who submitted a letter to the LA Department of Building and Safety asking them to deny a haul route for tens of thousands of cubic yards of dirt for the project, and asking that the building's application be withdrawn.
There's a big difference between 80,000 and 139,000 square feet, and the range grows even wider and more puzzling when considering that Scott wrote in a March 2015 letter to the LA City Attorney that his "house" would be a "62,907 square foot single family residence above basement." Plans Scott submitted in October 2015 showed a much bigger, six-story house, says the LABJ.
The basement, it turns out, is a big part of the discrepancy. The plans turned in in October showed that the basement would make up three floors of the total structure and measure about 38,700 square feet. An older city ordinance says that hillside constructions does not have to include basement size in the total residential floor area, even if that basement is nearly 40,000 square feet, a megamansion in its own right. Newer rules aimed at shutting down overbuilding in many hillside areas were put into effect in March 2015, but because Scott's plans were handed in in 2014, they don't apply.
However, now that Scott's withdrawn the plans for his gigamansion, any new submission would have to meet those new limits, and Scott would basically be starting all over from scratch. The anti-mansionization rules would require that the entire project to be much smaller, a city planning official tells the LABJ. No one from Scott's camp would confirm that he would be trying again to get this beast of a mansion built.
Scott told the Wall Street Journal in January 2015 that the rules in the gated Beverly Park neighborhood, where he owns a 17,000-square-foot mansion, were "a little restrictive" and were cramping his style. Apparently, Beverly Park mandates that parties with more than 20 guests have valet parking and that there be a staff member at the front gate during the party, which he said makes it hard to throw impromptu gatherings.
Scott's withdrawn Benedict Canyon project was said to include three swimming pools, a helipad, "tennis and paddle tennis pavilions," six bar areas, a deck that could hold 550 people, "at least" 19 bathrooms, and an aviary, according to a letter from a consultant for neighbors opposed to the project.
It was being billed by Scott and his team as a single-family home, but the letter noted that was an outrageous way to classify something so large—it said this is really "a commercial entertainment complex that belongs on Hollywood Boulevard." Neighbors were also pretty upset at the general murkiness surrounding the details of the project, including estimates of its actual size and height.
They were also freaking out over what the construction process could mean for the area's narrow, windy roads. The development would require the hauling out of 51,150 cubic yards of dirt from the building site—the environmental paperwork for the project suggests a "proposed haul route [that] would stop traffic on Benedict Canyon for up to 15 minutes every hour, with more than 10,000 hauling trips by 60,000 pound trucks, for 11-15 months, if not more," according to the BH Courier.
And there's the additional matter of the allegedly insufficient environmental analysis done on this enormous construction project. State law requires a thorough environmental review of large projects, usually in a lengthy document called an environmental impact report; if the project is smaller or won't be particularly disruptive to its surroundings, developers can get by with a mitigated negative declaration that identifies any issues (like increased traffic or tree removal) and explains what the developer will do to mitigate them.
Riding on the assertion that 10101 Angelo View would be a single-family home, Scott and his team had only completed an MND and had been pushing back against calls from area residents who wanted to see an EIR completed for the giant project.
But, according to the Courier, even the MND they turned in was shoddy, containing incorrect and incomplete calculations, and proposing mitigation measures that aren't even possible. One instance: The MND suggested that traffic impacts from the construction could be alleviated if Scott got access to the property below his and ferried the soil down to waiting trucks there—this route was included in the MND like it was a real option, but the owner of the lower property was never asked about it.
That owner is not about to let trucks for the Angelo View Drive project onto his property because he is opposed to the entire project, as he wrote in a letter to the Los Angeles Board Of Building And Safety Commissioners, which considered the project's request for the haul route last month. (According to the Courier, "The meeting lasted more than three hours in order to accommodate the multitude of people who opposed the project.")
And then there's the matter of the building's height and size. The MND says the structure would be a maximum of 30 feet tall. However, according to plans turned in after the MND was submitted and provided to Curbed by opponents of 10101 Angelo View Drive, the project's actual height is more than 85 feet from top to bottom.
Neighbors who opposed the project took issue with the way that details of the project were, at least from the property owner's side, being treated as very hush-hush. Reps for Scott declined a handful of opportunities to present the project to local community groups like the local neighborhood council and have only made one public appearance. Renderings of the planned residence were only available "because they were unofficially leaked by the applicant’s team," the Courier says. (They were provided to us by a consultant who's working on the campaign opposing the project.) "It’s one man’s vision that would ruin a community," a five-decade resident of Benedict Canyon tells the LABJ.
At a March 22 hearing before the Building and Safety Commission, Scott's team requested a continuation on consideration of the project; the next meeting was supposed to take place on April 5, but now that the project has been withdrawn, there's no telling when or if we'll be seeing another version of this project proposed.