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Soylent CEO removes, apologizes for illegal hilltop container ‘experiment’

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“I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to my neighbors ... ”

The shipping container placed on a hilltop above Lincoln Heights and Montecito Heights known as Flat Top has been removed, and yesterday, Soylent founder and CEO Robert Rhinehart apologized for having put it up there in the first place.

LAist first saw the apology, which appears on Rhinehart’s blog:

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to my neighbors who I upset. As a first time property owner, the container was meant to be an experiment in sustainable housing. In the future, I will ensure that I do my due diligence with regard to all city and neighborhood regulations. Flat Top Hill is a gem of Los Angeles, and I intend to make only positive contributions to the neighborhood and community going forward.

Rhinehart had framed the container as an "eco home" and an "experiment in sustainable living" in posts on the neighborhood-based social networking site NextDoor. Unfortunately, his experiment lacked the necessary permits and had been cited by the city’s department of building for having an "abandoned or vacant building open to the public." He had also defied an order to remove the container from the department.

Rhinehart told Curbed in late July that he decided to "relocate" the shipping container, but he didn’t say when. He did note at the time that he was only doing it because a neighbor had asked him to.

The LA Times reports that the container was removed this past Thursday—"just hours before" Rhinehart was hit with criminal charges including unpermitted construction by city prosecutors.