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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Developer tries to take another whack at Elysian Heights trees

Police and city officials were called out this morning to the site of a planned Elysian Heights housing development after workers tried to cut down more trees despite a city order to stop the work. Earlier this month the city’s Department of Public Works ordered all tree removal to stop on a  three-acre parcel near Allesandro and El Moran Street where developer Planet Home Living  plans to  build 15 homes.  “Workers stopped working because they could not produce removal permit,” said Julie Wong, spokeswoman for Councilman Eric Garcetti. “The Department of Building and Safety has re-posted the Order to Comply.”

The Department of Works ordered the tree cutting to stop while it  reviews the terms of the developer’s tree removal permits. The city is also working  to retain a consultant to study the project’s impact of wildlife.

20 comments

  1. These developers are completely brazen! I can’t believe they went in there to chop down trees again after the police were called the first time.

  2. i guess i’d keep trying too if all i had was an order to comply and financial incentive not to. boooo.

  3. The “Scorched Earth Ordinance” should be invoked.

  4. I’m sure the two main guys at Planet Home Living would love for you to call their 949 area code cell phones to chat..
    http://www.planethomeliving.com/Contact_Us.html

  5. They know if they get away with cutting down the trees the city will just give a small fine. The developers do not care

  6. Just wait until Chavez Ravine sells with the Dodger Stadium bankruptcy package. I’m sure the bulk of that undeveloped land will eventually turn into residential property and trees will have to be cut to accommodate. Too bad it’s a little too late to toss in a “Scorched Earth Ordinance” on that one…

    • I would love it if somehow the city could eminent domain Chavez Ravine parking lots from McCourt and broker a deal to build a new Dodgers Stadium near USC (replacing the sports center, and connected to the counties growing rail network)… this way the city could expand Elysian Park (demolish the stadium, dig up /remove the parking lots and plant some trees / native plants). This would mitigate the traffic at Dodgers games, provide a view of the downtown skyline from the new field and create more open space for the city……………………… of course that will never happen.

  7. This would be a great lot to “Occupy”.

  8. Sounds like a great spot for an “Occupation”.

  9. unfuckingbelievable.

  10. Today’s problem stems from the failure of the City to come up with an enforcement mechanism for their City Standard Conditions dealing with nesting raptors. Somehow, just shaking your finger at developers while saying, “No, you can’t do that” is just not enough of a deterrent. Just like the native trees – there’s really no penalty for cutting them down.

  11. Actually two more trees were cut down this morning. The first Order to Comply was posted Tuesday, February 7th (which was still posted as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday), was no longer posted this morning. One of the developers’ biologists stated that he gave to the order to have the trees cut and which trees to cut (he later backpedaled on his comment.)

    Many thanks to Alejandra Marroquin, Marcel Porras and Arsen Melikyan of CD13 (who arrived to the site within minutes); LAPD (3 squad cars, 6 officers) for being very professional; and Los Angeles Building & Safety (for posting a second Order to Comply.)

  12. Another vote for Scorched Earth.

  13. I must say, regardless of the loss of trees, I find it abominable that the city’s Department of Building and Safety doesn’t even know if the developer is in compliance with the conditions of the permit it granted to allow for the tree removal. That condition is whether the developer has already gotten building and grading permits. So the issue here isn’t whether or not those trees will be cut, only when they will be cut.

    It should not take some time-consuming investigation for the department to figure that out, should be instantly available information! And while I don’t like the tree removal, IF the developer is in compliance, he should not be subject to this investigation, it would mere hypocritical harassment by the department — that is, IF he has the required permits, then he would be acting in good faith but the department would not be.

    Again, the department has already given the tree removal permit. It is merely delayed until the developer is ready to start construction. That is, the trees are going to be removed, unless the entire project is abandoned, which at this point would not seem likely. That is, the department has already said to go ahead with the tree removal — when you are ready to start construction.

  14. So, it is obvious that whatever penalty is metted out to these developers for repeatedly breaking rules is not enough to deter them. They approach the penalties as the cost of doing business. They probably have a line item for it on their budget: “penalties assessed for failing to follow orders to comply.” So, why doesn’t the City Council (Garcetti, please!) put some teeth on these penalties? Make it more than monetary or at least assess higher penalties for “willful” law breaking. This has to be done carefully because the Building and Safety rules in LA are already byzantine and draconian. And, it would be unfair to assess penalties on home-owners who break rules unintentionally. But, it is obvious that the developers in this case are acting willfully and intentionally. They are out to thwart the will of the community and the rules of the City. Do something Garcetti!

  15. Are those Eucalyptus trees? If so then they should be cut down anyway, they’re non-native and bad for the ecosystem in California.

  16. REVOKE THE BUILDING PERMITS!!!

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