Demo crew shows up at Echo Park development site [updated]

Photo by Jennifer Deines

Photo by Jennifer Deines

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Masa of Echo Park

ECHO PARK — Workers began tearing apart a Sunset Boulevard bungalow where there are plans to build a five-story, 31 unit apartment complex.

The bungalow sits at the top of a steep, 10,000-square-foot hillside lot near Guisados restaurant in an area where several hillside bungalow courts line Sunset Boulevard. It’s a corridor that has attracted the attention of investors and developers seeking to build new housing near downtown.

An online summary of Building & Safety Department records show that someone has applied for a permit to build a 5-story building with 31 apartments over a parking garage at 1275 Sunset Boulevard, where Deines spotted the demolition work on Thursday.

Deines, who has requested demolition information from Council District 1, said that the developer has declined requests to share plans of the project with residents.

Update: A reader has found a record of demo permit issued last August.


Site of new apartment building | Jennifer Deines

Site of new apartment building | Jennifer Deines


  1. Los Angeles Building and Safety’s website, has this, (permit was issued on 8/14/2014)


    • or use the permit number, 14019-30000-02243

    • hmmm.. I searched for that address, but that permit number was not in the results.
      I see four recent permits:
      13010-30000-04337 for a 5 story 31 unit building, but this permit has not been issued to applicant VICTOR TURCIOS
      13030-30001-07383 for grading, but this permit has not been issued to applicant VICTOR TURCIOS
      13030-30000-07383 for grading/ retaining walls. but this permit has not been issued to applicant VICTOR TURCIOS
      14020-30000-03080 for shoring, but no permit issued

      I also see a complaint filed for work started without a permit, and is currently under investigation by MARSHALL RUMPF Phone: (213)252-3038

      Try this url: https://www.ladbsservices2.lacity.org/OnlineServices/

      • I did a search for that permit number specifically and did find it. It is for demo of a single family dwelling and garage at that address.
        I’m not sure why it didn’t show up in the address search.
        It may have expired, since you typically have 30 days to start work once the permit is issued.
        I’m sure the current open complaint will get to the bottom of it, but the inspector listed on the demo is:
        MARK HATFIELD, (213) 252-3074

  2. @Jennifer : This teardown may be putting you and your neighbors at serious risk. Depending on the age of the building, there may be asbestos and/ or lead based paint. If these are not demo’d properly, you may be exposed and your property contaminated.

    Anyone doing demolition on structures built before 1978 are required to be certified in lead and asbestos abatement by the California Contractors State License Board: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Consumers/LeadSafety.asp

    The contractors are required to be listed on the permit, and you can search the contractor’s name from the CSLB site to see if they are certified.

    If there is no permit, you should contact City Planning and file a complaint. Additionally, if they do not move fast enough, and there is active dust being created by the demo, you can call the AQMD and they will come quickly. There must be active dust or there will be nothing they can do. Finally, for lead abatement, you may need to call the LA Health Dept

    • Thanks for the info. Neighbors have called aqmd. There is no tarping and no wet down that we can see. Screening is and wet downs are standard at sites with known toxics.

      The age of the buildings would implicate lead and asbestos for sure.

      No pre-demolition notice was posted. That law came into effect at the beginning of the year. The Eastsider covered a story about the pre-notice just recently as another historic home is slated for demolition on sunset and Coronado.

      • Interested to hear more about this. We live very close to this site and have not seen visible permits. There was no warning of this demolition and I’m quite worried of potential risks/health risks/noise pollution/ etc. etc.

  3. How can this be shut down?

  4. I have a few friends in the biz. Proper demo with containment for dust, asbestos, and lead is very expensive. Quite often, they will try to do demo before permits to circumvent having to do the proper abatement. The fines for getting caught are peanuts compared to doing it the right way, especially if they can haul away debris before any inspector shows up.

    If neighbor’s are diligent, there are other tricks that can be played: they will have an abatement company come in and remove one window (instead of all of them) or one asbestos pipe (instead of all of them), so that they have a piece of paper to show inspectors that abatement was done. Then, they demo the rest of the property the cheap way.

    of course, all of this only applies to older buildings built before 1978. I don’t know the age of this particular structure.

    Regardless, of age, though, the must not be active dust that can fly onto other properties. If this is the case, call AQMD while dust is being created and they will shut it down.

  5. They are slated to start demo across the street from my place in March at 959 Everett. The house is also very old, it was built in 1905. Who should I call to make sure my family is safe? We have two small children.

  6. @Everett : I am glad you are taking steps to protect your children, because lead can be very harmful to the developing brain. I’m convinced half the knuckle-draggers I see daily in LA consumed large quantities of paint chips as a child (half joking).

    First step is to contact org that deals with issuing permits. In LA, I believe that’s the Department of Building and Safety. They are *supposed* to only issue a permit to do ANY demo (of more than something like 6 sq ft) of ANY structure older than 1978 … IF the contractor to do the work is certified by the CA Contractors State License Board ( http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Consumers/LeadSafety.asp ). Either look up the contractors listed on the permit, or talk to folks at LADBS and have them check that contractors are certified (ie the LADBS may not follow procedures)

    Second, ask them how they will ensure that demo actually happens according to their training. Just because contractors are certified does not mean they won’t take shortcuts. This is where the LA County Public Health Department can come in: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/TEA/ToxicEpi/lead.htm

    Third, contact the LA Pub Health Department, Environmental division (if you live in another city, you may have to contact your own city’s Pub Health Dept), and let them know there’s a project near your property, you have small kids, and you want them to assess and monitor the project. Some info is here: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/TEA/Lead_Programs/lead_main.htm
    Specifically their charter to respond to unsafe lead work (such as uncontained demo or improper demo).

    Fourth, get your children tested for lead before and after the project (and periodically as they grow). The county will do it or your primary phys will do it

    Finally, keep your kids environ safe: wet mop floors, door/ window sills, frequently. Wash their hands frequently, etc.

    A few additional resources:

    • Thank you True Freedom. I will look into all of that. It’s so scary. They haven’t even given us a date. I’d like to leave the area regardless of proper steps. They are just being so cavalier about all of this construction.
      I appreciate all of that info and research emensely.
      So the structure on Sunset still has one retaining wall up but it looks like it’s down for the most part. I liked that building too, it reminded me of England.

  7. It’s just a small house and it can be all packed up in a dumpster in a few hours. Does everything have to be made into a roadblock?

    Seriuosly- “Families at risk”?

    • @roberto : well, fortunately, the laws are very clear on this, so we are not subjected to someone’s opinion that “it’s no big deal”
      Civilized societies have rules. People should follow the rules. It’s that simple.
      There are plenty other less successful countries where rules are merely a suggestion and not enforced. Roberto, you may be happier in one of those places.

      • You seem to want to get everyone riled up over a project (that appears to have a permit) based on this weak idea-

        “The age of the buildings would implicate lead and asbestos for sure”

        You would be surprised how inaccurate that “internet diagnosis” can be. The construction materials that typically contain haz-mats are finish materials and a lot of the time they were removed, replaced or encapsulated over the years You can’t stand on the curb and stare hard at a house and asses whether the haz-mat reports are positive or negative. The engineers who granted the permit surely read the haz-mat reports . . . I didn’t but either did you.

        Perhaps you should move to a small village where you can ignore the laws and whip the villagers into an irrational frenzy.

        • Never said there were hazardous materials “for sure”.
          See, that’s the neat thing about these laws and procedures:
          if, indeed, proper permits have been pulled, contractors are certified, testing was done to show all materials had previously been removed…
          then when neighbors make an inquiry to LADBS, there will be a record of all that, and they will tell the people not to worry.. all is on the up and up.

          Also, I would not “assume” that the “engineers” who granted the permit read any reports whatsoever. If you’ve had any experience in this area (I have, as I’ve recently renovated three properties, which is why I know all this stuff), all you have to do is show that your contractors have been certified by the CACSLB. If no one asks any questions, all you have to do is give your “word” that you did testing that came up negative. They don’t check where you tested, how you tested, or frankly what the results were. Also, the city inspectors will not come watch the demo to ensure it’s being done properly. They will only come when you claim to be finished demo’ing (unless someone calls with a complaint), and even then, all the contractor has to do is show “some” paperwork saying that “some” tests were done. You could test a single area where you know it’s very, very unlikely to have any lead paint (even though you may be sure the rest of the house does), and usually that will suffice and send the inspector on their way as you chuckle about how you so easily duped them. The contractor is the one who is liable for all this, but all they have to prove is what they call “plausible deniability” to get out of it.. basically, all they have to show is that they did some reasonable due diligence to check… which ain’t much.

          The Health Dept is much more thorough and are much more of a pain in the ass, but they will only come if someone calls.

          I’m guessing you’re either a contractor who likes to skirt the laws, and you’re unhappy people are learning the game and getting wise to your shortcuts.. or you’re just clueless.

          Either way, if the current contractors are doing absolutely nothing wrong, then asking questions shouldn’t take any skin off their back.

          • This thread is very alarmist- given that the story is simply that a demo contractor did half-day of work with a permit. , , and it is done.

          • I think more important than this particular demo, is that people get educated on the topic.

            And to your point, I will say that the risk to neighbors across the street from a demo is quite small. The biggest issue is with sanding or sandblasting or peeling lead paint in a house you live in. And, typically, lead paint is usually only found on painted wood surfaces (esp those exposed to sun), and rarely on stucco, because lead paint was more expensive, but tended to hold up alot better on those high exposure surfaces (window sills, eaves, exterior door/jambs).

            So, this particular demo may or may not have been a bad deal, but at least people will have a better idea of who/ what to ask… and where to find some resources on the topic.

        • and frankly, if the new owner wants to be a good neighbor, they’ll do what I’ve done with my renovations. They will:
          a) send a letter or flyer to the neighbors, explaining what work will be done and when
          b) ensure them that you’ve taken the proper steps (gotten permits, licensed contractors) and even provide the contractor’s name/ number
          c) give them your number to call with any concerns or questions.
          d) actually carry out the work in a proper way that will protect the surrounding neighbors.

          On my first two renovations, I used a close friend who does this for a living, because I really trust him. He let me know he could save me a pile of money by getting around the rules. He knows all the tricks. Personally, I like to operate with ethics, so I ponied up the dough and did it the right (and expensive) way, but at the end of the day, I can sleep well because those little kids that live just on the other side of the fence will never be harmed by anything I’ve done.

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