L.A. Derby Dolls roll into trouble in the wake of Ghost Ship fire [updated]

Skull and crossbones mark the home of The Derby Dolls

EL SERENO –The L.A. Derby Dolls have canceled an upcoming match and say the rest of the 2017 schedule is in jeopardy after city officials declined to issue the permits that allow the all-womens roller derby league to hold bouts at a former warehouse on Alhambra Avenue. The Derby Dolls say the L.A. Fire and Building and Safety departments are no longer willing to grant special event permits in the wake of the Oakland’s deadly Ghost Ship fire, which claimed the lives of 36 people in a former warehouse that was being used as an unpermitted performance space and artist studios.

Now, the Derby Dolls have launched an ambitious fundraiser to pay for the costly process of seeking a variance from city zoning laws. That variance would allow the bouts to be held without having to apply for special permits. “If we cannot obtain permits to hold our bouts, we will very quickly be in serious financial trouble,” the league said on its GoFundMe.com fundraiser page.

The league needs to raise more than $27,000 just to pay for the necessary city filing fees and design costs. Then it will need to pay more than $75,000 in construction costs and nearly $17,000 to pay for operating expenses while it goes without income from the matches.

The Eastsider has contacted the L.A. Fire Department for details about the permits.

Update: The Fire Department has referred us to Building & Safety for comment. Meanwhile, Victoria Yarnish with the Derby Dolls elaborated on their situation:

“The L.A. Derby Dolls have been (and continue to be) working closely with the city to find a permanent zoning/permitting solution for our unique business. This process is long and expensive and has recently accelerated for us because of the denial of our temp events permits, which we have been relying on to conduct our public games (which fund our operations). Safety and compliance have always been our priority and we have worked closely with the Fire Marshal through inspections and site visits during events.”

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