SILVER LAKE -- The local councilman wants to look into possibly increasing financial and other penalties for unpermitted construction following the partial demolition of a Silver Lake Boulevard storefront.
The proposal by Councilman Mitch O'Farrell comes as Silver Lake and neighborhoods across the city have seen scores of buildings demolished and remodeled as real estate values rose.
Last month, the front half of a one-story, building that recently house Yolk gift shop was scraped away. It was one of several Streamline-Moderne buildings on Silver Lake Boulevard that some preservationists had wanted to protect. A Building & Safety Department spokesman told Curbed L.A. that the owners would be ordered to halt all unauthorized work.
While the city issued permits for a remodel, "the property owner has exceeded the scope of work as listed on his/her permits" and was ordered to comply and stop all work in progress, said department spokesman Kim Arther in an email to The Eastsider. The owner has submitted new plans, which are being reviewed.
In his motion, O'Farrell said that current financial and other penalties are not high enough to deter unpermitted activities. In some cases, the motion said, it might be cheaper to pay the penalties than to follow building codes and regulations.
"The new [landlord] of 'Yolk' tore down most of the vintage Streamline Moderne structure in blatant disregard of the community, it’s history, and in outright ignorance of how important architecture and preservation is in Los Angeles," said O'Farrell in a statement. "Their actions were unacceptable, beyond thoughtless, and caught everyone by surprise."
In addition to possibly raising penalties, O'Farrell has proposed that Building & Safety look at the feasibility of slapping more penalties on chronic violators and alternative penalties.
O'Farrell's proposal still needs the approval of the full City Council before it moves forward.
Update: This story was updated with information from the Department of Building and Safety