The department's new policy - dubbed the Hollywood Community Plan Update Injunction Clearance - is in response to a Feb. 11 ruling issued by the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The court determined that the department's Hollywood Community Plan Update was "fundamentally flawed" when it was approved in June 2012. Because the Hollywood growth plan is void, the city is prohibited from granting any "authority, permits or entitlements which derive from the HCPU or its EIR (Environmental Impact Report)," the court said.
A temporary - and unannounced - hold was placed last week on all projects in the Hollywood area by the Planning and Building & Safety departments until the Planning Department could issue a response to the court ruling. The response was issued this morning as Zoning Information File No. 2433, a 4-page memo with instructions on what projects could still move forward and which type of projects would be put on hold indefinitely.
The good news for property owners in Hollywood is that many projects will be able to move forward, albeit with an extra level of review.
But according to ZI-2433, any project that has an entitlement request which rely on the HCPU or its EIR are now on hold until the City Council passes legislation that addresses the court's concerns. The council voted Tuesday to instruct the Planning Department to return within 30 days with a timeline and cost.
In the meantime, dozens of projects that were filed with the Planning Department are on hold. That's because those projects include entitlement requests such as Zone Changes, Zone Variances or other deviations from the Zone Code that can no longer be decided by the department because the community plan for the Hollywood area is void.
A LandUseLA.com review of the department's online records has found 28 cases that are now on hold which were filed with the Planning Department's Office of Zoning Administration between Aug. 11, 2013 and Feb. 8, 2014. The projects include everything from minor entitlement requests such as yard deviations to major projects such as hotels and mixed-use projects. It is safe to assume there are additional projects filed prior to August 2013 that didn't receive entitlement relief by Tuesday and are now on hold.
One of the more interesting entitlement cases that is now ensnared in this injunction hold is a request from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to add 7 new mausoleums and/or wall crypt structures. In October, the cemetery submitted a request for a Zone Variance and Zoning Administrator's Adjustment, among other entitlements, to be able to build the new mausoleums.
As mentioned previously, the majority of projects in Hollywood will be able to move forward once they receive approval from city planners assigned to the HCPU Injunction Clearance process. According to ZI-2433, building permit requests in the Hollywood area will be reviewed and approved if they: don't require a Planning entitlement (i.e. - "by right"); only need ministerial clearances tied to previously issued building permits; or require discretionary approvals under one of the special districts in the Hollywood area as long as those approvals don't require an amendment and/or exception.
All of this stems from appeals filed by Hollywood-area homeowners groups against the city's June 2012 approval of the Hollywood Community Plan Update. The groups objected to the plan, saying it was based upon false growth assumptions and didn't adequately address infrastructure issues for the population growth that the community plan allowed.
A tentative ruling was issued in December but it wasn't until last week that the written Superior Court determination was issued, requiring the city to stop issuing permits based upon the updated Hollywood plan.
How long will this injunction last? It's unknown. But the City Council instructed the Planning Department to return in a month with a plan and cost for fixing the Hollywood Community Plan, not to return with the actual fix itself. Once the department gets council approval on the timeline and cost, it would presumably take several months of department work and then public hearings until the City Council can vote on the updated Hollywood Community Plan Update.
In the meantime, dozens of projects currently in the pipeline plus countless more that will be filed this year, will be on hold.
ZI No. 2433: Hollywood Community Plan Update Injunction Clearance Instructions
Curbed LA: NIMBYs Put Indefinite Stop to All Building Permits in Hollywood
City Council motion: Instructions to Planning Department re Hollywood Community Plan Update
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Request for 7 New Mausoleums:
LA Times: Judge Deals Major Blow to Hollywood Growth Plan