“From Hollywood, Rumblings and Requests for CEQA Reform”

April 29, 2011

By Dakota Smith

“As we’ve repeatedly covered over the last two years, Hollywood is ground zero for lawsuits over development. Consider what’s happened with the proposed Target, Emerson College, Bvld 6200, or Sunset and Gordon projects. “Everyone sues in Hollywood,” is what lobbyists will warn their clients. More often than not, locals will sue over California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) issues. Some of these neighborhood activists argue they have no other weapon than CEQA in their arsenel against big developers; developers and some city officials counter these activists are exploiting the legal process. The issue of CEQA-related lawsuits is black and white for some, murky for others.

Amid the debate, the latest newsletter from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce calls for legislative CEQA reform. From the newsletter: “Virtually all major development in Hollywood has ground to a halt,” said Chamber President & CEO Leron Gubler. “The sad thing is that thousands of people could have been put to work if it had not been for these lawsuits or threats to sue. And now other developers are reconsidering doing projects in the community because they are fearful of frivolous lawsuits.” The Chamber newsletter cites at least six Hollywood projects that have faced legal challenges, and states that local law firm Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell has been working with the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee to research and draft a bill that that would help to shorten the timeline for CEQA reviews. You can read the newsletter via this link.”

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