LOS ANGELES, April 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bowing to pressure from more than 1,000 local residents, and calls for full environmental review from Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz and the City of Beverly Hills, the landowner who submitted plans for a massive 85,000 square foot residential compound in Benedict Canyon has withdrawn his application.
"This is a huge victory for residents of Los Angeles," said neighbor Martha Karsh who filed the original appeal of the project with the City of Los Angeles. "This development scheme should never have been allowed to get as far as it did."
Save Benedict Canyon, the group formed to demand full environmental review and accountability of the land owner to local environmental and safety impacts of the proposed project, will remain vigilant to follow any additional applications made by the landowner for the property.
"The land owner has failed in working with the community and has resisted any meaningful environmental review as required by the California Environmental Quality Act," said neighbor Michael Eisenberg. "We are thrilled he withdrew his application, but make no mistake, we will continue to monitor every move he makes in regard to development of this site. Given his track record, we have to remain on high alert."
"The City of Los Angeles cannot allow this landowner to try to piecemeal a project as a way to avoid public scrutiny and accountability under existing environmental laws," Karsh said. "My best advice is for the landowner to get to know his neighbors, share plans and work cooperatively with us," she said.
In March, angry Benedict Canyon residents organized a press conference on the narrow roads near the property following a front-page Los Angeles Times story about the project. Speakers strongly condemned the property owner's secrecy and the ill-conceived commercial-scale construction proposed for the highly-graded hillside as well as the owner's attempt to avoid a full environmental review required under CEQA. Neighbors organized on Facebook and through the www.SaveBenedictCanyon.com website, and collected signatures for a petition within their community.
The years-long, multi-structure construction project on Tower Lane called for a 42,000-square-foot main house, a double-winged villa of more than 27,000 square feet, a 4,400-square-foot guest house, a 5,300-square-foot staff quarters and a 2,700-square-foot gatehouse. As the Times points out, those structures combined would occupy an area larger than Griffith Observatory.
The Benedict Canyon Association and the Bel Air/Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council also voted to oppose the proposed mega residential compound, and urged the City of Los Angeles to conduct a full environmental review that would analyze the potential impacts of the proposed mega-family compound.
"This is great news for the community," said Michael Chasteen of The Benedict Canyon Association. "The proposed compound was simply too big and the potential impacts too dangerous. The community really came together with the intention of stopping this project, as proposed, in its tracks, and it seems we have done exactly that. We will continue to monitor any future plans very closely."
SOURCE Save Benedict Canyon