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Foundation sues to block project near Palladium

LOS ANGELES — The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to overturn approval of a project that includes a pair of residential skyscrapers in the parking lot behind the Hollywood Palladium.

The suit, which names the city, City Council and developers of the Palladium Residences Project, CH Palladium, LLC and CH Palladium Holdings, LLC, as defendants, claims the planning approval process for the project violated the California Environmental Quality Act, the City Charter, the Los Angeles Municipal Code and other laws.

“We believe and assert in our lawsuit that the pattern and practice of the mayor, city attorney, city Planning Department, city Planning Commission and City Council operating in defiance of an express City Charter limitation on authority to process and grant general plan amendments is a willful failure to comply with public duties imposed by the city’s fundamental land use laws,” said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation president.

“Through this legal action, we seek to hold these public officials accountable and overturn the faulty and we believe illegal approval of the Palladium Project.”

The City Council voted 12-0 on March 22 to approve the project, which will be located next to the foundation’s headquarters.

“Our petition and complaint also seeks a declaration of rights and injunctive relief invalidating the city’s process of piecemeal general plan amendments for individual parcels, which violate [the foundation’s] and other community members rights to a comprehensive general planning process for the coherent development of L.A.,” said Liza Brereton, legal counsel for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The $320 million project, at 6215 Sunset Blvd., would be built on a 3.6-acre site that takes up a block bounded by Selma, Argyle and El Centro avenues, minus an area taken up by an existing business on the northwest corner.

The plan calls for construction of 731 residential units, which could range from studios to three-bedroom apartments spread out between two towers of up to 30 stories each, with some commercial and retail space on the ground floor.

The plan includes preservation of the existing Hollywood Palladium concert venue.

Aaron Green, a spokesman for Crescent Heights, another of the project’s developers, and vice president of a lobbying firm, said in a March 22 interview that threats of a lawsuit were “simply frivolous.”

“The Palladium Residences was unanimously approved by the city Planning Commission and City Council, and council member Gil Cedillo has called it a ‘model project,’” Green said.

“The Palladium Residences has more than 3,500 supporters and provides desperately needed housing at rates regular people can afford.”

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a major funder and supporter of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, a proposed March ballot measure seeking to rein in development projects throughout Los Angeles.

 

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