HOLLYWOOD’S CONTROVERSIAL MILLENNIUM PROJECT:
SURPRISING INFORMATION RAISES NEW RED FLAGS ABOUT THE PROJECT’S SAFETY
Opponents of the controversial Millennium Hollywood Project will hold a news conference Monday, July 22, to disclose new information that strengthens their complaints of shocking irregularities in LA City Hall’s review of the project and confirms their claims about the project’s life-threatening earthquake risks.
The City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday, July 24, on the massive project at the Capitol Records site.
When: Monday, July 22, 10 am
Where: Intersection of Argyle and Yucca Streets, Hollywood, adjacent to Millennium project
Who: Attorney Robert P. Silverstein and community leaders
“We believe this new evidence should be a game-changer in how the public and City Council view this project,” said Robert P. Silverstein, the environmental attorney advising more than 40 community groups opposing the project. “The latest information substantiates our concerns about the pattern of official dereliction of duty and developer fraud that, taken together, have given the public and the City Council an incredibly false picture of the earthquake risks of this project.”
“This new evidence has only very recently come to our attention,” said Silverstein. “We believe the Los Angeles City Council would be grossly – and possibly criminally – negligent if it ignores these new warning signs and approves this project on Wednesday.”
Silverstein will elaborate on these new developments at Monday’s news conference.
In previous public hearings and documents, the opponents have pointed out that the Millennium’s 35 and 39 story skyscrapers would sit directly on the Hollywood Fault and that the developer’s consultant, Langan Engineering, has repeatedly tried to hide this information from the public and from city decision-makers in its studies.
Silverstein warned that the lives of as many as 3,000 persons who would work, live and shop in the giant project would be at risk if it goes forward as planned.
On its website, the California Department of Conservation explains that it is illegal, under the State’s Alquist-Priolo Act, to build on top of an active fault. That website says, in part:
“Before a project can be permitted, cities and counties must require a geologic investigation to demonstrate that proposed buildings will not be constructed across active faults [emphasis added]. An evaluation and written report of a specific site must be prepared by a licensed geologist. If an active fault is found, a structure for human occupancy cannot be placed over the trace of the fault and must be set back from the fault (generally 50 feet) [emphasis added].”
In a July 15 letter to the city’s Building and Safety Department, Silverstein complained that the developer’s engineers “fail to acknowledge, and accordingly suppress, relevant and authoritative data,” that show the State’s official earthquake maps “indicate the existence of active fault traces” running directly through the Millennium project. In its efforts to mislead the public, for example, the Millennium project team falsified a key map to depict the project site as being situated 850 feet north of its true location, Silverstein pointed out.
In that same letter, Silverstein accused Langan of “breaching its professional duties” to provide the public, through the EIR process, with an honest risk-assessment of its client’s project and stated “we believe [Langan] has engaged with the Millennium developer to commit fraud” by misleading the public about the earthquake dangers.
Last month, Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik scathingly wrote (“Caltrans Waves Red Flag on Millennium Hollywood Project,” June 19, 2013) that Caltrans has joined Millennium project opponents in accusing Millennium of using “bogus statistics and trampling over state law” to secure approval of its project, claiming it will generate only 150 additional trips on the adjacent Hollywood Freeway.
Hiltzik reported that Caltrans believes the $665 million Millennium project, comprising 461 residential units, 254 hotel rooms, more than a quarter million square feet of office space and 80,000 square feet of retail, will have a “disastrous” traffic impact on the 101 Freeway unless it is significantly modified.
In a July 16 letter to Caltrans, Silverstein wrote:
The City and developer have ignored Caltrans’ requests for [traffic] analysis and studies as part of the EIR process….This is not only a problem related to this project, but it has become chronic in the City’s processing of approvals for other development projects throughout the City which have significant impacts on the State’s facilities, but which are never adequately analyzed or mitigated by the City. The result is dramatically worsening infrastructure and a shifting of the costs and burden of dealing with these projects to Caltrans and the taxpayers [emphasis added].
“We sincerely hope the city will drop its misguided rush to approve the project and honestly take into consideration the life-threatening earthquake safety and traffic impacts of the Millennium project,” Silverstein said. “In particular we urge Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to support the more than 40 community groups city-wide who oppose this project. For Councilman O’Farrell to vote for it would be a terrible way for Hollywood’s new councilman to begin his career.”
Robert P. Silverstein, Esq.
310 597-9345 (office)
310 709-0056 (mobile)
Join your neighbors at Yucca and Argyle at 9:45 a.m. tomorrow morning to get organized for this press conference!