Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tower Lane Properties v. City of Los Angeles

California Court of Appeal, Second District, First Division

February 28, 2014

TOWER LANE PROPERTIES, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES, Defendant and Appellant; Bruce Karsh et al., Intervenors and Appellants.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. James C. Chalfant, Judge. Affirmed. (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. BS137339).

Page 263

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 264

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 265

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 266

COUNSEL

[168 Cal.Rptr.3d 360] Carmen A. Trutanich, City Attorney, Terry Kaufmann Macias, Supervising Attorney, Michael J. Bostrom, Deputy City Attorney, for Defendant and Appellant.

Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell, Robert E. Mangels, Benjamin M. Reznik, Matthew D. Hinks for Plaintiff and Respondent.

Latham & Watkins, James L. Arnone, Jeffrey P. Carlin, Benjamin J. Hanelin for Intervenors and Appellants.

OPINION

CHANEY, J., Acting P. J.

Respondent Tower Lane Properties (Tower Lane) sought a grading permit from the City of Los Angeles (the City) for construction of a three-residence family compound over three contiguous hillside lots totaling 85,000 square feet. The City's engineers conditioned the permit upon compliance with Los Angeles Municipal Code section 91.7006.8.2, which states no grading permit shall be issued for a hillside site larger than 60,000 square feet unless a " tentative tract map" has been approved by a city planner.

Page 267

Arguing no tentative tract map is required when a builder does not propose to [168 Cal.Rptr.3d 361] subdivide the land, Tower Lane instituted writ proceedings to compel the City to set aside the permit condition. The trial court agreed that the Los Angeles Municipal Code requires no tentative tract map when a building project involves no subdivision of land, which Tower Lane's project did not. It therefore ordered the City to clear the permit condition. The City and two neighboring intervenor property owners appeal.

We agree with the trial court that a tentative tract map is required only when land is subdivided. Because Tower Lane proposed no subdivision, we affirm.

Factual Background

Tower Lane seeks to build a single-family residential compound on property located in the Benedict Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles. The property consists of three separate but contiguous lots located in an area designated as " hillside" under the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC).[1] On May 3, 2011, Tower Lane applied to the City's Department of Building and Safety for building and grading permits for 35,452 square feet of residential construction, including three residences, a pool and spa, a pool cabana building, a pool service and equipment building, accessory living quarters, and associated parking areas. The Department of Building and Safety forwarded the building plans to the City's Planning Department, which reviewed them to ensure compliance with City building codes.

During its review process the Planning Department notified Tower Lane that to obtain a grading permit it must comply with LAMC section 91.7006.8.2, which requires approval by that department of a tentative tract map whenever grading will be conducted on a hillside area larger than 60,000 square feet.[2] Tower Lane objected to this requirement and applied for a waiver.

The City conditioned issuance of any waiver upon preparation of an environmental impact assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code section 21000 et seq. Refusing to prepare such an assessment, Tower Lane instead filed a petition for a writ of mandate to

Page 268

compel the City to clear the section 91.7006.8.2 requirement. Appellants Bruce and Martha Karsh, residents of Benedict Canyon who reside next to Tower Lane's property, intervened in the writ proceedings.[3]

The trial court found section 91.7006.8.2 by its plain language, regulatory context and historical application applies only when a hillside project involves subdividing land, which Tower Lane's project did not. The court therefore granted Tower [168 Cal.Rptr.3d 362] Lane's petition and issued a writ directing the City to clear the section 91.7006.8.2 permit condition from Tower Lane's project.[4] The City and intervenors timely appealed.

Discussion

1. Standard of Review


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.