10:51am PT by Eriq Gardner
Paramount Pictures' Studio Lot Expansion Challenged in Court
Paramount Pictures recently got approval from the City of Los Angeles for a $700 million expansion of its Hollywood studio lot. One neighbor is unhappy.
Greg Degraf filed a lawsuit on Thursday over the addition of nearly 1.4 million square feet of space to the studio’s 60-acre site on Melrose Avenue. The complaint identifies him as a resident of the area whose view of the Hollywood sign is about to be obscured by a new parking structure. That's not grounds for the litigation, but may help explain some of his dissatisfaction.
The complaint against Los Angeles seeks to set aside approvals upon allegations that the City Council has violated various laws and regulations by failing to properly assess impacts to traffic and air quality. Degraf also contends that zoning plans were amended without consent of Neighborhood Councils, including the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council opposing the project.
The increase in limits to heights for buildings to allow a 150-foot office tower has "significant impacts on aesthetics in the area" and the allowance of massive new electronic signage "will overwhelm the smaller residential and commercial structures adjacent to them," according to the complaint.
There also are objections to how Paramount's expanded lot will impact historical preservation districts and noise as well as how the City allegedly violated due process by not posting accurate notice of hearings.
Degraf is represented by Craig Collins at Blum Collins.
City councilmen have sold the project to the public as a way to “keep Hollywood in Hollywood," keep jobs and improve the neighborhood overall via millions of dollars pledged by Paramount.