Hollywood Millennium Lawsuit: Homeowners Sue City Over Environmental, Earthquake Concerns

Marking another legal challenge to the Hollywood Millennium project, a coalition of local homeowners filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Los Angeles and the developer, the group's attorney said.

The suit alleges the city failed to study the environmental impacts of the two-tower development and accuses city officials of hiding evidence of a possible earthquake fault near the site, coalition attorney Robert Silverstein said. The suit, filed in L.A. Superior Court, asks the court to revoke the city's approvals.

"This is a fight to ensure that City Hall cannot throw inconvenient laws and facts to the wind," Silverstein said in a statement, "just because such laws and facts may upset powerful special interests."

The Hollywood Millennium, a planned development consisting of 35- and 39-story buildings near the iconic Capitol Records building and 101 Freeway, was approved by the City Council last month. Area councilman Mitch O'Farrell and Mayor Eric Garcetti have both embraced the project.

Local homeowners groups contend the developer didn't undertake proper seismic analysis on the planned Hollywood Millennium site, which may cross the Hollywood Fault. Developer Millennium Partners disagrees and has argued the analysis was thorough.

On Wednesday, Millennium founding partner Philip Aarons called Silverstein's allegations "specious."

"We have complete confidence that the Los Angeles Superior Court system will uphold the city's approval of Millennium Hollywood, and we look forward to the commencement of construction," Aarons said in a statement.

The lawsuit comes days after the W Hotel and Residences filed a similar legal challenge over environmental concerns. Benjamin Reznik, attorney for the hotel, alleged the city approved a "generic, amorphous" development and didn't force the developer to detail what it intends to build.

Reznik's suit alleges the city also failed to do adequate seismic studies.

Lawsuits over large-scale developments are common, although in the case of the Millennium, there are a number of disparate groups expressing concerns about the project.

State highway agency Caltrans wants more analysis done on the traffic impact of Millennium Hollywood on the 101 Freeway. If the city doesn't address its concerns, the agency will resort to legal action, Caltrans spokesman Judy Gish told the Daily News in an interview last week.

Silverstein's lawsuit filed Wednesday also raises the traffic issue. The suit contends the city "illegally ignored" Caltrans' request for more studies. ___

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