Caruso Has Applied for a Master Sidewalk/Street

This kiosk located at Swarthmore Avenue and Monument Street is illegally placed on the public right of way. The City is not asking Rick Caruso to remove it at the time, because Caruso is applying for a revocable permit that would allow conditional encroachment of  the public right of way.
Photo: SP

Encroachment Permit without Public Hearing

Circling the News has learned that Rick Caruso has applied for a Master Revocable Permit for the sidewalks/streets surrounding his mall.

His kiosk on the corner of Swarthmore and Monument is currently illegal because it is on the public right-of-way. It has not been moved because according to L.A. City Department of Public Works Information Officer Elena Stern, “Inspectors have determined that the kiosk does not pose any immediate hazard.”

Nothing will be done until it is decided whether Caruso will receive a permit for the sidewalks and streets. Stern said, “The master permit will cover the entire project.” She explained that all applications fall under the same process review and consideration.

CTN asked if the public is notified or if there is a hearing. She responded in an August 30 email, “The permit is issued by the Bureau of Engineering and there is no public hearing required.”

According to the Bureau of Engineering website, “The purpose of the Revocable Permit (R-Permit) is to grant conditional encroachment of the public right-of-way by private parties not authorized to occupy the right-of-way.”

It appears that if the Bureau of Engineering gives this permit, Caruso would have unlimited access to Swarthmore, Monument and Sunset without having to apply for further permits or to give public notice, if he wished to put toilet plungers up and down Swarthmore.

Below is the definition of the R Permit found on the Bureau of Engineering website. Circling the News called the BOE number about the application, but no one has responded. In the directions, it does say it might be advisable to seek neighborhood opinion by way of a questionnaire.

“A street is defined as any public thoroughfare or way, including the sidewalk, parkway, and any other public property bordering upon a public way. A street serves several purposes or uses. Primarily, it serves as a passageway for vehicles and pedestrians. The borders of streets, although in some instances not used as passageways, are still used by the public for setback purposes, and therefore should be maintained clear of obstructions where feasible.

“The R-Permit is also a mechanism to utilize in special circumstances where placement of private structures out of a right-of-way would create a hardship due to topography or other restraints. Generally, private structures should not be permitted in the public right-of-way.

“The purpose of the Revocable Permit (R-Permit) is to grant conditional encroachment of the public right-of-way by private parties not authorized to occupy the right-of-way. The R-Permit review process ensures that encroachments are checked for compliance with the City’s specifications for design, use, material, and inspection.

“The most significant factor in considering whether the City approves a request for an encroachment of any type is the status of the encroachments of other properties in the neighborhood. If there are no other similar encroachments and the proposed encroachment is significant, it may be advisable to seek neighborhood opinion by way of a questionnaire.”

The Pacific Palisades Community Council Chair George Wolfberg, co-chair David Card and Councilman Mike Bonin’s field deputy Lisa Cahill were contacted to see if they had a position on the application.


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21 Responses to Caruso Has Applied for a Master Sidewalk/Street

  1. BC says:

    Unbelievable. Just when you thought they were done taking, after they crippled the Farmers Market, apparently squashed the Design Review Board oversight of the project (documented elsewhere on Circling The News), took two alleys, part of Sunset Blvd, intentionally placed a kiosk in the public right-of-way (not to mention the possible trademark infringement and potential public safety hazard of a private building identified as LAPD), now they want to take all of the sidewalks surrounding the project. For what? Are they planning to surround the mall with kiosks? Or are they concerned about potential encroachment issues with tables and chairs on the sidewalk in front of Erewhon and Sweet Laurel? Or???

    The City’s document regarding Private Use of the Public Right of Way further states…

    “However, as a result of the R-Permit approval process, neighbors may
    become aware of the proposed encroachment.
    For R-Permits that require a full Board Report, a public hearing by the Board of
    Public Works is required for approval. The posting of the R-Permit item on the
    Board of Public Works agenda is considered sufficient public notice.
    In all R-Permit cases, the Applicant is highly encouraged to notify neighbors of
    encroachment plans.”

    How can such a permit be justified? Why should such arrogance be rewarded? It’s time that the community demand a hearing.

  2. Trish Sobul says:

    Please, People.. Don’t object just to object. The kiosk is attractive, it serves a purpose, I don’t see that it interferes with the public’s movement or safety.

  3. Sue says:


    I don’t disagree that the little kiosk is cute, but we live in a city that requires people to follow laws. I feel that if you don’t like the laws, work to have them changed. All Caruso has to do is pull the little kiosk out of the public right of way and put it somewhere on his property.


  4. Ted Weitz says:


    Please provide the public the application or file number and the location if anyone wishes to send objections.

  5. BC says:

    What purpose does the kiosk serve? I have never seen it used for anything but storing a portable air conditioner.

  6. Alex says:

    He could put it on wheels and place it in the middle of Sunset on Sundays or Wednesday nights to slow down racing cars and motorcycles. Or, at least put a “dummy” cop inside.

  7. Sigrid Hofer says:

    What is a master sidewalk/street???
    We used to have a nice, wide sidewalk on Monument Street, which we missed when it was boarded up during the construction period.
    The sidewalk area also included benches, at least 2 sets of two benches each, seating 3/6, placed perpendicular to the street. I have not seen them and there would not be space for them nowadays any longer because in some places the sidewalk area is “encroached” by buildings that are very close, and by at least one tree well that takes too much space – in front of the sushi place.
    What was the purpose again that the “police kiosk” serves?

  8. Sue says:


    Thanks I’m still laughing!!!


  9. Sue says:

    According to the City, the person handling the permit is Michael Patonai. His email is
    His mail address is: Michael Patonai
    WLA District Engineer
    West Los Angeles District Office
    1828 Sawtelle Blvd. 3rd Floor
    L.A. Ca. 90025-5516
    and the telephone number for the District Office is (310) 575-8631.

    I was not given the application number.


  10. Jim Conlon says:

    The applicant has misappropriated the name ‘Los Angeles Police Department’ and the Police Department’s shield, implying that this is an officially sanctioned police kiosk which it is not. Not only should the Dept of Engineering be made aware of this, but so should the LAPD.
    The misrepresentation is intended to give the general public a sense of security, which is misleading and false. There is no police presence associate with the kiosk, as the postings indicate.

  11. Patrice Dobrowitsky says:

    His guards mistakenly tell people they can’t take pictures, they can’t ride bikes in the mall, these are minor, but he has changed the entire traffic pattern of the Alphabet Streets and now he wants to be able to close streets whenever he wants? This is unacceptable. Everyone should contact, listed above in the article. This is too much, again.

  12. Donna Vaccarino says:

    This is a truly pathetic grab of public property and the public ROW (Right of Way).
    Enough. Has greed and power no end?
    What’s the total SF of the potentially confiscated City property? At current market value, what would the City be getting? And, if Bonin supports this …. how much is he getting?

    Control of city sidewalks, which are in the public domaine, is a complex issue.
    What type of precedent does this set for our community?
    This is not about Caruso per se, it is about the long term planning of our community and the control of the public domaine by developers. There is a reason we have “public sidewalks”, they are for the public and the public’s right of access.
    Sidewalks belong to all of us.

  13. Sarah says:

    Sue says: “We live in a city that requires people to follow laws.” I see RC following, “Posession is nine tenths of the Law” by leaving the kyosk there so long and putting an LAPD officer inside to make it feel legit. Are there any Palisadians motivated to actively reclaim Swarthmore for civic use? Bring back benches and the tiny library? Taco pushcarts? Kids’ lemonaide stands? Arts and crafts sold by local makers? Card tables for ballot propositions and voter registration? Buskers? Republican, Democrat and Libitarian clubs’ membership solicitation? School sports and music fundraisers? Charity drives?

  14. Stephen P Dickey says:

    Other than the encroaching police box (which the city has deemed not a hazard), what other kind of encroachments on city property are folks worried about? Sidewalk tables and chairs for restaurants? Street closures for special events perhaps a sidewalk sale or farmer’s market? Benches placed on the sidewalks? Direction signs in the parkway? Seems people are complaining but not knowing what they are complaining about. The reporter writes without any getting comment from the entity asking for the permit.

  15. Sue says:


    Caruso’s public information officers have not responded to any requests from me for close to a year. It seems to me that Caruso should not have any more rights than you or I. If I wanted to put a shed on the other corner of Swarthmore and Monument, in the public right of way, should I be allowed? No hazard, there. How about a lemonade stand on that Monument sidewalk or the Swarthmore sidewalk? it would not present a hazard. Would Caruso allow a kid to do that? Currently Caruso should not have a say if a kid wanted to do that, but if he got the permit, he would–basically the sidewalks would be his to decide.


  16. Stephen Dickey says:

    If one wants to put a lemonade stand or shed on the sidewalk in front of their home, a permit should be asked for, just as Palisades Village is applying for a one.

  17. BC says:

    Maybe we should build a shed on the other corner. After a community design contest, of course.

  18. Sue says:


    The key is your statement “is applying for one.” Should you be allowed to put something up before you’ve applied for the permit?


  19. Sarah Arsone says:

    I have talked to people and found enthusiasm for Safety and Community Policing on Swarthmore and Monument. Without the kiosk this space could: Be an area for clearly marked Police/Fire Parking Zone so officers can come and go easily and park High-Visibility Marked Vehicles as crime deterrent when they are absent. Eliminate hazard for cars now turning blind onto Monument. Extend officers’ flexibility to walk the beat in the whole Village—not just Carusoville. Avoid exposing officers to sitting-duck-cop-in-a-box kiosk trap if, God Forbid, a shooter appears. Allow officer to move faster when nanoseconds count. Hopefully, there will be a hearing and more ideas can be proposed.

  20. Alan Goldsmith says:

    In June I observed a Caruso security man confront a man and woman on the sidewalk 10ft from the crosswalk that joins the two sections of the Village. The woman was a model wearing a fancy dress and the man was photographing her in a very low key manner. The guard ordered them to stop doing it on private property. This was the same portion of sidewalk that would have fronted 31 Flavors. I told the guard that the people were within their rights. But they were frightened by the guard and left.

  21. Sarah says:

    Ironically, this assault on freedom of expression in public space in the Land of Free happened smack dab between Caruso’s Steadfast Patriot and the American flag.

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