On March 22, a Circling the News reader sent photos and a note regarding a house under construction at 430 Via de la Paz: “The builder is apparently trying to game the City/Community by building up a flat pad by about 3 feet. He/she will try to use the +3 feet as a base from which to get heights approved.”
The reader added, “Look at the garage door and the front steps, they are completely covered [by dirt]. They must have trucked in many tons of dirt/sand to the property. Amazing — never seen anyone do it so brazenly. Guess they think with the fence up, no one will notice?”
CTN contacted L.A. City Building and Safety Chief Inspector Jeff Napier to see if there were permits, while also alerting him that neighbors were concerned that if there’s a heavy rainstorm, the dirt buildup is not stable and could run downhill to the Via de las Olas bluffs.
Napier responded that he had researched the property. “It appears that no permits have been issued,” he said. He asked if a neighbor could fill out a complaint form, which would automatically lead to an investigation. A name and phone number is required but is kept confidential. (To report a code violation, visit: https://www.ladbsservices2.lacity.org/OnlineServices/?service=rav)
On April 8, Napier reported to CTN that “There is no permit for the grading work/import of soil and A Notice of Code Violation was issued by Code Enforcement to the property owner.”
CTN asked about the next steps, and Napier responded: “A grading permit is required, and the Notice of Code Violation does not carry fines. If the property owner does not comply, then the case will be escalated, and an Order to Comply will be issued with code violation and investigation fees.”
Thanks for reporting on this underhanded building tactic. The house looks like it’s sinking into quicksand! It will be interesting to see how this turns out.