A private hearing set for tomorrow at the L.A. City Attorney’s office could determine whether misdemeanor criminal charges will be filed against the massive 901 Strada Vecchia project in Bel-Air.
The hearing was referred to the office of City Attorney Mike Feuer by the L.A. Department of Building and Safety, which has penalized the project for numerous permit violations over the last several months.
Feuer’s spokesman Frank Mateljan said the hearing is for “allegations of zoning violations” at the property and that Mohamed Hadid, the developer of the project, is one of the respondents.
Mateljan called it a “prefiling hearing” prior to misdemeanor criminal charges being filed to “advise respondents of what the issue is and what steps can be taken to get into compliance.”
“Once we have an opportunity to speak to the parties involved, we give them a clear picture of what we see as violations… and what consequences could come down,” Mateljan said. “Usually the folks sort of have a lightbulb that goes off. It’s generally very successful and very efficient.”
In September, the LADBS revoked five building permits and levied a Stop Work Order on the project. At that time, LADBS spokesman Luke Zamperini said the main point of contention was the natural grade of the site, which LADBS believes changed over time due to unpermitted work. Zamperini said Hadid, the developer of the project, would have to “come back with a plan to change what they have there now to match what we believe is the actual natural grade.”
That still hasn’t happened, and Bob Steinbach, who heads the LADBS’ Inspection Bureau, confirmed in December that the project was “in violation of a Stop Work Order issued by this department” in relation to alleged unpermitted work that had taken place over the Thanksgiving holiday with the Stop Work Order was still in place.
Steinbach said an investigation was underway, and from there, the matter was forwarded to the City Attorney’s office.
Hadid’s attorney Ben Reznik told that he looked forward to being able to show the project has “all the permits, and all the inspections needed to move forward.”
L.A. Municipal Code section 11.00(m) says the following on code violations:
– “Any person violating any of the provisions or failing to comply with any of the mandatory requirements of this Code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
– “Every violation of this Code is punishable as a misdemeanor unless provision is otherwise made, and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period of not more than six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment.”
– “As an alternative enforcement method that may be used in the sole discretion of the City, violations of this Code may be addressed through the use of an Administrative Citation as set forth in Article 1.2 of Chapter 1 of this Code. The administrative fines prescribed by Chapter 1, Article 1.2 may be sought in addition to any other remedy, including, but not limited to, criminal remedies, injunctive relief, specific performance, and any other remedy provided by law. The remedies provided by Chapter 1, Article 1.2 of this Code are cumulative to those prescribed by this Code or other applicable law and are not exclusive.”
– “Each person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of this Code is committed, continued or permitted by that person, and shall be punishable accordingly.”