Will Raymond Chan be more responsive to community concerns now that he is officially in charge of the Los Angeles Building and Safety Department?
That is what some local residents are asking after it was made official this week by a unanimous L.A. City Council vote that that Chan, a longtime veteran of the department, would be promoted from his interim status to permanent head of LADBS.
The LADBS has come under intense criticism in recent years after a bribery scandal that led to prison sentences for some employees, as well as the agency’s allowing construction projects in areas close to earthquake faults.
An ethics complaint was filed in 2013 regarding Chan and his relationship with the lead counsel for the controversial Millennium Hollywood project, but the L.A. Ethics Commission cleared Chan of any wrongdoing.
More locally, Bel-Air residents have found Chan and his department unresponsive to numerous concerns over unpermitted construction work, illegal parking of trucks, illegal work hours and unconstrained amounts of dirt hauling from sites.
Frederic Rosen is CEO and President of the Bel-Air Homeowners Alliance (BAHA) and said he has been unable to get a meeting with Chan for the last four months to address concerns.
He said the LADBS’ actions have “seriously impacted the security of the community.”
“There is no leadership in that Department which has created the following conditions – The Bel-Air Community is in construction chaos, the Department is devoid of understanding the consequences of what they approve, the residents throughout the city of Los Angeles are angry and upset because there is no leadership, no direction, just continually approving projects irrespective of how one project might impact another. It’s a mindless morass of mediocrity that the residents of this great city suffer with,” Rosen said. “The Mission Statement of LADBS is to protect the lives and safety of the residents and visitors of the City of Los Angeles and enhance the quality of life. Every day, under Mr. Chan's direction, in my opinion, his department violates that Mission Statement.”
In addition to issues in Bel-Air with many construction sites that residents believe are operating unpermitted, the LADBS is also dealing with criticism of its oversight for construction projects near earthquake faults, such as the Millennium project in Hollywood.