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Developer Sues L.A. After Area Planning Commissioners Reject Multi-Family Project

A development controversy also now an expanding legal controversy, after a local planning commission rejected a controversial development proposal allowed by zoning.
February 24, 2020, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"A West Hollywood-based real estate company has sued the city of Los Angeles, saying appointees of Mayor Eric Garcetti violated state law by rejecting plans for a 577-unit apartment complex in South Los Angeles," reports David Zahniser.

"Lawyers for District Square LLC said in their lawsuit that the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission, a five-member panel made up of mayoral appointees, violated the Housing Accountability Act by denying their client’s application to build a six-story residential project."

As a market-rate development attracted gentrification and displacement controversy before the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission (APC), in an advisory role, rejected the plan in November. Herb Wesson, who represents the area and serves as the president of the Los Angeles City Council, proposed an "anti-displacement zone" in response to the controversy.

The developer is already in legal hot water, according to Zahniser: "District Square LLC is managed, at least in part, by real estate developer Arman Gabay, who is facing bribery and wire fraud charges in a federal criminal case involving county leases. The developer has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial."

"Gabay and his company have also received multiple default notices from the city, saying he has failed to repay $6.3 million in taxpayer loans," adds Zahniser. Community leaders are calling for the city to seize the property and build affordable units on the site.

The state law cited in the developer's lawsuit is the Housing Accountability Act, sometimes referred to as the "Anti-NIMBY" Act. Planetizen correspondent Irvin Dawid detailed that state law in an article from August 2017

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Published on Friday, February 21, 2020 in Los Angeles Times
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