Bollinger House in Pacific Palisades Remains in Limbo

By Sue Pascoe
Editor

The partially-built house at 16815 Bollinger Dr. in Marquez has been an eyesore for more than a year. Framing was completed when construction was halted in April 2016.

Now, the residents who live in the shadow of this stick house hope the city will finally force the owner to take it down.

After the home was sold to Christopher Rhoades of Helios DRE Joint Ventures, LLC, for $2.15 million in June 2015, a notice went up that the 1947 single-family dwelling on a 7,916 sq.-ft. lot would be remodeled.

The city issued a coastal permit on July 9, 2015, with the “understanding that less than 50 percent of the exterior walls would be removed.”

More than 90 percent of the exterior walls were removed, and neighbor Steven Dersh filed a complaint with the city in December 2015.

This house on Bollinger Drive has stood empty since April 2016 but City officials say it is not a fire hazard.

When Dersh checked on the status of his complaint, he learned that the case had been closed for unexplained reasons.

Here filed in January and persisted, but construction on the house continued. Finally, in April 2016, the work was shut down because it was deemed that l.) the city could not give the property a coastal exemption and 2.) a California Coastal Commission hearing was needed.

Nothing has happened on the property the past 16 months.

The News has joined Dersh in trying to figure out what happened.

In an August 28, 2017 email to Luke Zamperini, chief inspector for residential inspection for the L.A. Department of Building and Safety and to Councilman Mike Bonin’s office, Dersh said: “From the inception when I first filed a complaint about this construction, the City of Los Angeles has not accurately, timely or in good faith addressed our, and our neighbors, concerns.”

In a return email that same day to Dersh, Zamperini replied: “Your initial complaint filed through the LADBS web site was routed to the LADBS Code Enforcement Bureau (CEB) which investigates complaints on properties that do not have active permits. After CEB discovered that an active permit existed, their case was closed and the complaint was forwarded to the Inspection Bureau (IB).”

The IB then launched an investigation into Dersh’s complaint which determined the applicant had obtained the required clearance from City Planning and determined that the permit was in compliance with the Los Angeles Municipal Code.

“Staff inspected the project site and determined that the project was being constructed in compliance with the approved set of plans,” Zamperini said. “Because the project incorporated structural elements of the original building in its approved set of plans, it could not be considered a new building and is thus legally a remodel.”

But then, the city determined the property needed a coastal hearing because more than 50 percent of the walls had been demolished. Construction was shut down and Rhoades was instructed to obtain a coastal development permit (CDP).

Zamperini assured Dersh, “In the interim, LADBS staff have been monitoring the project site periodically and have observed the site to be maintained and secured.”

Jeff Napier, a spokesperson for Building and Safety, told the News in an August 29 email: “Building and Safety has just been notified by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning that the Coastal Development Permit application has been terminated. We are now moving forward with the revocation process.

“Once the permit is revoked, we will be issuing an Order to Comply notice to the owner to either; 1.) Re-apply for permits to make the building conform to code, or 2.) Demolish and remove the new construction and restore the site to its approved state.”

Napier also noted, “At this time the property is fenced and secured from unauthorized entry. There is no trash, debris or excessive vegetation and therefore is not considered a nuisance as defined by the Los Angeles Municipal Code. We will continue to monitor the site to ensure that it stays fenced and secured.”

Where does that leave the neighbors? Almost where they were in April 2016.

“To this day, it continues to stand as an almost fully framed home that should have never proceeded to that degree,” Dersh told Zamperini. “As you have been repeatedly informed, this illegal construction with expired permits that should have been revoked is a fire danger and an eyesore to our home and our neighborhood. The complete dismantling of the house is necessary.”

Napier told the News that the property is owned by an LLC. According to real estate records, the owner now appears to be Lg Bollinger LLC, out of Colorado Springs.

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