STATE AGENCIES OPEN PROBE OF PROJECT’S GEOLOGISTS AND WARN OF QUAKE SAFETY RISK
A state licensing board has begun an investigation of alleged professional misconduct by two engineers for the Millennium Hollywood Project. The investigations are in response to a complaint filed by project foes that the engineers distorted their technical reports in order to hide the project’s close proximity to the Hollywood Earthquake Fault.
Additionally, the California Geological Survey, a state agency, alerted LA City Council President Herb Wesson on Saturday, July 20, that it has begun a detailed study that could result in a finding that the Millennium project falls within an Earthquake Fault Zone. Such a finding would trigger the restrictions of state law which make it illegal for new habitable projects to be built within 50 feet of an active fault.
“These are devastating developments for the project,” said Robert P. Silverstein, the environmental attorney representing more than 40 community groups opposed to the Millennium. “These are red flags that should warn Los Angeles City Councilmembers that it would be incredibly irresponsible and possibly criminally negligent for them to approve the Millennium project as it is now planned.”
The City Council is set to vote on the project’s fate this coming Wednesday, July 24.
In recent days, the State Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists informed Silverstein that its enforcement unit has opened investigations into his allegations that the Millennium developer’s engineers, Langan Engineering, falsified reports about the proximity of the Millennium project site to the Hollywood Fault. Those alleged misrepresentations were made by the Langan firm in its capacity as a consultant for the Millennium developer and were relied on as part of the project’s Environmental Impact Report.
“If the EIR is flawed, the project cannot proceed,” Silverstein said. “The EIR is supposed to provide the public and city decision-makers with an honest assessment of the environmental and safety risks posed by a project. This EIR fails to do that.”
“That the State Board has opened this investigation adds huge credibility to our claims that the Millennium project team tried to illegally hide the truth about the dangers of this project,” said Silverstein.
In a second major blow to the Millennium project, California’s State Geologist, Dr. John G. Parrish, two days ago warned Los Angeles City Council President Wesson in writing – with specific reference to the Millennium project and its EIR – that the California Geological Survey (CGS) has begun a “detailed study” of the “Hollywood Fault and its associated splay faults.”
It is illegal under the state’s Alquist-Priolo Act to build a habitable structure, much less the Millennium project’s two skyscrapers – within 50 feet of an “active” fault.
Parrish noted that the CGS’s investigation could affect the City’s “reviewing of plans for the prospective Millennium Hollywood Project, which may fall within an Earthquake Fault Zone.”
Parrish’s letter warned that cities “must withhold development permits for sites within the [Alquist-Priolo] zones.” If the CGS study finds that the Millennium project falls within an official Earthquake Fault Zone, it would be covered by the Alquist-Priolo Act’s construction ban.
“If sufficient information results in the placement of an Earthquake Fault Zone, it will provide the City with new information for its consideration of current and future proposed developments all along the Hollywood Fault,” Parrish wrote Wesson. Parrish also noted that he expected the CGS study of the Hollywood Fault would be completed by the end of this year or by early 2014.
“Make no mistake. The State Geologist’s letter fires a warning shot across the City’s bow,” Silverstein said. “It makes clear that the City is on very shaky legal ground if it goes ahead with this project before the State’s studies are completed.”’
Silverstein also said that even before the State’s new study is completed, the evidence is clear: the Millennium project would be built on top of a fault. A number of peer-reviewed scientific analyses have already reached that conclusion.
“These analyses have already shown with a high degree of certitude that the actual footprint of the Millennium project lies on top of the Hollywood Fault,” Silverstein said. “These analyses and reports were ignored by the Millennium-Langan team in their EIR documents.”
Linked are copies of the following:
- The Silverstein Law Firm’s complaint to the California board that licenses geologists.
- Two letters from the California geologist licensing board notifying the opponents that it had opened misconduct investigations of Millennium’s geologists: 1) Re: Rudolph Frizzi 2) Re: Dan Eberhart
- The Silverstein Law Firm’s letter to LA City’s Building and Safety Dept. warning about the alleged cover-up by the City and developer of the Millennium project’s dangerous proximity to the Hollywood Fault.
- State Geologist Dr. Parrish’s warning letter to LA City Council President Wesson.
- Letter from Robert H. Sydnor, Engineering Geologist/Seismologist 7-12-2013