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Benedict Canyon's 85,000-Square-Foot Mystery Compound

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Photo by Lisa Newton via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Benedict Canyon residents are uniting against a mystery landowner who plans to develop 5.2 acres on Tower Lane into an 85,000-square-foot compound complete with megamansion, villa, guest house, gate house, staff quarters, and more. Neighbors believe the project "pushes the bounds of common sense and decency," reports the LA Times.

If the owner continues as planned, his 90210 complex -- located in the same canyon as residents Bruce Springsteen, David Beckham, Jay Leno, and Michael Ovitz -- would occupy an area larger than Griffith Observatory, notes the LA Times, requiring "commercial-scale construction, like building a Wal-Mart in the heart of a quiet residential neighborhood," said a neighbor.

"In an area known more for gated estates than block parties, the controversy has so far united more than 150 residents. Through e-mails, house gatherings and phone calls, opponents have built support for their cause. Next, they plan to mount a door-to-door campaign and launch a website. They seem to have a worthy adversary, one with deep pockets and expensive lawyers and who may even be a senior Saudi prince. Instead of disclosing his identity, the owner has created a special business, Tower Lane Properties Inc., to purchase three adjoining plots for $12 million. A team of lawyers, architects, intermediaries and sales brokers have been hired to manage the project, and all have signed secrecy agreements."

Representatives have insisted the owner will comply with all building regulations and environmental reviews. The opponents contend the property owner is trying to avoid a full-project review under the California Environmental Quality Act. The city of Beverly Hills has also taken an interest because "trucks will haul thousands of loads of construction debris along its streets," reports the LA Times.
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Today, residents and members of the Benedict Canyon Association and Bel Air/Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council are meeting at the intersection of Tower Lane, Tower Road and Tower Grove Drive to formally protest the construction.