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Arts and Entertainment

City Bans Concerts At Yet Another Small Venue: Highland Park's Church On York

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Church on York (Photo via Facebook)
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Another small venue in L.A. might be biting the dust. The city has barred Highland Park's the Church on York from putting on any concerts.

The L.A. Department of City Planning told the Church on York owner Graeme Flegenheimer on Friday that they were denying his request for event permits, according to the L.A. Times. He was then given a warning from the L.A. Fire Department that if he tried putting on any concerts, they would shut them down.

Associate zoning administrator Fernando Tovar wrote in his permit denial that Flegenheimer had been throwing concerts illegally without having proper permits, serving alcohol while the liquor license permit was under review, and has a "disregard for the law." In addition, he wrote that there is a lack of parking for the venue and the residential area wouldn't be happy with crowds over 300 people.

"We're not going to bow down," Flegenheimer told the Times.

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Other small venues like the shuttered Echo Curio and the Libertine have also had to battle city officials just like the Church on York. LA Weekly wrote, "Their owners are victims of a citywide system that is slow to dispense entertainment permits but very quick to bust people for not having those same permits."

LA Weekly adds:

One big problem for Echo Curio and others looking to get legal is that the city grants entertainment permits only to businesses zoned to serve food or alcohol. If a regular store or art gallery wants to host music, its only option is a "change-of-use" permit, which costs about $12,000 and expires every five years.

Flegenheimer is currently working with other venues like Los Globos and Eagle Rock's Center for the Arts to host his upcoming concerts during this time, and all tickets already bought will be honored. And he's willing to drop his liquor license bid so he can keep the all-ages venue.

The Church on York has hosted sold-out concerts, comedy shows, and even music classes for the youth taught by members of Maroon 5 since it opened last fall.