LOL: NIMBYs Want To Shut Down Trail To The Hollywood Sign
The battle between the residents of Beachwood Canyon and everyone who wants to see the Hollywood sign rages on. The residents are now suing the City of Los Angeles, demanding that a popular trail to the sign be closed for evaluation. Property owners near the iconic Hollywood sign have been desperately trying to block the area off from tourists (and any locals other than themselves, for that matter) for a long time now. Their latest trick is suing the City of Los Angeles, demanding that the controversial Hollyridge Trail be closed (again) until the City does an evaluation of all the risks associated with allowing the public to access the public trail that leads to the public park, the L.A. Times reports.
The residents in question formed a group, Homeowners on Beachwood Drive United, that focuses pretty much on just this issue. They've raged about mapping software that shows how to get to the sign, and they've fought for limited parking in the area. They've painted curbs red and put up phony signs.
The Hollyridge Trail was temporarily closed in March of 2014 for maintenance, and they fought to keep it closed forever. It finally reopened after much delay in January, but backers of the new lawsuit are hoping to shut it back down.
The homeowners argue that Beachwood Drive, the residential street that leads to the trail head, is not equipped to handle as much traffic as it's getting from tourists. They complain that these pesky tourists block the street (and potentially fire engines), leave trash behind, create a fire hazard with their cigarettes and walk in the middle of the residential street. They say this whole debacle isn't a NIMBY thing, but rather a serious concern for their safety as well as that of the tourists. They want these risks formally evaluated and while that's being done, they argue the trail should be closed.
Sarajane Schwartz, who founded the neighborhood group, likened the situation to a car that doesn't have brakes. "You don't drive it until you figure out what to do. You stop it."
This evaluation they're asking for, however, is pretty expensive and typically used when a big development is being planned, Curbed LA notes.
The group has also accused the City and former City Council member Tom LaBonge of encouraging people to visit the Hollywood sign and, in particular, the Hollyridge Trail. LaBonge has argued that it wasn't him as much as smartphones and their mapping capabilities that have been showing tourists the way. He also said he did take steps to alleviate resident concerns, like putting in limited parking, cleaning brush to reduce fire hazards and upgrading a security gate to prevent nighttime hikes. As LaBonge noted, however, the park the hikers are trying to get to is public.
David Ryu, who took LaBonge's spot on the City Council in this last election, said that he's "very concerned" about the safety of the Beachwood Canyon homeowners, but that he doesn't "want to do a knee-jerk reaction."
This issue sounds pretty similar to one just addressed in Malibu. A pathway to Carbon Beach—a public beach often called Billionaires' Beach—just opened to the public after years of legal battles between the California Coastal Commissions and property owners along the beach.