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Not Just Another Brick in the Wall? Council Investigates Demolition at KCET Studios [UPDATED]

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KCET's studios on Sunset Blvd. (Photo by DB's Travels via Flickr
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Things are a-changin' over at 4401 Sunset Boulevard, the longtime home of newly-independent TV station KCET, and soon to be programming beaming base of the Church of Scientology. However, when a few bricks were removed from the site, City Councilman Tom LaBonge called for further investigation, to ensure all parties involved with the property were complying with the guidelines for alterations to a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument.

Brick "pavers" that include inscriptions bearing the names of KCET donors were the ones being removed, prompting concern they were being taken away without securing a permit that may--or may not--have been necessary.

On Wednesday afternoon, LaBonge and his planning and land-use staff met with officials from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and the Department of Planning to explore the issue, and they determined that it was KCET and not the Church of Scientology ordered the bricks removed, and, further, that he action taken did not require a building permit.

LaBonge's motion filed in Council yesterday also requests that officials from the Department of Planning and Safety to ensure a smooth transition of ownership of the property from KCET to the Church of Scientology, who LaBonge lauds for their "long history of preservation in managing its properties in the City of Los Angeles."

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UPDATE 9:57 AM KCET has sent us their statement on the issue:

In 1978, the cultural heritage board of the city of Los Angeles unanimously declared portions of the KCET lot site as historic cultural monument #198. This is the only such designation that’s been given to the property. That designation included the two large sound stages, the “Little Theatre” and the old brick buildings and offices connected to and adjacent to those studios. The bricks in question were not installed until 20 years later and have never been part of any historic designation.

As the seller--as in any real estate transaction--we are removing all signage that belongs to KCET and we will pay tribute to all of those whose generosity had been acknowledged on our studio property at our new location.

In doing so, we are also making every effort to preserve the integrity of the historic landmark the studio lot represents.