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Preservationists Keep the History, But not the Peace

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For the past 25 years, local preservation group Hollywood Heritage has been in charge of maintaining Wattles Mansion, a 1907 historic home bought by the City of L.A. in 1968. The preservation group has had an arrangement with the Parks Department for running the property, but now they are being handed their 30-day notice for having "failed to properly maintain the 101-year-old landmark," according to the LA Times.

The order stems from multiple neighborhood complaints about the mansion being rented out for "disruptive parties" that cause "partygoers' cars [to] clog the street and block driveways" and "loud, amplified music [to echo] through their hillside canyon on party nights."

The Heritage's website states that street parking is not permitted, however the enforcement of the policy may well be lax. Perhaps in response to the complaints, the Heritage offer a section of their website devoted to information about events at the Mansion for area residents (no direct link to page; website is poorly designed, unfortunately).

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The "Neighbors' Page" includes the following statement:

It is the intent of Hollywood Heritage and the Wattles Mansion to be a good neighbor. We place very strict restrictions on our events regarding noise and activities. This page is offered to allow our neighbors the necessary information so that any conflicts can be avoided. Here you will find the dates that events are scheduled so that you are aware of what is going on. In addition, we've provided a cell phone contact number that is answered by the security guards on duty for each event. If you should have a problem, or notice anything that may potentially become a problem, we encourage you to call that number to facilitate immediate remediation. During events, the Wattles Mansion main number is often answered by an answering machine. Calling Hollywood Heritage Board members, who are rarely on-site during rental events, will not get you the immediate attention that you require.

But the list of tenant sins extends past the lines of cars parked on the residential street and the live bands screaming until the wee hours, and include financial and procedural violations that compelled the City to conduct an audit--an audit which ultimate found Hollywood Heritage "in 'direct noncompliance' with more than half of 15 provisions of its year-to-year licensing agreement." Money from events wasn't necessarily put towards restoration, the right permits weren't being issued, the right insurance wasn't in place, and the booze being served at parties was against policy.

Hollywood Heritage questions the accuracy of the audit, and were shocked to have been served with eviction papers. They plan to meet with local officials at the end of the month to try to work out a solution. Meanwhile, they are hosting an event at Wattles Mansion today. Die hard fans of the now-defunct Fox drama The OC might recognize Wattles Mansion as the location used for Kaitlin Cooper's boarding school.