City Council Approves Construction At The Target Husk For The Third Time
The L.A. City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to re-approve the the construction of Target Husk, the as-of-yet unfinished commercial development presently dominating the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue with its bare steel bones. This is technically the third time the city has approved the construction of the Target store.
The council's vote rewrites planning and zoning provisions that regulate the area where the Target has been partially built. Where the law once only allowed for a building 35 feet tall, the new rules stipulate it's perfectly legal to build a 74 foot tall development, like the Target's skeleton, on the site, according to the L.A. Times.
By now, drama surrounding the Target Husk's construction has protracted the development's construction for several years. L.A. City Council first approved the Target back in 2010. A pair of individual neighborhood NIMBYs halted the development with a lawsuit before it began after they (correctly) pointed out neither Target nor the City of Los Angeles had conducted an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), according to Curbed L.A.
Target conducted the appropriate EIR, and the building was once again approved for construction in late 2012. Construction began, but a pair of community groups filed a lawsuit against the Target, arguing that the building violated height limits established in the Vermont/Western Specific Plan. Where the plan, which governs development in the area the Target was partially built, stipulates buildings may only be 35 feet tall on the disputed property, the Target Husk had already risen to 74 feet.
A judge agreed with the litigants, and ordered the Target's construction halted in 2014. Since then, Target Husk has cast its partially completed shadow over Sunset and Western while the city tries to figure out how to to grandfather the half-built beast into legality.
That, more or less, boils down to changing the laws that govern construction on the particular site in a process called 'spot-zoning.' The city council approved new zoning laws on Wednesday, theoretically paving the way for a conflict-free construction process from here forward. Another problem, relating to requirements for Target to provide child care for its employees, will be solved with a fee paid by Target to support area child care.
What will inevitably happen is another lawsuit. Or at least says Doug Haines, one of the two litigants in the first lawsuit, and a member of the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association which is responsible for the second.
"It's just going to go back to court," said Haines to the L.A. Times. "Rather than change the project to comply with the judge's orders, [the city] just decided to change the law."
Of course Hollywood Councilman Mitch O'Farrell knows this is coming. "This process underwent such scrutiny that I'm sure we will be on firm legal ground next time around," he said to the Times.
At least somebody is happy: