Century City high-rise another example of 'dumb' growth?

centurycity.jpgI know very little about geology, but I do know that we live in earthquake country and that we rely on the government to keep us as safe as possible should the worst happen. With that in mind, why would the city of L.A.'s Planning Department not see fit to review fault activity before signing off on a 39-story residential tower in Century City? I never thought I'd say this, but thank goodness for the MTA; after the high-rise was approved, the LAT reports, the transit agency looked at the area as a possible site for a subway station and found it was too dangerous (a strand of the Santa Monica fault runs underneath the tower property). Which is just the sort of thing that city officials should have done. But the developer, shopping center giant Westfield, has an extensive lobbying operation at City Hall and, well, they somehow skirted the problem. At a time when the mayor and others insist that they will only consider "smart growth" projects, the miscue in Century City is another reminder that when it comes to big-money developers, some things never change. Simply put, if we can't trust the government to handle basic due diligence, how on earth are they supposed to handle the heavy lifting? From the Times:

Geologists said they were puzzled about why neither the city nor the developer paid more attention to the Santa Monica fault. Seismic experts have known about the fault and its approximate location for decades. In fact, Santa Monica Boulevard follows the path of ancient earthquakes that left a smooth path for the Red Car trolley line that once ran along it, according to USC earth sciences professor James Dolan. Experts said careful digging is necessary to determine exactly where the fault runs and whether its path actually compromises the footprint of the proposed Westfield tower. The MTA's maps of earthquake faulting in Century City are the most extensive to be published. But experts said simply relying on the report to determine the fault location is not enough, they said.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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