Council opposses state’s Fox bill

Less than a month after the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve expansion plans for 20th Century Fox, the Council Wednesday voted to lobby against a state bill that would preclude any future lawsuits opposing the project. The Council’s decision was based on the grounds that such a bill would violate zoning, planning and environmental ordinances.

The motion, submitted by Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, puts the Council on record as opposing Assembly Bill 269, which had received unanimous approval by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee the day before.

AB 269, proposed by Assemblyman Stan Statham (R-Redding), declares that the Fox expansion project, which covers a 53-acre site, meets all local zoning and planning requirements. It also exempts the project from further California Environmental Quality Act review.

The bill has passed the Assembly, and is due for a vote on the State Senate floor by mid-August.

Yet Yaroslavsky said he was “both troubled and baffled by this bill.

“I’m troubled because no citizen should ever be denied the right to redress his or her grievance in a court of law, and because this legislation would set a terrible precedent for future involvement by the state legislature in local zoning matters,” he said.

Last month the Council voted to approve the Fox expansion after the studio agreed to put off some construction and to pay $ 5.5 million to the city for road improvements to deal with expected traffic increases.

But the plan is still being opposed by some nearby homeowners. Fox VP David Handelman said the studio sought the state bill because it feared future litigation could cause further years of delay.

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