For Immediate Release: March 2, 2023
COUNCILMEMBER NITHYA RAMAN INTRODUCES MOTION TO PROACTIVELY ADDRESS ABANDONED BUILDINGS IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES -- Yesterday, Councilmember Nithya Raman introduced a motion to proactively address the large number of abandoned buildings in the City of Los Angeles. With vacant and abandoned buildings across the City often posing significant hazards to public health and safety, Councilmember Raman urges the City Council to take action to update the City’s processes, procedures, and staffing to proactively address these properties.
The Department of Building and Safety has nearly 600 open Vacant Building Abatement (VBA) cases for abandoned buildings in the City of Los Angeles that require ongoing monitoring, securing, and, in some cases, demolition. However, the City’s ability to respond to these buildings has been constrained by both staffing and regulatory obstacles, and the process for first identifying these buildings as targets for demolition to final approval can take up to nine months. Councilmember Raman’s legislation seeks to significantly shorten the timeline for securing, and, where required, declaring an abandoned building a public nuisance for the purpose of its demolition.
“Since I took office, I’ve been shocked by how long it has taken to address the vacant and abandoned buildings sprawled across the City,” said Councilmember Raman. “These properties not only are a blight on their neighborhoods, but they are prone to fires which have the potential to rapidly spread and cause significant harm. The City’s response to dealing with these properties has been woefully inadequate – we need to create a system that proactively secures or demolishes abandoned buildings before an incident like a fire occurs.”
Councilmember Raman’s motion instructs the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, with the assistance of the City Attorney’s Office, the Department of City Planning, and any other relevant departments, to report back within 30 days with recommendations to shorten the timeline for securing, and, where required, declaring an abandoned building a public nuisance for the purpose of its demolition. The requested report is to include a description of staffing increases necessary to conduct building inspections more efficiently and resolve cases more expeditiously, in addition to an identification of phases of the public nuisance determination process that may be expedited or streamlined.