Evidence of earthquake faulting "previously unrecognized" has been observed in Hollywood across the street from the sites of two major planned developments, NBC4 has learned from a city of Los Angeles memo released in response to a public records act request.
The faulting was discovered in one of the trenches that have been dug for geological investigation near the intersection of Argyle Street and Yucca Avenue. A portion of the multi-tower Millennium Hollywood project is to be built nearby, along with an apartment highrise planned by another developer for 6230 Yucca Ave.
Areas within about 500 feet of an active fault are deemed to be within a fault zone, a stigma developers would prefer to avoid. Within 50 feet, there are restrictions against even building a new strucure.
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Concerns were raised earlier this year with the release of a proposed seismic hazard map to be published by the California Geological Survey. In the proposed map, strands of the Hollywood fault -- believed to be capable of a magnitude seven quake -- appear on or near the planned building sites. State officials have acknowledged the traces are based on incomplete data; the geological
exploration has been launched by developers in search of evidence to verify or negate the locations as depicted.
The time window is still open for submitting changes to the proposed map -- it's not to be finalized until later in the year.
The faulting was observed on May 14 in a trench dug into the slope in front of an existing apartment building at the southeast corner of Argyle and Yucca, according to the memo by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety's Grading Division.
"These faults may project toward a portion of the 6230 Yucca site. Therefore, it was determined that additional exploration/fault trenching is required on the 6230 Yucca site," according to the memo. It is unsigned, but a department spokesman said it is authentic.
It was an attorney for a neighborhood activist group opposed to the Millennium development who made the public records act request and obtained the memo.
"They can no longer claim there's no fault in the vicinity," said George Abrahams of the Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Association and its activist arm, "Stop the Millennium."
The geotechnical firm Delta Group is handling the geological investigation for both 6230 Yucca and Millennium Hollywood. From the air, a large trench extending across both properties was visible in recent months. The trenches have since been filled. Group Delta indicated in May that its initial study of the 6230 site found no evidence of an active fault.
Group Delta has yet to submit its report responding to the issues raised in the city memo for the 6230 Yucca site. Also yet to be submitted is Group Delta's separate report for the Millennium site.
Group Delta told NBC4 that CEO Michael Reader is the appropriate engineer to comment on these two investigations, but that he is on vacation until next Tuesday.
Millennium Hollywood will withhold comment until it sees the report, according to a spokesman. Representatives of Second Street Ventures, the developer of 6230 Yucca, could not be reached.