Legal Ruling Goes Prince's Way in Bid to Build 60K-Square-Foot Compound

An appellate court agrees that Los Angeles building officials improperly withheld a grading permit to a Saudi prince who wants to build in Benedict Canyon.

The property where Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdulaziz al Saud wants to build a 60,000 square foot compound. Facebook photo.
The property where Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdulaziz al Saud wants to build a 60,000 square foot compound. Facebook photo.

A state appeals court panel upheld a lower court ruling that Los Angeles building officials improperly refused to issue grading permits to a Saudi prince looking to build a three-home compound in Benedict Canyon that has raised the ire of some residents, attorneys for the prince announced today.

The 17-page ruling, which was issued Friday, could force the city to allow Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdulaziz al Saud, the deputy foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, to begin preliminary construction work on his planned residential compound.

City officials could not be reached after business hours for comment on the appeals court ruling.

The prince originally planned to build an 85,000-square-foot compound, but after hearing public protests, he downsized the plan three years ago to about 60,000 square feet. But the project has remained mired in legal disputes, with as many as three lawsuits filed over the city's handling of the plans.

The latest legal battle began when the city declined to issue a grading permit for the project, saying that since it was more than 60,000 square feet, a tentative tract map needed to be approved by the city. The prince's development company, Tower Lane, objected and requested a waiver, but city officials said such a move would require the company to prepare an environmental impact assessment, according to court papers.

Tower Lane sued, and a Los Angeles Superior Court judge sided with the company, ruling that the requirements being imposed by the city only apply when a property is being subdivided, which Tower Lane is not planning to do.

The appellate panel upheld the ruling.

"The city continues to single out the Saudi Prince with new requirements never before applied to other property owners all in an effort to deny him the right to a building permit," the prince's attorney, Benjamin Reznik, said. "This unfair treatment has to stop."

--City News Service

Jeff March 04, 2014 at 10:34 AM
There needs to be a law to curtail the construction of properties larger than 15,000 square feet. I am fully aware that people of means need to retain privacy and security but at what cost to the environment that surrounds them. I would rather see them purchase a tower of office space , build there own personal health spa, dining floor , residence, entertainment complex , living and guest quarters than destroy the natural balance of the hillside. They could store as many cars as they desired and security would not be an issue to residences. These expansive homes are monuments to money not cohabiting with the environment. It doesn't matter whether you are a domestic or foreign millionaire/billionaire there is a negative impact to this type of building and razing of the land
Arthur Hughes March 04, 2014 at 11:38 AM
This is another example of overreach by our city officials. It does not surprise me at all considering the nonsense that councilman krekorian has inflicted on the neighborhood over on Colfax. Shameful how our elected public servants inflict punitive actions on the populace of this city without any real reasons other than their own bruised egos!!
Paul March 04, 2014 at 12:47 PM
The Prince will humble Infidels who cross him!
John Kosen March 05, 2014 at 01:02 AM
Please understand. 1. (" Leave BH alone ...") Benedict Canyon is NOT Beverly Hills. I grew up in BH. I live in Downtown now. 2. Councilman Paul Koretz of District 5 is Benedict Canyon. Councilman Paul Krekorian is District 2. It seems you need to be "Paul" to get anywhere in LA. 3. I fully agree that we should have the rights to impose what we want on people of the kinds we don't like moving into our neighborhoods. Who cares if we are supposed to have equal rights under the law, regardless of race, creed, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc.? Who cares if this Prince paid for his property with US Dollars? Who cares about about any of it if I don't like it? It is all about me and about our right to find any liberal interpretations of the law (with help from your local Councilman) to stop this foreign invasion. LA is not the land of the free and fair. It is the land of the local Lords! Three Cheers for Martha Karsh!!! Then again, the more lawsuits LA loses, the less resources we have to take care of the rest of us non-Rich folks. Why is it bad to create more jobs by allowing this house to move forward? How is stopping this Prince going to improve the lives people down here? I don't get it.


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