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Stalled projects get reprieve

City says it will grant building-permit extensions to struggling developers.

November 18, 2010|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

Residential builders whose projects fall behind schedule due to economic or other hardships got a break Monday, with City Council members unanimously supporting temporary extensions for building permits that have expired or are at risk of expiring.

The reprieve covers new single-family homes or home additions greater than 999 square feet that are at least half-way completed.

Qualifying projects receive a 90-day building permit extension for 25% of the original permit fee and up to two more 90-day extensions if the Planning Department finds work has "commenced and continued with due diligence," reads the new ordinance, which sunsets at the end of next year.

Owners of four different stalled residential projects in La Cañada Flintridge have already applied for extensions, Community Development Director Robert Stanley said Wednesday afternoon.

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"This is going to be a good thing. We'll get some of the stalled projects cleaned up and moved along," said Stanley.

The ordinance is intended as a reprieve not only for developers, but also for their neighbors.

Such may be the case when it comes to a sprawling, half-completed structure at 1246 El Vago St. that began construction in 2007 but has sat dormant for many months — at times in various states of disarray that triggered code-enforcement citations.

When council members initially discussed an ordinance on Nov. 1, owner Karapet Setoyan said funding for the project had run dry, but a building-permit extension would help him sell the property to new owners who would complete it.

"We want to make sure we get these projects done and the neighborhood back to normal so you don't have construction sites sitting there forever," said Stanley.

Though it isn't clear how many other developers may seek extensions, Stanley said recent conversations with developers suggest at least a few other homes in the area are running behind schedule.

In the end, "the point is to get these projects finished," said Councilwoman Laura Olhasso.

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