Los Angeles building inspectors posted a stop-work order on Monday at a partly built Target shopping center in Hollywood, the latest turn in a long-running court battle over the project.
Luke Zamperini, chief inspector for the Department of Building and Safety, said Target must halt construction "for the foreseeable future."
The order, which went into effect at 1 p.m., came a month after Superior Court Judge Richard L. Fruin Jr. ruled that the city violated the law when it allowed Target to build a 74-foot-tall shopping center on a stretch of Sunset Boulevard where such projects are limited to 35 feet.
The court issued its own order two weeks ago calling for the City Council to halt construction at the Target site. But work continued, prompting opponents of the project to seek a new court order finding the city in contempt. As recently as Thursday, a spokesman for City Atty. Mike Feuer said officials were determining what work, if any, could proceed on the site.
A Target spokeswoman referred The Times to a statement she issued last week, which said the company is "taking steps to continue construction at the store." Zamperini said he had not heard from Target since the city's order was posted at the company's job site. "I suppose when we do, we’ll find out whether they're OK with it or not," he said.
Target filed an appeal of Fruin's decision. Zamperini said the appeal automatically put the judge's order on hold. However, that appeal also put various city permits for the project on hold, making it impossible for construction to continue, he said. A stop-work order, he said, "just seemed like the prudent thing to do at this point."
Two neighborhood groups -- the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Assn. and Citizens Coalition Los Angeles -- sued over the project in 2012. Doug Haines, with the La Mirada group, said "it's about time" the city issued the order.
"It looks like they've finally decided they need to obey the law," he said.
In city and court documents, Target's lawyers said they designed a project that exceeded the height limit in response to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who wanted more stores, restaurants and a plaza. Garcetti pushed for the taller design, and additional pedestrian amenities, when he was a councilman representing Hollywood.
A hearing is set for later this week on the neighborhood groups' request to have the city found in contempt of court.
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