City Council Fast-Tracks Permits For Property Owners After Arson Fires
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Local lawmakers moved Wednesday to help Los Angeles property owners rebuild quickly after a rash of recent arson fires.
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an emergency motion that requires the Department of Building and Safety to expedite permit reviews for residents to rebuild carports and damaged buildings.
The decision comes after dozens of carports were destroyed in last weekend’s arson spree, with some flames spreading to overhead apartment units.
Councilman Tom LaBonge — whose district was hit hardest by the fires — introduced the motion.
“Those fires lapped up from the carports into structures and people are out of there apartments and housing, so we’re trying to join hands and make it happen faster,” LaBonge told KNX 1070.
The fires — which LaBonge called a “tragedy” — were set in a corridor spanning from North Hollywood through Laurel Canyon and into the West Hollywood and Hollywood areas.
Harry Burkhart, 24, a German national, has been charged for arson fires he allegedly set at 13 locations between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2.
“Thankfully, this person is behind bars,” LaBonge said.
Officials estimate the arson attacks caused at least $3 million in damages in addition to minor injuries suffered by a firefighter and a civilian.