Benedict Canyon Palace 'Size of Hearst Castle' Proposed, Will Make Playboy Mansion Look Like a Bungalow

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM
click to enlarge Save the regular-size mansions, man!
  • Save the regular-size mansions, man!

A rich guy trying to build a mega-mansion in a neighborhood of just-regular mansions?

How dare he! What sucks about having a Hearst Castle-sized home go up next to your Playboy Mansion-sized home in Benedict Canyon is the relative size. Must be like thinking you're a true stud and then ending up next to Ron Jeremy at the stadium trough.

But seriously. This thing above the Hills of Beverly is ginormous. Here's how next-door neighbor Martha Karsh described it to us:

There is nothing like this in the entire city of Los Angeles. It's almost the size of Hearst Castle. It's a commercial scale project the size of a Walmart in a quiet residential neighborhood. That's wrong.

click to enlarge A place that will make Hef's look small.
  • A place that will make Hef's look small.

Karsh and the Save Benedict Canyon massive say the owner -- identified by the Los Angeles Times as possibly being Saudi Arabian royal relative Mansour Fustok -- had made an end run around public input for the project by submitting piecemeal plans that betray the Tower Lane residence's overall monstrosity.

"There's been no public input," she says, and neighbors didn't find out about it until "the city sent notice for a grading permit."

Now neighbors have challenged the project, and a Planning Commission hearing will be held April 14. Councilman Paul Koretz seems to have backed the rich folk in the area, writing a letter to planning head Michael LoGrand asking for a reconsideration of the project.

Also on their side is resident (and onetime superagent) Michael Ovitz, who has his own 28,000 square foot baby mansion nearby. "He is a supporter, absolutely," Karsh said.

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Fustok seemed to indicate this was simply a matter of size envy on the part of Ovitz, telling the Times: "Mrs. Karsh and Mr. Ovitz are the ones causing this mayhem and delaying things and so on."

Ultimately neighbors fighting the mega-mansion want it to undergo California environmental review. They also want the city to consider it as one whole project instead of as the development of a few pieces of land, piece-by-piece.

The owner is "trying to sneak an 85,000 square foot project under the door without telling anybody," Karsh said.

"We're going to show up in force at that [April] hearing. We're uniting."

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