In the city of Los Angeles, when neighbors complain enough about a unsavory activities at a house — gangsters hanging out, drugs being sold — the property can be shut down and even seized. But in the Hollywood Hills, a house that neighbors allege has been the site of parties, porn shoots and late-night comings-and-goings has been rewarded by City Hall.
The Weidlake House, as it's known in the hills near the Hollywood Reservoir, is the home of a forthcoming MTV reality show tentatively titled “House of Food:”
Some neighbors are livid because, they say, instead of rejecting the site for a film permit, city officials have blessed the $10 million residence.
One local said the home “has made life intolerable for many of our residents.”
Their concerns were heard by the local City Council office, which they say opposed the current filming at 6425 Weidlake Drive — until the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti weighed in and essentially overruled both councilman Tom LaBonge's people and the LAPD.
An email from a LaBonge official obtained by the Weekly indicates the mayor's office was involved in the approval of the MTV film shoot. FilmLA, which administers the city's permitting process, says LAPD has the final say.
The police department ultimately said yes. We reached out to both an LAPD filming official and the mayor's office for comment, but had yet to hear back.
The permit for “House of Food” at the Weidlake House is good through Saturday, though producers could apply for additional time. Its permit bans activity after 10 p.m., with the exception of the property's “rooftop deck pool,” and says that any violations of the permit's conditions will result in the LAPD pulling the plug immediately.
LaBonge told the Weekly that “we weren't able to have a full discussion to look at mitigation” at the home before the permit got approved.
“We will be watching this closely,” he said. “That's the situation.”
The residence was reportedly used to house “American Idol” contestants a few years ago.
Rooms in the home were being rented out last year for $5,300 a week, TMZ reported.
And in 2011 the home was the site of filming for Playboy's “Swingers” reality show, “where a bunch of strangers banged each other mercilessly for several weeks while cameras rolled,” in the words of the website.
One concerned neighbor who did not want his name used told us that shiny SUVs and town cars head to and from the residence at all hours:
A lot of the neighbors are livid. It's used for parties and porn shoots. There are parties with bottles being smashed. They're the kind of people I don't want to get involved with.
We reached out to the man neighbors say owns the house, but he did not get back to us.
A source associated with the production of “House of Food” told us that staffers went door-to-door to get neighbors' blessings and to let them know the shoot would be responsible and responsive:
We're very, very sensitive to the neighbors. We heard there were problems there before. We put procedures in place so the neighbors don't even know we are there. We're shuttling people in. Quiet hours. No parking at house. It is something we take seriously. Our goal is to treat the neighbors the way we would want to be treated. We all live in L.A.
LaBonge says that while he'll be keeping an eye on the production, he supports Mayor Garcetti's pro-Hollywood, pro-business stance:
I'm very pro-Mayor Garcetti in assigning a Deputy Mayor in charge of filming. That's key for Los Angeles. I'm very pro in getting people working.
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