Saudi Prince’s Planned 60,000-Square-Foot Home in Benedict Canyon Sees Roadblock From Court

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A 2011 photo of part of a Saudi prince’s planned 5-acre development in Benedict Canyon. (Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

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California court Friday threw up a roadblock to the vast compound a Saudi Arabian prince hopes to build in Benedict Canyon, a project opposed by the billionaires next door and hundreds of residents nearby.

The California appellate court’s decision that the proposed residential complex must go through an environmental review marks a victory for neighbors, who have argued that the project at the end of Tower Lane was illegal because it did not provide an alternative route for the arrival of emergency vehicles and the escape of residents in case of a fire.

“A secondary access road was a condition of Tower Lane’s approval,” the ruling stated. Yet no secondary access is outlined in the plans, which the court described as “…six retaining walls, four houses, three water features, two above-ground garages and two auxiliary buildings.”

In the 26-page ruling, a three-judge panel in Los Angeles rejected the applicant’s assertion that the city must allow construction to begin because the project complied with all applicable building and zoning codes. The panel also upheld a trial court’s conclusion that Los Angeles’ planning director may require an environmental review.

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