Residents of the Hollywood Hills have been known to throw a good party since the Tinseltown’s Golden Era, when the entertainment industry’s elite and not-so-elite first began populating the area.
Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards famously satirized the scene in the 1968 movie “The Party,” whose tagline was “if you've ever been to a wilder party... you're under arrest.”
But these days, some residents said they’ve had enough. Their complaint is less about the occasional loud soiree but that homes have become semi-professional venues where parties feature red carpets, security guards and wild animals.
Complaints about noise, traffic congestion and safety risks presented by house parties that bring hundreds of revelers up the narrow, winding roads of the Hollywood Hills have prompted the area’s councilman to seek new regulations.
The Los Angeles City Council voted last week to draft a citywide ordinance beefing up the city’s laws targeting so-called “party houses.”
Some neighbors contend new laws are needed because some homes have essentially become nightclubs.
“They don’t necessarily have the same kind of traffic mitigation or security,” said George Skarpelos, vice president of the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council. “Oftentimes you would see this terrible traffic where an emergency vehicle couldn’t get through at all.”
Some of the parties attract hundreds of people who pay a cover charge for entrance, Skarpelos said.
“We’re not talking about somebody’s birthday party,” he said.
In Outpost Estates, buses bringing partygoers up to the houses often block canyon roads, said Anastasia Mann, president of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council. “Amazing. Just amazing how discourteous people can be — and threatening,” Mann said.
And then there’s the danger of having a caged lion at a party.
“Any lion or elephant or even a baboon — it doesn’t matter. They’re all wild animals even if they’re in captivity,” Mann said.
The lion appeared in a home owned by Danny Fitzgerald, whose four mansions near the Hollywood Reservoir have been the backdrop for big parties, magazine spreads and television shows. (On the subject of the lion: “He was in a cage. A circus cage. And he’s a movie star.”)
Singers Justin Bieber, the Weekend and Ne-Yo have all rented the homes at various times.
In response to the complaints, Fitzgerald said his leases now include strict party rules: No amplified music outdoors. No parking. No posting to social media. Violators risk losing their security deposit.
“The problem L.A. has is clubs close too early,” Fitzgerald said. “The people still want to party. They still want to go out.”
The new ordinance proposed by Councilman David Ryu would expand the definition of a “nuisance,” impose new fines, allow liens on problematic properties and temporarily prohibit the short-term rental of any property found to be in violation.
“Egregious ‘party houses’ represent only 1% of the homes in my hillside communities. However, we must provide LAPD more effective enforcement tools that will bring relief to the 99% of residents who are besieged by these inconsiderate neighbors,” Ryu said.
The new law is expected to be written by early next year.