Planters used to deter homeless encampments in Hollywood ordered to be removed

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Hollywood business owners are upset and frustrated after planters that were installed to keep homeless encampments from growing were ordered to be removed.

The planters and garden beds were placed along the sidewalk on Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue in May after shop owners said homeless encampments had completely blocked sidewalks and access paths for almost two years.

The driveway to Sunset Sound Recording Studio was inaccessible due to the sheer amount of tents on the sidewalk which continued to increase.

The studio was nearly forced to close after they were targeted in a burglary in which thieves defecated on a drum set. They were later targeted in an arson attempt. 

Many owners said the encampments brought dangers to residents as buildings were vandalized and patrons were threatened.

Before installing the planters, business owners said they sent multiple requests to city officials and the L.A. mayor’s office seeking help with the situation but were ignored.

Deciding to take matters into their own hands, the planters were installed and many locals said its presence was successful in deterring homeless individuals from the area.

Although many sympathized with the unhoused individuals, they felt helpless and said there was no other choice.

“We’ve literally watched all our neighbors leave [the area],” said Andrew Monheim, owner of Monheim Microphones. “I think one of the saddest things right now is small business retention. The mayor should be embarrassed because it’s disgusting how many small businesses have fled and left.”

However, on June 21, city notices were suddenly posted on the planters, classifying them as obstructions. The planters would need to be removed by Monday morning or city workers would take action.

Many business owners said they were upset and frustrated over the city’s response of targeting the planters instead of the encampments.

“You should be proud to have tourists walking down the street instead of defecation and piss on the ground,” Monheim said to city officials. “You should be proud to have money coming in and flowing through your city.”

Some locals said they supported the idea of keeping the planters on the sidewalk.

“To me, I’d rather look at those planters than look at people who could potentially hurt or harm me,” said Anthony Hayward, a frequent Hollywood visitor. “Why do [officials] not put the same effort and energy into removing the homeless people before people are forced to do things and take it into their own hands?”

Officials have promised to tackle the growing homelessness crisis affecting the Southland. In August 2023, L.A. Mayor Karen Bass launched the Inside Safe initiative which aims to reduce the number of unhoused people living on the street while providing shelter.

In 2023, there were an estimated 75,518 homeless people living in L.A., according to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority. Homelessness had increased by 14% from 2022 to 2023, according to LAHSA reports.

author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.