Fast Guard

It’s been a busy and somewhat controversial few days in Hollywood. On Monday, city crews removed planters that business owners had placed on sidewalks to prevent homeless encampments from taking over. This decision has left many residents and business owners frustrated and dismayed. Let’s dive into what happened, why it matters, and the various perspectives on this issue.

The Situation: Planters to Prevent Homeless Encampments


In May, business owners along Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue took matters into their own hands by placing planters and garden beds on the sidewalks. They were attempting to address a problem that had persisted for nearly two years—homeless encampments blocking sidewalks and access paths. These planters were seen as a practical solution to reclaim public space and ensure accessibility.

City Intervention

However, the city officials had a different perspective. They stated that the businesses needed permits for these planters and that they were considered an obstruction. Late last week, notices were placed on the planters, warning of their removal on June 24. As promised, city crews arrived on Monday to remove them, much to the frustration of the local community.

The Reactions: Frustration and Dismay

Business Owners’ Perspective

Business owners are understandably upset. For them, the planters were a necessary step to ensure that their storefronts remained accessible and inviting. They argue that the encampments not only obstruct foot traffic but also deter customers and impact their livelihoods.

I remember chatting with a friend who owns a small café in the area. He mentioned how difficult it was to keep his entrance clear and how the planters seemed like a simple and effective solution. “It was really starting to affect my business,” he said. “People didn’t want to walk through or around the encampments to get to my door.”

Residents’ Concerns

Many residents share the business owners’ frustrations. They feel that the planters helped keep the sidewalks clear and made the neighborhood feel safer. One local resident told me how she felt more comfortable walking her kids to school once the planters were in place. “It just felt more secure,” she explained. “We didn’t have to navigate around tents and belongings every morning.”

The City’s Stance

City officials, on the other hand, emphasize the need for regulations and permits. They argue that while the intention behind the planters might have been good, they still constitute an obstruction under city codes. “We have to ensure that public spaces are managed according to regulations,” a city representative explained. “While we understand the concerns of the business owners and residents, the planters without permits were not the answer.”

The Broader Issue: Homelessness in Hollywood

A Complex Problem

The situation highlights the ongoing issue of homelessness in Hollywood and many other parts of Los Angeles. The city has struggled for years to find effective solutions that balance the needs of the homeless population with the rights of residents and business owners.

Efforts to Address Homelessness

There have been various efforts to address homelessness, including increased funding for shelters, housing initiatives, and services aimed at helping individuals get back on their feet. However, the problem persists, and tensions between different community stakeholders remain high.

Looking for Solutions

Collaboration and Dialogue

One thing is clear: a collaborative approach is needed. Business owners, residents, city officials, and representatives of the homeless community need to come together to find solutions that work for everyone. Open dialogue and a willingness to understand different perspectives can go a long way.

I remember a community meeting I attended last year where various stakeholders discussed these issues. It was incredible to see how, despite differing opinions, people were willing to listen and work towards common ground. “We need more of these conversations,” one attendee said. “It’s the only way we’re going to find solutions that last.”

Innovative Approaches

There are examples of innovative approaches in other cities that could serve as models for Hollywood. For instance, some cities have implemented programs that provide secure storage for the belongings of homeless individuals, thereby reducing clutter on sidewalks. Others have created designated camping areas with access to services, which help manage the visibility and impact of encampments.

Moving Forward

Immediate Steps

In the short term, business owners and residents can work with city officials to find permissible ways to keep their sidewalks clear. This might include obtaining the necessary permits for planters or exploring other acceptable barriers.

Long-Term Goals

Long-term solutions will require addressing the root causes of homelessness. This includes expanding affordable housing, providing mental health and addiction services, and ensuring that individuals have access to job training and employment opportunities.


The removal of planters in Hollywood is a microcosm of a larger issue facing many urban areas. It’s a reminder that while temporary measures can provide some relief, they are not a substitute for comprehensive solutions. By working together and maintaining open lines of communication, residents, business owners, and city officials can find ways to address homelessness that respect everyone’s needs and rights.

For now, the community in Hollywood will continue to navigate these challenges, hopefully with a renewed commitment to finding lasting, effective solutions. As we look to the future, let’s remember the importance of empathy, collaboration, and innovation in tackling one of our most pressing social issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *