Derby Dolls say they can’t get permits for matches under warehouse crackdown

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The fallout from the deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland isn’t just hitting Los Angeles DIY performance venues—the Derby Dolls roller derby league has cancelled an upcoming bout and says its future derby matches might be called off as well.

They say the Los Angeles Fire Department and the city’s Department of Building and Safety denied the special event permits needed to hold matches in their El Sereno warehouse, Eastsider LA reports.

The reason? According to a crowdfunding page for the Derby Dolls:

In the wake of the ‘Ghost Ship’ tragedy, the LA Derby Dolls are no longer able to obtain temporary special event permits from the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Los Angeles City Building and Safety.

The Ghost Ship fire killed 36 people when it ravaged a warehouse used as a performance space and living quarters. It did not have the proper permits to host performances or to be a living space.

LA fire and building and safety departments have not immediately responded to messages from Curbed. If the denial of the Dolls’ permits is connected to the Oakland fire, their venue would be another on the growing list of warehouses and makeshift venues targeted by city agencies trying to prevent another tragedy.

In Playa Vista, an underground music venue and residence operating without the permits for either use was shut down about a week after the fire, and other warehouse spaces for artists are reporting evictions in the wake of the Ghost Ship blaze.

The Derby Dolls are now fundraising to seek a zoning variance, which they say would make it so they don’t have to worry about special events in the future. (They’ve set up a GoFundMe page to crowdsource the funds they’ll need.)

The variance is an expensive solution to their permit problem: The league estimates they’ll need “$27,000 just to pay for the necessary city filing fees and design costs,” says the Eastsider.

Additionally, the Dolls estimate it will cost $75,000 to bring their warehouse, “The Dollosseum,” into compliance, and nearly $17,000 to cover the operating expenses for January alone (since they won’t be making money from matches).

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