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City Council Examines Guidelines for Western Gateway Development

Council members continue the process of endorsing a plan that will allow property owners to revamp a primary Beverly Hills entrance point.

The City Council on Tuesday discussed an ordinance that will allow property owners to develop areas of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards at Beverly Hills' western boundary.

A zoning change is required to accommodate commercial and residential developments on parcels that are currently designated only for uses pertaining to transportation, such as parking lots.

Council members agreed to continue the hearing on the proposed zoning change at the July 24 formal meeting. Vice Mayor John Mirisch, who was not present Tuesday, will add his input on the matter when the council considers it again next month.

The ordinance under consideration will maintain the designation for transportation-related projects, but if approved it will pave the way for commercial projects such as office buildings, retail space, restaurants, galleries, museums, hotels and residential properties above the first floor, according to a report by Director of Community Development Susan Healy Keene.

Areas of the parcels that are determined to be eligible for commercial development will have a height limit of four stories—between 45 and 60 feet.

The proposed zoning change affects three land parcels—9900 Santa Monica Boulevard owned by Roxbury Managers Ltd., 9848 Wilshire Boulevard owned by Wilco LLC and 9815 Wilshire Boulevard owned by McB2 LLC, the report states. The property owners have sought council approval of the zoning change since 2001.

According to Keene's report, the council is considering these key guidelines for future project proposals in the three parcels:

  • Appropriate setbacks, green space and building modulation.
  • Uses that serve the neighborhood that help revitalize the area.
  • Solutions for parking shortfalls in the area.
  • Adding "iconic architecture."
  • Protecting nearby residential neighborhoods and Beverly Hills High School from adverse traffic effects.

Ken Goldman, president of the Southwest Beverly Hills Homeowners Association, cautioned about the effect such large structures would have on Little Santa Monica Boulevard's one-story, residential character.

"Do you really want to trade that for simply more Century City three- and four-story glass office buildings?" Goldman said.

Residents Marjorie Black, Randy Steinberg and Thomas White noted their concerns over potential traffic congestion on adjacent streets like Charleville and North Santa Monica boulevards, as well as polluted air that will result from simultaneous construction projects.

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