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Council Amends View Restoration Ordinance

Amendments include legally redefining a hedge and litigation cost caps.

The Beverly Hills City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to amend the Trousdale view restoration ordinance.

On the recommendation of an ad hoc committee consisting of Mayor William Brien and Councilman Barry Brucker, council members changed the city's legal definition of a hedge from a minimum of three to two plants cultivated less than eight feet apart, according to a city staff report.

The council also enacted the following fiscal impact guidelines for litigation costs associated with a view restoration permit:

  • 0-$100,000 view owner bears cost
  • $101,000-$200,000 city bears cost
  • $201,000-$300,000 view owner and city split cost
  • Over $300,000 city bears cost

"This certainly isn't perfect, and ... I think the council would unanimously agree that in a year—sooner if need be—we should have a review," Brucker said. "Let's see what's working, what's not working and we may need to tweak it and adjust it accordingly."

Vice Mayor John Mirisch cast the dissenting vote.

"I am concerned that this would pit neighbor against neighbor in a way that could be avoided, and I am concerned about escalating costs and sticking the city with the bill on what effetively is a civil action," Mirisch said.

Council members vowed to keep close tabs on how this ordinance, which became law in August 2011, affects the community.

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