Council Approves Mills Act Pilot Program

The two-year program is an attempt to preserve Beverly Hills' historic architecture.

The City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday establishing a two-year pilot program that will .

Priority will be given to public theaters, buildings designed by a master architect or listed on a state/national historic preservation register, applications that are submitted early, as well as buildings characterized by "necessity, uniqueness ... properties that would include some additional sustainability measures," Associate Planner Peter Noonan said. 

The Mills Act program provides a property tax reduction for qualifying homeowners.

Officials will select the first round of participating properties by Jan. 16. The program will cost the city $25,000 for administration services and training by a historic property consultant.

"It's been a little bit of an uphill battle in Beverly Hills," Councilman John Mirisch said of getting a historic preservation ordinance in the books. "Hopefully this will be one of the first steps that we can take, and we will continue working on something that makes sense for the entire community and is balanced."

Council members also referenced the , which was designed by master architect Richard Neutra and recently faced the possibility of demolition. Many residents and historic preservation advocates from other Los Angeles communities, including members of the L.A. Conservancy, came to the to oppose the owners' plans to raze the 1955-built structure.

"Under pressure from the Beverly Hills City Council, historical preservationists and the public, the owners agreed to a 70-day delay and sold the property to buyers who have said they intend to restore the home," according to a statement released by the city.  

"We are deeply appreciative to everyone involved in the effort to save this incredible home," Mayor Barry Brucker said in a statement. "The owners and their representatives were extremely cooperative and sensitive to the concerns of the council and the preservation community. I look forward, through the Mills Act pilot program, to preserving many more of the historic properties in Beverly Hills."

Mitchell Dawson, an attorney representing the Kronish House's former owners, Soda Partners LLC, said "compromise, good efforts and skilled negotiation cured a problem and made it a great result."  

The Planning Commission is currently working on a historic preservation ordinance to establish guidelines for preserving Beverly Hills' historic architecture.

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Ellen Lutwak October 21, 2011 at 01:11 AM
This is very good news going forward. It would be great to honor the historical architecture that we have lost in an exhibit and lecture series.


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