What You Need to Know About the Cheval Blanc Hotel Petition

In November City Council granted approvals for the Cheval Blanc hotel which is proposed to span four parcels between North Beverly Drive and Rodeo Drive south of Santa Monica Boulevard. Four buildings including the former Paley Museum would be replaced by one structure rising nine floors with 115 hotel rooms at an anticipated room rate of $2,000 as befits a luxury hotel with restaurants and a private club (the penthouse asks $30,000 nightly). It’s not a done deal, however, because a petition is circulating to send this project to the voters in a referendum with a Monday deadline. Sign or not sign?

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Today’s Council Agenda: Redevelopment and Tenant Protections

The economics of redevelopment has changed. In the past the city’s zoning code kept a lid on multifamily demolition and redevelopment: density was limited, building heights topped-out at three stories in most multifamily areas, and the required off-street parking made small-scale redevelopment impractical. Sacramento has changed the game with new laws, new incentives, and new limits on local control. In the cross-hairs are the rent-stabilized households who stand to lose their longtime home. What can the city do to protect tenants from displacement?

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Term Limits for Beverly Hills: Why the Hurry?

Beverly Hills city councilmember John Mirisch has stood out as a champion of new ideas. He wants the city to provide land so that nonprofits can build senior housing. He wants developers to set aside one in every five new dwelling units as permanently affordable. He favors city hall transparency and disfavors city hall inefficiency. He will always hold Metro’s feet to the fire. So why do his fellow councilmembers want to kick him off the island?

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Beverly Hills Earns an ‘A’ Grade in This Coronavirus Crisis

Coronavirus has challenged local governments in a way that no public health emergency has before. We see a cascade of executive orders and urgency ordinances that have shuttered businesses, prohibited gatherings and tried to cushion the impact of an economic shutdown in response to this insidious threat. The most surprising: a sweeping embrace of the eviction moratorium. Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch has ensured that our city was among the earliest in the Southland to step up with one. He deserves an ‘A’ grade in a crisis.

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What is Driving the City’s Housing Policy? RHNA!

Beverly Hills is now entertaining a wide-ranging discussion about housing affordability and accessibility and the key issue is how the city can provide stability to residents today while accommodating housing demand in the future. Cutting right to the heart of the matter is state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment: an obscure and complicated process for assigning to localities some responsibility for providing new dwelling units in order to meet that demand. In fact RHNA as it is known drives every significant housing conversation in our city today.

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Mills Act for Multifamily Preservation Picks Up Steam

Mayor John Mirish has been preservation-minded when it comes to multifamily rental properties. Toward that end he has championed the state’s Mills Act tax-incentive program: give an owner a break on his property tax and contractually bind him to investing in the restoration and rehabilitation of the property. His initiative is picking up steam!

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RSO Study Session #1: Council Gets to Work!

City Council held its first rent stabilization ‘study session’ last Thursday. This is the latest step in a 18-month policy process to amend the rent stabilization ordinance. The session suggested what a final rent stabilization ordinance might look like: relocation fee schedule, exempted properties and more. However key issues — and the process itself — is still up for negotiation!

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Beverly Hills City Council Endorses Prop 10

Beverly Hills City Council has endorsed Proposition 10 for the November ballot. If passed by voters, Proposition 10 would enact the Affordable Housing Act and thereby repeal the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. That legislation was Sacramento’s “gift to landlords” as one said because it ties the hands of any city that has enacted rent control. Our city’s endorsement is a statement of support for local control and self-determination. Indeed City Council voted unanimously to endorse Prop 10!

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Beverly Hills Will Ban Smoking in Multifamily Properties

After winding its way though the policy machinery for the past year, Beverly Hills City Council has unanimously supported a policy to regulate smoking in multifamily properties (including condominium buildings). Councilmembers spoke up strongly on Tuesday in favor of banning smoking in all apartments, for both new and existing tenancies, and will phase-in the prohibition over an accelerated one-year period. That means all smoking ceases in multifamily properties by January 1, 2019.

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City Council: Let’s Get on With the Program

Mayor Bosse tonight focused councilmembers on several key issues that are necessary to move the rent stabilization program forward: proceeding with a rental registry, funding the program, and hiring a deputy director. Other areas of council agreement included forming a tenant-landlord board and a new habitability standard. While the RSO program moves forward the next steps are yet unclear.

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