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Infiniti Gets Go-Ahead For Conditional Use Permit By Beverly Hills Planning Commission

Infiniti

By Matt Lopez
Courier staff writer

Beverly Hills is one step closer to adding another car dealership to the City.

The Planning Commission on Thursday evening gave the green light to a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Infiniti to run vehicle service operations at 9031 Olympic Blvd.

Infiniti is proposing to open and run its sales operations at 8825 Wilshire Blvd., a site formerly occupied by BMW. Infiniti also plans to operate further service operations at 9000 and 9001 Olympic Blvd. Of the four locations, only 9031 needed approval for a CUP because the others were either grandfathered in, or already had vehicle sales or service CUPs.

The approval was made by a 3-0 vote with Chair Craig Corman and Vice Chair Brian Rosenstein absent from the meeting. Commissioner Dan Yukelson was acting chair. The approval was made with several conditions, including:

– Installation of a pedestrian warning light and mirror at the service center’s driveway.

– Closing the South Driveway of the 9031 property and making the North driveway 2-way.

– Infiniti must provide patrons with information on how to access the property without going on residential streets.

– Infiniti must provide all employees with information on the property’s circulation restrictions. Violation of those restrictions are a fireable offense.

– The Planning Commission retains jurisdiction over sound issues and can call the project back up for review if issues arise.

The service center would operate 19 service bays and would be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. except for Saturday, when it would be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The applicant came to the commission with several of its own suggestions to make the potential move easier for the residential community nearby, including instituting a 24-hour hotline for residents to call if there any concerns. Murray Fischer, the attorney representing Infiniti, said he encouraged residents to promote a “spokesperson” who could approach Infiniti with any traffic, noise or other issues.

“We’ve tried to be exceptionally good neighbors,” Infiniti owner Lonnie Bennett said.

“I think you’ve done an outstanding job of trying to foresee any issues that are likely to come up,” Commissioner Howard Fisher said. “In the long run this is a good project for the City.”

One issue the commission did not address was how the project fits into the City’s revitalization plans for Southeast Beverly Hills.  A resident who lives in the Southeast of the City, was one of three concerned residents who spoke at Thursday’s meeting.

This resident admonished City staff for failing to consult the Southeast Task Force, a citizen group aimed at revitalizing the Southeast, before presenting its report to the commission. Staff failed to communicate with not only the task force, but it’s chairman Mayor John Mirisch. The resident said an automotive facility is “directly in contradiction” to the goals of the task force, which aims to turn the Southeast into a “theater and arts district” with theaters, galleries, museums and community grocery stores such as Trader Joes. The resident also said staff failed to communicate with the nearby school and religious congregation before presenting its report.

“I believe this is gross negligence at the very best and something much worse at the very least,” the resident said. “We will do everything in our power to oppose the granting of this permit.. we intend to pursue this as far and as long as the legal system allows us to and as far and long as our first amendment rights allow us to.”

The final approval for Infiniti will come before the City Council at a formal meeting in the near future.

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