Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – 4:27 PM
Correction: The current staff report has no recommendation on the project.
Posted: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – 3:38 PM
By Victoria Talbot
The Beverly Hills Planning Commission is holding a special meeting tonight to discuss an R1 permit to allow more than 1,500 cubic yards of earth to be exported for a single-family home proposed on Lago Vista Drive.
The project is the first one to come before the City to trigger the request for an R1 permit under the new Hillside Ordinance, which allows more oversight and community input on projects such as this, on a street that is less than 24 feet in width.
Residents on the narrow hillside street with sharp, blind curves have responded in force, expanding the agenda to include over 300 pages of input against the project including a petition signed by over 30 residents.
At issue is the haul route, possible mitigations that would increase safety and reduce noise, pollution, and traffic, and whether or not the Planning Commission can make the findings for a categorical exemption for the hauling.
The proposal is for a two-story residence and basement totaling 10,228 square feet in total floor area. That breaks down to 5,084 sf of basement, 3,356 sf of first floor, 1,788 sf of second floor. The City ordinance exempts the basement and the garage square footage from calculations for the total floor area; thus the total after exemptions is 6,750 sf. The maximum allowable is 6,752 sf.
Residents objections are numerous.
The project, which will climb down the mountain with balconies and bedrooms that are defined as “basement” but look out, some residents say, on their bedrooms. They complain it will disturb the natural contours of the landscape and disrupt the hillside stability. Others say the land is unstable and has a history of slides. Already, during the rains the hillside was covered in plastic sheeting. There are hundreds of pages of opposition.
Perhaps most ominous, some attorneys point to the development group and their legal problems, and to the one-square-foot of wiggle room in total floor area that seems too good to be true, and they say, may be the result of shady measurements.
All the residents agree that excavation and hauling is dangerous on the narrow, blind curves and that it will interrupt and endanger lives on Lago Vista and Coldwater Canyon below.
Staff is recommending that the Planning Commission approve the project, despite the overwhelming community opposition.
Tonight’s hearing is open to the public to receive as much community input as possible, and the meeting is at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 455 N. Rexford Drive. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Parking is available at the structure located adjacent to the BH Public Library.