Residents of Sierra Drive in Beverly Hills attended a city council meeting last week to voice their concerns for plans to demolish the Gerard Colcord-designed house at 515 N. Sierra Drive.
The structure is set to be replaced with a new modern-style home that has all the city approvals it needs, but residents say it is not harmonious with the neighborhood and will set a negative precedent.
Marcy Kelly Brubaker lives four doors from 515 N. Sierra Drive and she first addressed the city council in June 2015 to save the original home at the site and request it be considered for landmark status. The city council complied, but the cultural heritage commission voted 3-2 to allow the house to be torn down.
The development that is proposed is categorized by the city as “Track 1,” which means it does not go through as extensive reviews as “Track 2” proposals. On July 18, the residents submitted a letter signed by 60 Sierra Drive residents asking the proposal to be changed to a Track 2 status so the design review commission would be able to evaluate plans for design compatibility and scale. But the community development department rejected the request.
“And so we are here tonight to ask, again, for your help,” Brubaker said to the city council. “As you can see from the photos in front of you, the proposed building is not remotely compatible with the traditional homes on the street.”
Brubaker asked the city council to review the process for designating homes as landmarks, especially for homes built before 1940.
“This is a time to cherish and preserve the rich streetscapes our founders left us and reverse a policy that makes them so easy to demolish,” she said. “If structures such as the one proposed for 515 N. Sierra continue to be built, Beverly Hills will soon reach a tipping point, the critical juncture that leads to irreversible change that cannot be stopped.”
Martin Frank, who has lived on Sierra Drive for 34 years, attended the city council meeting for the first time to contend that the approval of the proposed home is in violation of the municipal code.
“The only appropriate course the city can and should take at this time is to start the Track 1 review of the proposed development over again, from the beginning, and complete all of the analyses and findings required by the municipal code, or to designate the development for Track 2 review and have the design review commission make the decision.”
After press time on Wednesday, the city held a special meeting with the Beverly Hills City Council liaison and design review commission committee on the Track 1 and Track 2 approval process, with Councilwoman Lili Bosse and Vice Mayor Nancy Krasne.
The owner and developer for the proposed site were not available for comment.
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