Re “Beverly Hills mayor seeks re-election,” Jan. 6 issue
I was surprised by the following comments of Wunderlich, that he wants to maintain the “sophisticated village feel” of Beverly Hills, to protect its residential neighborhoods, that his vision encompasses quiet, safe neighborhoods with a village feel, and that he will continue prioritizing residents and their quality of life.
These statements are disingenuous in view of the fact that Wunderlich voted in favor of the excessive mixed-use ordinance which rezoned the main streets of Beverly Hills, turning our city control of development over to the state. That is, upon the rezoning, the state density bonus program kicked in to supersede our height limits, building standards and parking requirements to allow for greater height, lesser building standards and lesser parking requirements.
The aim of this ordinance was greater density, height, more traffic and less parking, which was not what residents wanted. The City Council majority, including Wunderlich, referred to this goal as an intention for a more vibrant city. Of course, their rezoning was set for the areas of the city where they do not live.
The plan of the City Council majority has not yet succeeded, under the circumstances of the pandemic and expense of building supplies, etc. However, we remain at risk, and since the mixed-use ordinance was passed, the density bonus was increased by the state from 35% to 50%, and could increase further.
At least Wunderlich did not claim that they took this action to meet Regional Housing Needs Assessment new housing requirements, in that he admitted they began this plan long before RHNA requirements. Further, they unnecessarily rezoned for about three-times the RHNA requirements
Wunderlich also indicated that he wanted to continue being transparent in his decision making. However, prior to his voting in favor of the mixed-use ordinance, he claimed that he was undecided, which residents doubt.
Last, he states that he wants the public to be involved in council actions. Then why did he participate in blocking residents’ desire to exercise their constitutional referendum rights, to allow the residents of Beverly Hills to vote on the mixed-use ordinance? When the council passed the mixed-use ordinance at the first height of the pandemic, Wunderlich and the other majority council members refused to even discuss affording any consideration to residents who wanted to gather referendum petition signatures to put the mixed-use ordinance on the ballot, given the impossibility of gathering signatures during the pandemic. In fact, Councilmember John Mirisch is the only council member who voted against the mixed-use ordinance and who urged the council to accommodate residents so they could exercise their constitutional rights to referendum.
Fortunately, there should be at least two other residents stepping up to run for City Council in the hope that we can change the council majority, including Wunderlich. Stay tuned.
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