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Re “Beverly Hills lays out language for Cheval Blanc measures,” March 17 issue
For as long as I can remember, we have had a problem with one of our local Beverly Hills newspapers – the Courier.
Regardless of its owner, the Courier has always slanted its views to favor the city establishment, be it right or wrong. Although one may occasionally see a letter to the editor in the Courier with a differing viewpoint, the guest editorials will only go to those who support City Council majority views.
So residents in the know were not surprised when the Courier endorsed a yes vote on measures B and C, the Cheval Blanc hotel project.
We also expected that endorsement because up to April 23, 2023, the Courier has received [tens of thousands of dollars] from the Cheval Blanc campaign, and more than that by now.
As also expected, the Courier published a “why one should vote yes on B & C” guest editorial by Peter Ostroff, a planning commissioner.
It is also no surprise that Ostroff would urge a yes vote. First, the planning commissioners are carefully selected by the City Council majority to do their bidding. And any applicant wanting to serve on the planning commission, who values our excellent longstanding three-story height limit, or wants to require developers and businesses to provide adequate code required parking, will not be selected to serve.
Consistent with his support of the Cheval Blanc hotel project, Ostroff is also in favor of increasing building height and density in the city, as well as decreasing parking requirements. In fact, not long ago he called for a Robust City Density Bonus Program to provide much greater incentives to developers than the State Density Bonus Program, such as increased height and density and decreased parking requirements. He also had no problem convincing his fellow planning commissioners to want the same, given their similar orientation for which they were selected to serve.
So the excessive building height and density of the Cheval Blanc hotel project, and its lack of adequate parking, is not of great concern to Ostroff. His big selling point is that the project was considered in several hearings by the planning commission and the City Council. But unlike previous planning commissions and City Council majorities, our city officials did not even require the Cheval Blanc developer to provide adequate parking, or a way into its parking garage from the car court on Little Santa Monica, or to reduce the building height, or even to pay the city anything remotely close to what it would be worth to the developer to double the density of the property.
Like other proponents of the project, Ostroff tries to focus residents on exaggerated promises of income to the city, to divert residents from all of the deficiencies of this project.
Residents should not forget that our City Council majority also approved a development agreement which gives Cheval Blanc the right to sell after six months, leaving us with a massive out-of-scale building, great infrastructure and city services expense, a lot of traffic and parking problems, and permanent damage to our lovely village atmosphere.
Residents Against Overdevelop-ment
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