Beverly Hills leaders met several times this week to discuss a bounty of issues ranging from the City’s response to COVID-19 and closing City parks for Mother’s Day to clarifying last week’s vote on allowing elective surgeries to resume.
Revising the Urgency Ordinance
In addition to adopting a resolution ratifying the proclamation of the existence of a local emergency, the Council approved several substantive changes to the City’s Urgency Ordinance (No. 20-O-2805) related to COVID-19, which was adopted on March 16. The Council approved adding language to the ordinance that would mandate the closure of local parks on Mother’s Day, similar to what both the City and County of Los Angeles elected to do in order to encourage social distancing. With respect to the moratorium on evictions of residential and commercial tenants, the Council agreed to expand the exemption from the eviction moratorium to commercial tenants which are subsidiaries of large companies, giving them until May 15 to repay rent that was forborne. The Council also approved amending the ordinance to further accommodate expanded loading zones in order to facilitate curbside pick-up associated with Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he would be moving forward with phase two of reopening the state on May 8.
New Life at Gibraltar Square
The Council voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance which changes the direction of the alley directly north of the forthcoming 154-room hotel at 9111 Wilshire Blvd. to a two-way traffic operation. The proposed project involves the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the existing Gibraltar Square Tower and Banking Hall as a boutique hotel with restaurant and ancillary uses. The change is expected to mitigate and improve any potential traffic impacts.
The City added two additional parking structures to its portfolio. The new additions, which are located at 9333 West 3rd St. and 450 North Crescent Drive, bring the total parking structures owned by the City to 18. In passing the ordinance, which goes into effect on June 5, the Council further amplified prohibited activity in a parking structure in order to enable greater enforcement of the municipal code.
The City Council approved a $7.2 million contract for MNR Construction Inc. to install a raw water transmission main from the future well site in the 1900 block of Chariton Street to the water treatment plant at 345 Foothill Road. The project is key in the City’s effort to expand its local water supply, which it currently derives entirely from imported water.
For the Record on Elective Surgery
At the May 4 Joint Special Meeting of the City Council and the Health and Safety Commission in conjunction with the Medical Advisory Task Force, Mayor Lester Friedman reprimanded Councilmember John Mirisch for spinning an “erroneous” narrative related to the 4-1 City Council vote on April 28 to allow elective surgeries to resume in Beverly Hills. Mirisch had been the sole “no” vote to a decision which allowed previously prohibited medical surgeries such as heart valve replacements, angioplasty and tumor removals to resume in the City. The mayor detailed how after the vote, which was taken just before midnight, his colleague subsequently used “inflammatory, crass descriptions” to entice various media outlets to run various stories that Beverly Hills had approved cosmetic surgeries. Mirisch denied that he had overtly reached out to the media. “The action taken was in response to Gov. (Gavin) Newsom’s announcement that the state of California is allowing certain elective surgeries. The governor specifically noted procedures such as purely aesthetic cosmetic surgeries were not included,” Friedman clarified.