Planning Commission Debates Fractional Ownership Ban

With the city’s ban on fractional property ownership set to expire this summer, the Planning Commission has been tasked with preparing a permanent ordinance for the City Council’s approval.

In a Feb. 9 meeting, the Commission debated how to create an ordinance that both cracks down on the practice and creates a pathway for exemptions in specific limited scenarios.

In the same meeting, the Commission approved plans for a cosmetic spa to relocate to the Rodeo Collection mall.

Fractional Ownership Ban

In July 2021, City Council passed a temporary ban on fractional ownership–a practice whereby multiple people own a single property and use it for different amounts of time–in response to concerns over fractional ownership plans for the One Beverly Hills project.

One Beverly Hills is the $2 billion hotel and residential complex that was approved by City Council in a 4-1 vote in June 2021. The 17.5-acre project will feature a private club, 340 residential units, a 42-room Aman-branded hotel and 37 hotel-branded condominiums intended for fractional ownership.

The condos are designed as shared vacation homes where owners can have access to hotel amenities including room service and housekeeping.

While Council was enthusiastic about the exclusive development, it worried that the proposed fractional ownership concept– which would be the first of its kind in the city–could open a Pandora’s box.

Community Development Director Ryan Gohlich said dangers of fractional ownership include increased noise, loss of privacy and community, a decline in property values and a reduction in available homes in a July 2021 Council meeting.

Council then passed the temporary ban to protect the city’s residential housing stock and stave off a potential influx of vacation properties.

This ordinance is set to expire this July and the Planning Commission fully supports enacting a permanent version.

“We don’t want it (fractional ownership). It’s not a good thing for our city. It takes residential units off the market. You’re not going to build a stable neighborhood,” said Commissioner Peter Ostroff.

However, they had questions over what scenarios may justify an exemption to the ban and how that would be determined.

Commissioner Gary Ross gave the example of someone passing away and multiple children inheriting a property as a potential form of permissible fractional ownership.

The Commission expressed support for having an appeals process whereby owners can take their case to City Council and request an exemption.

“I think this should be a blanket prescription subject to an ability to go to Council and say ‘was it really intended to apply to the house that I’m sharing with my brother and sister and cousin’ and they (Council) can say yes or no,” said Ostroff.

The Commission instructed staff to make alterations to the ordinance to clarify the Council hearing process and provide more details on what could qualify for an exception. They will vote on the revised ordinance in a March 9 meeting, after which point will be sent to City Council for a final vote.

Spa Relocation

Dr. Rahi Sarbaziha opened a cosmetic spa at 9615 Brighton Way in 2019 and said she would like to relocate to the Rodeo Collection luxury mall for its bigger space, better visibility and increased retail opportunities.

“I love that the city is accessible and welcoming for all my clients and I look forward to expanding my business here,” said Sarbaziha in the Feb. 9 Planning Commission meeting. “My center is at the forefront of beauty and wellness services in Beverly Hills but we serve people from all walks of life and from all over the world.”

Integrative Wellness by Dr. Rahi plans to offer a wide range of services including dermal fillers, neurotoxins, PDO threads, IV Drips, electro-muscular stimulation, laser hair removal, chemical peels, micro-needling with platelet-rich plasma, and mesotherapy.

The spa’s new home, the Rodeo Collection, is located at 421 North Rodeo Dr. and contains a range of high-end retail shops, personal care stores, medical services and office spaces.

The treatment center will be located immediately adjacent to another soon-to-open cosmetic spa that Planning Commission approved in August 2022. The proximity of these two very similar businesses raised concerns for Commission Chair Myra Demeter, who cast the sole no vote.

“My interpretation is it does not foster an appropriate mix of uses that promote a balance of services,” she said.

The remaining four commissioners did not feel that the proximity of the businesses justified denying the cosmetic spa a conditional use permit and voted to approve it.