Council Considers Special Election, Fractional Ownership and Historic Property

At its June 6 regular meeting, the Beverly Hills City Council approved the certified results of the May 2023 special election in which Measures B and C were defeated by some 80 votes.

City Clerk Huma Ahmed appeared before the council with the results of the election. She also noted that a request for a recount had been filed on June 2.

“The county will coordinate the process and the requestor is responsible for all payments associated with the recount. However, the certification process for this evening can still move forward, and this is why we are here before you today with the resolution,” Ahmed said.

The council’s June 6 meeting also included lengthy discussion over a conditionally approved security fence around a locally designated historic single-family residence, at 910 N. Bedford Drive, owned by Daniel Negari. The Council reviewed the Cultural Heritage Commission’s April 12 issuance and conditional approval of a certificate of appropriateness for the property—which, known as the Anthony-Kerry House, was designed by master architects and siblings Charles and Henry Greene—to modify the external appearance of the historic landmark in compliance with historic guidelines.

Also known as the “Greene and Greene” house, according to Timothea Tway, director of community development, the property, constructed in 1901, incorporates a definitive Craftsman architectural style, distinguished by unique characteristics including a clinker-brick wall.

During the meeting, Tway gave a presentation to council regarding the Cultural Heritage Commission’s conditional approval to the current owner for external modifications. At issue was a security fence and gate being built as part of the construction of a two-story addition and swimming pool to the existing historic property. 

The construction of the fence has been paused due to concerns from the Cultural Heritage Commission about its potential visual impact and protecting the residence during construction.

Additional speakers during this segment of the hearing included Cultural Heritage Commission Chair Craig Corman and Cultural Heritage Commission Vice Chair Marc Teren. The owner of the property was not in attendance. His representative explained he was currently on a trip in Israel.

Most council members expressed support for the certificate of appropriateness. 

“I do believe this fence does look appropriate,” Councilmember Lili Bosse said.

“I brought this forward because I really did feel one’s safety within one’s home is paramount,” Mayor Dr. Julian Gold said. “We probably feel that more today than we did several years, but creating safety and the feeling of safety is important. At that point, there are really two questions—is it code compliant, which it is, and secondarily, does it meet the Secretary of the Interior’s requirements?”

“I agree with everybody the preservation of this house is a very good thing, and we do thank the owners for all it took to get there over the years,” Gold said.

Councilmember John Mirisch, however, took issue with the process through which the approval was given, saying the C of A, issued at the staff level, ought to have been brought before council and the appropriate commission before it was issued. 

“Going forward it would be important for us to get our act together and be able to collaborate,” Mirisch said, adding the residence was “an architectural masterpiece that’s important to our community.”

The Assistant City Manager, Ryan Gohlich, explained city code dictated it be a staff-level decision.

The council did not deliver a final decision on the certificate of appropriateness. Rather, the council directed staff to prepare a revised resolution that will be brought to the council for consideration at its next meeting about approving, modifying or denying the certificate of appropriateness. 

Also on the June 6 agenda was the second reading of a draft ordinance to prohibit fractional ownership of residential and commercial properties. The ordinance had previously been introduced during the council’s May 16 meeting. Ultimately, the council adopted the ordinance prohibiting fractional ownership, the practice allowing multiple parties to buy ownership shares in a single property.

The next council meeting is scheduled for June 27.