Study Session Supports Planning Commission Member, Reviews Climate Plan

During its Aug. 15 Study Session, the Beverly Hills City Council signaled its support for appointing a new Planning Commission member, Lou Milkowski, to succeed current commissioner Peter Ostroff.

The City Council selected Milkowski, a Beverly Hills resident, for a soon-to-be vacant seat on the Planning Commission, the powerful panel tasked with recommending broad development policies to the City Council and reviewing development applications for their conformance to the city’s General Plan. 

Ostroff’s term concludes on Dec. 31, 2023. 

If approved by City Council, Milkowski will be eligible for an initial two-year term beginning January 1, 2024, and ending December 31, 2025. 

Milkowski—who currently serves as the chair of the Rent Stabilization Commission—was chosen from a pool of nine applicants for the upcoming commission vacancy. According to members of the council, he stood out among the applicants given his track record of meaningful contributions to civic life in the city.

“There were some really good applicants, and we’re hoping they don’t give up and consider applying again for other commissions as they become available,” Councilmember Lili Bosse said during the recent Study Session. “We felt unanimously Mr. Milkowski was the right choice to serve on this commission.”

Councilmember John Mirisch shared a minor concern he had about the appointment: Milkowski’s current role as the chair of the Rent Stabilization Commission meant the city needed to work quickly to select a replacement for his seat on that commission. 

“I’m supportive [of Milkowski’s appointment],” Mirisch said, “but we need to recognize there’s a domino effect.” His colleagues on the council echoed that concern, and city staff assured Mirisch and the council they would work quickly to identify a new Rent Stabilization Commission member.

Going forward, Milkowski must attend all Planning Commission meetings leading up to his appointment.  

Meanwhile, city staff will provide a formal report to council regarding Milkowski’s appointment during the next City Council meeting, scheduled for Sept. 12.

The Study Session agenda also included a presentation on the Rodeo Drive Holiday Lighting Celebration and the city’s seasonal program. The Beverly Hills City Council Liaison Rodeo Drive/Special Events/Holiday Program Committee is seeking approval of a fiscal year 2023-2024 purchase order of a not-to-exceed amount of $958,493 for the Rodeo Drive lighting celebration, scheduled to take place on Nov. 16. The theme this year is “Up, Up and Away Holiday” and will feature live music, a variety of food options, fireworks show and plenty of opportunities for strengthening community and celebrating the season. 

Additionally, the council heard an update on the city’s bold and ambitious Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). Staff made a presentation on the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and forecast and sought council direction on moving forward with key reduction measures. According to a city staff report, CAAP is a roadmap that prepares Beverly Hills for carbon neutrality by 2045 and positions the city as a leader in implementing ambitious and necessary climate action.

Appearing before the council, Ostroff said the city may not be able to effect climate policy change on a macro level but is known, nonetheless, for punching above its weight. The city, he said, ought to set a good example in how it tackles urgent climate issues.

“I came away convinced this is an existential problem and we need to deal with it and be serious about it, recognizing our community is a tiny little piece of a huge problem that’s worldwide,” Ostroff said, “but we can still be leaders and get some things done.”

City Council’s next Study Session meeting is scheduled for Sept. 12. 

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