Beverly Hills Planning Commission Considers Trousdale View Restoration Permit
The Trousdale Estates View Restoration Ordinance is in the news after an intense discussion at the Beverly Hills Planning Commission on Oct. 10. Property owner Allen Yadgari, who lives at 570 Chalette Dr., submitted an application to the Planning Commission requesting a Trousdale View Restoration Permit to allow removal of five trees and pruning of two trees at 560 Chalette Dr., a neighboring property owned by Afrahim Soleiman and Mahvas/Limasol Trust. Yadgari also requested removal of nine trees and pruning of nine trees located at 565 Chalette Dr., a property owned by Louise Horovitz.
Prior to the hearing, the Commission took a bus tour of the properties in question. Yagdari’s property at 570 Chalette Dr. includes a single-family residence built in 1978 on a lot of approximately 19,179 square feet. According to the City’s records, the level pad of the neighboring property at 560 Chalette Dr. (west and immediately adjacent to Yagdari’s residence) is approximately 10 feet below the level pad of Yagdari’s property. City records indicate that its primary structure has a maximum height of 13.3 feet.
The other property at 565 Chalette Dr. is located southwest and across from Yagdari’s residence. It has a level pad that is approximately 20 feet below the level pad of the Yagdari property. According to Planning Division staff field measurements, the primary structure on the property at 565 Chalette Dr. has a maximum height of 11.3 feet. Yadgari contends that the foliage growth on both neighboring properties has exceeded the safe harbor barrier and should be trimmed and/or removed.
Trousdale View Restoration Pre- Application Steps
Trousdale’s View Restoration Ordinance (Ord. 11-0-2616, eff. 1-6-2012) outlines the procedures for submitting and processing discretionary View Restoration Permit applications. The Ordinance encourages Trousdale Estates property owners to first make efforts to address and resolve issues relating to view disruption from foliage growth without proceeding to hearing. Upon request by a property owner to apply for view restoration, the following pre-application steps are initiated: 1) an initial outreach to the foliage owner/neighbor; and 2) delivery of a City-issued mediation letter which includes an offer to meet with the foliage owner and a mediator. The affidavits provided by property owner Yadgari stated that neighboring property owners at 560 and 565 Chalette Dr. failed to respond to the Notice of Initial Neighbor Outreach (Step One) or the subsequent mediation offer (Step Two). Yadgari was granted the right to apply for a View Restoration Permit due to failure on the part of the foliage owners to respond to pre-application outreach and mediation offers.
Planning Commission Public Comment
Property owner Yadgari and his representatives provided public comment at the hearing, requesting that all trees within the protected view area comply with the safe harbor barrier and that any trees that exceed that boundary be pruned and/or removed. Yadgari stated that he would like to have a view of the L.A. Basin. He also stated that his wife offered to pay for planting of new trees or pruning, and the foliage owners refused.
Speaking on behalf of his grandmother and property owner at 565 Chalette Dr., David Horovitz alleged during the hearing that Yadgari had unlawfully trespassed on the Horovitz property to attempt to trim her trees. He also mentioned a pending lawsuit regarding the matter. Horovitz stated a willingness to prune some of the trees, but not to remove them completely. Horovitz submitted previous correspondence with a landscaping company to confirm that pruning of foliage on his grandmother’s property will take place on Oct. 28. He stated during the hearing a willingness to mediate to try to resolve the issue with the Yadgari. Yadgari, however, expressed doubts that negotiations with his neighbors would result in a resolution of the matter. The owners of 560 Chalette Dr. did not appear for public comment at the hearing.
The Commissioners did not reach a decision of the matter at the hearing. Rather, they continued it until Oct. 24, to allow the parties to develop a mutually agreeable plan. Gohlich told the Courier that most cases under the Ordinance are resolved informally. One or two cases each year do go before the Planning Commission for a full public hearing.
The Commissioners stressed to the parties the importance of neighbors communicating with each other to try to resolve issues regarding tree pruning and removal before Oct. 24. As of press time the Courier undestands that substantial progress has been made to resolve this matter.