We give Beverly Hills a lot of shit around here, but we've got nothing but props for its move this week to finally adopt a historic preservation ordinance. Bev Hills, once architecturally notable for movie star mansions like Pickfair but now more closely associated with McMansions, has been allowing the demolition of architecturally significant buildings forever, but a recent string of outrages, plus the very-near-demo of the Richard Neutra-designed Kronish House last year, finally got the city council on the preservation train. Beverly Hills Patch reports that the new ordinance, approved Tuesday by the city council (unanimously!), does the following:
-- Creates both a Cultural Heritage Commission and an urban designer staff position. Planning Commissioner Noah Furie has been appointed founding chairman of the CHC.
-- Implements a 30 day review period for demolition of buildings that are more than 45 year olds "and designed by master architects." According to a report on the ordinance by the director of community development, the review period will give time to assess a structure, and try to convince the owner to preserve the place (with info on restoration and tax incentive programs like the Mills Act).
-- The new CHC will be responsible for maintaining a list of architects it recognizes as masters.
-- Imposes up to a five year moratorium on construction permitting for properties on which a historic structure has been illegally knocked down or altered.
-- Makes Beverly Hills a "certified local government," which means it'll be eligible for state preservation funding "and other benefits"
· Council Establishes Preservation Program for Historic Architecture [Beverly Hills Patch]
· Beverly Hills Finally Working on Preserving Its Historic Buildings [Curbed LA]