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Local News in Brief : Hotel-Conversion Settlement Rejected

After widespread public opposition, the West Hollywood City Council rejected a plan for settling a long, bitter dispute between the city and hotelier Severyn Ashkenazy.

By a unanimous vote, the five-member council turned down a proposal that would have allowed financially troubled Ashkenazy Enterprises Inc. to convert four apartment buildings to hotels in exchange for a promise to pay the city $4.9 million over the next 20 years.

The proposal, hammered out during 18 months of private talks between city officials and Ashkenazy’s representatives, had been opposed by tenants who stand to be evicted from their apartments and others who said the city should not allow hotels in residential areas.

After listening to more than 70 residents speak against the plan during two public hearings, the council brushed aside the recommendation of the city staff that it approve the settlement. Council members said that the proposal would not sufficiently protect the interests of tenants and people living near the proposed hotels and that the financial terms were inadequate.

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