Hilton plan moves forward

The Beverly Hilton's contentious plan to refurbish the aging hotel, add a 12-story Waldorf-Astoria and build as many as 110 luxury condos has moved a step toward approval.

The Beverly Hills City Council voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to approve a development agreement for the project at Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. But the council delayed its final vote on a zoning change. The postponement was necessary, Mayor Barry Brucker said, to satisfy the concerns of citizens who plan to circulate a referendum petition that would place the project on the ballot for a community-wide vote.

Project opponents reminded the council that, under state law, such a petition must be accompanied by all documents relating to the zoning ordinance. In this case, that would come to about 2,100 pages, weighing 15 1/2 pounds, that signature gatherers would be required to haul around as they canvassed residents. The council voted unanimously to limit the exhibits to the documents, thus reducing the number of required pages to about 300, or 4 pounds. A final vote on that alteration is scheduled for Monday.

-- Martha Groves

For The Record Los Angeles Times Monday, May 19, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 3 inches; 142 words Type of Material: Correction Beverly Hilton: A brief article in the May 8 California section about the Beverly Hilton's expansion plan said the Beverly Hills City Council delayed its final vote on a zoning change needed to add a Waldorf-Astoria hotel and luxury condos. The council's action (which passed on a final vote May 12) was intended to make it easier for critics to gather signatures to place the zoning change on the ballot for a citywide referendum. The article quoted Mayor Barry Brucker as saying that the council postponed the vote to satisfy opponents of the Hilton project. However, opponents of the Hilton project say the zoning change was not relevant to their concern. They say they are actually collecting signatures to place a different Hilton-related item on the ballot to challenge an amendment to the city's general plan passed by the council April 29.
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