Residents Against Overdevelopment is a grassroots group with a mission to preserve the quality of life in Beverly Hills. So we are urging residents to VOTE NO on Measures B and C by the special election date of May 23, 2023.
We oppose the monolithic Cheval Blanc Hotel project because it is just too big and tall for our village. It goes up to 9 stories in height, instead of the allowed three stories, and has more than twice the allowed density. It also has inadequate parking consisting of substandard parking and in lieu parking which means parking elsewhere in the city, which will use up our much needed parking in the city. And it will bring unbearable traffic and congestion to little Santa Monica and the Triangle.
We would like to keep the village triangle low rise and do not want to set a bad precedent.
Presently little Santa Monica between Rodeo & Beverly:
What it would look like with the Cheval Blanc Hotel:
It's massive and just too big for our village!
And it is certainly is nothing like the pictures the developer provided to news outlets to misrepresent the project to the public before it was approved by our city council majority.
The Cheval Blanc Hotel never would have looked anything like what the developer disrespectfully and fraudulently represented to the public before the project was approved by our council majority:
As it turns out, the above picture is actually the 4th story rooftop of the proposed hotel so it would not appear to go up to 9 stories in height.
Unfortunately, although our officials knew inaccurate renderings were being published to mislead the public, our officials took no steps whatsoever to assure that accurate information was provided to residents.
And what about all of the traffic, congestion, and irritation such an immense project would bring, the blocking of views, and the drain on our infrastructure, water supply, and city services? The city council majority did not even require the developer to provide adequate parking for the project, and instead allowed the developer to use substandard parking methods and in lieu parking.
Unfortunately, a majority of our councilmembers think our quality of life should be for sale when one cannot even put a value on it.
Since we are fighting the richest development company in the world, worth about $500 billion, and owned by the richest man in the world, expect David v. Goliath. But we are determined to fight this with every honest means and possible help at our disposal.
We also recall that a short time ago, our city council majority approved the One Beverly Hills Hilton project, consisting of 32 story and 28 story skyscrapers, an 11 story building across the street from El Rodeo School which will throw shade on it, and 1/3 less parking than was previously required for the site. At that time we were told that approval of One Beverly Hills would bring in $1.9 billion over 30 years, which would cover one-third of our annual operating budget, and we would be set. But now, here we are again even though our city has no financial problems.
Even if one could put a price tag on our quality of life, and what has made Beverly Hills such a lovely city to live in, this developer not only misrepresented the nature of the project to the public, but also seeks to buy our city off cheap. By persuading our city council majority to approve this mammoth project and allow over-building to over twice what is allowed by our codes, the developer more than doubled the amount of its investment, approximately $465 M. But instead of paying anything close to the additional $465 M, the developer agreed to pay, and our council majority accepted a payment of only $28M to the city.
Sometimes builders claim they cannot afford to build unless they are given concessions to violate building codes. But this builder can very well afford to comply with our codes, and we welcome it to do so.
The author of those fraudulent fliers which were being distributed has been exposed. If you are interested, please scroll to the bottom.
Here are our fliers.
Here is a flier being circulated by Unite Here Local 11 which is helping
residents preserve our quality of life:
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The position of The Municipal League of Beverly Hills
Residents Against Overdevelopment previously attributed fraudulent fliers which illegally failed to provide a source, and were filled with false claims and a picture of Cheval Blanc’s commissioned model, to the Cheval Blanc campaign itself. That is because the fliers surfaced about two weeks ago at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market from where the Yes on Cheval Blanc team gathered. Also, Cheval Blanc had control of its prototype model, which should have been shown to all residents but wasn’t, and Cheval Blanc had refused to allow residents to photograph it to determine whether it was accurate and to scale. Also, the Yes on Cheval Blanc team’s unethical, illegal conduct in placing lawn signs all over the city where placement was not authorized, and illegally on the park side, left us not feeling very surprised about the occurrence of additional illegal conduct from that campaign.
Subsequently, the fraudulent fliers in similar forms were delivered city-wide by The Walking Man delivery service, and some were distributed by e-mail, under the laughable subject line The Truth about Measures B & C.
The Cheval Blanc campaign denied any involvement in the fraudulent fliers.
Residents Against Overdevelopment reported the fraudulent fliers to the Beverly Hills City Attorney Office on May 11, 2023, and with the assistance of residents Mark Elliot and Ari Bussel, were able to provide sufficient domain and e-mail information to the City Attorney’s Office, so the true author of the fliers could be uncovered. Only yesterday, the City Attorney finally advised Residents Against Overdevelopment that Sunny Sassoon is responsible for the fliers.
We understand that Sunny Sassoon owns real property near the Cheval Blanc site, and has been having parties to promote the project because he thinks that if it is built, his property will become more valuable.
Let’s consider his main false claims in the fliers:
1. The fliers are claimed to be authored by “residents of Beverly Hills” without naming any residents or group so Sunny Sassoon’s property interest and motivation would not be apparent.
2. Some versions of the fliers claim that the only opposition to the Cheval Blanc hotel project is the union—not the residents, and that the No campaign is being funded entirely by the union. It is common knowledge that Residents Against Overdevelopment is a grassroots group of residents who have their own No campaign; our group has sent out a number of fliers and mass e-mails to voters; we are self-funded; and unlike Cheval Blanc’s campaign workers and all of its high-paid lobbyists, we are not being paid.
3. The fliers falsely claim that the hotel project will generate $1B in income over 30 years. Apparently, Sunny Sassoon does not think residents are smart enough to realize that he has upped Cheval Blanc’s pie-in-the-sky $778M income claim by another $222M!
4. The fliers claim that there are 6 buildings over 8 stories from Beverly Drive to Wilshire Boulevard. Two tall buildings at Wilshire and N. Beverly are on Wilshire, a large street, and are not in the village. The only other tall building on N. Beverly Drive is the Bank of America Building at Little Santa Monica. But unlike the proposed Cheval Blanc Hotel project, it is set back from N. Beverly Drive by about 40’.
5. Cheval Blanc’s model of itself and nearby buildings cannot be authenticated at this late date, but we notice that the coloring of the top of the hotel project has been changed to a light blue color to make it look like it is not part of the massive hotel project.
6. The fliers also dare to compare the monstrous Cheval Blanc project to the incomparable lovely code-compliant Peninsula Hotel, as well as to the Beverly Wilshire which is on Wilshire Boulevard and not in the village.
Unfortunately, our City Attorney’s inadequate remedy for this widespread fraud on residents is to require Sassoon to send a Courier e-mail blast on Monday, May 22, 2023, the day before the election, to include proper source disclosures with his flier. Nevermind that Sassoon had these fliers hand-delivered all of over the city for the last two weeks, and could have been required to have the proper disclosures hand-delivered as well, days ago before more residents voted.
In any event, we hope that our residents are smart enough to see what has happened here, and that they will vote accordingly, No on B & C.