The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday attempted to block a developer's proposed luxury hotel in Benedict Canyon, despite opposition from environmental groups and the city councilman representing the mountain district.
By a vote of 8 to 6, the council supported Councilor Katy Yaroslavsky's motion and called on the city's director of planning to step in and consider canceling the proposed Bulgari Resort Los Angeles.
Developer Gary Safady's proposed 58-room hotel is already undergoing the city's environmental assessment process, having cleared an initial urban planning hurdle a few years ago. However, the resort has not been approved by City Council and will need a further vote once the environmental review is complete.
Yaroslavsky argues that the hotel is unsuitable for the Santa Monica Mountains, especially given the growing threat of mountain fires. She has spent the last few months preventing the project from proceeding during the review phase.
“The last thing we should do is build a hotel in the middle of a high fire hazard zone,” Yaroslavski said. “Put simply, it's the wrong project in the wrong place and it shouldn't have gotten to this point in the first place.”
Wednesday's city council decision doesn't stop development, but asks city planning director Vince Bertoni to step in and reverse the initiation of a change to the master plan.
Shortly after Wednesday's vote, the Planning Department said in a statement it would “carefully consider” the Council's request.
“The department will review a number of factors, including those identified in the City Council motion and during City Council deliberations, and make a decision,” the statement said.
Yaroslavski brought her motion to the council earlier this spring, but her peers were deadlocked, requiring another vote. Some members had expressed concerns about intervening during the environmental assessment of a project.
Councilor Traci Park, who represents the Westside, voted in favor of the motion on Wednesday after voting against it in May.
Park told the city council that she spoke to “constituency from across the hill, including many in my own county — residents who care deeply about our natural resources and who are concerned about the precedent this project will set.” creates the health of our Santa Monica Mountains.”
Safady, the developer of the proposed resort, and dozens of construction workers who came to Wednesday's rally to support the project, gathered outside the council chambers after the vote. Safady said the fight was not over and “now the matter is in the mayor's office.”
Learn all about LA politics
Sign up for our LA City Hall newsletter for weekly insights, news and analysis.
From time to time, you may receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Anne-Marie Otey, communications and editorial director for the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, also spoke to workers and urged them to reach out to council members, including Councilman Tim McOsker.
She told workers that McOsker, a port council member who won last year's election, “should be one of us.”
“We expect him to continue to be a supporter of organized labor,” Otey told the Times in a brief interview. “We actively supported him in his efforts to be elected.”
A representative for Mayor Karen Bass' office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Bass rejected the proposed resort during last year's election campaign, as did Yaroslavski.