In an effort to reduce political turmoil over commercial and residential development in the city of Beverly Hills, newly selected Mayor Edward I. Brown has called for changes in the city's General Plan to reflect a greater "consensus of the citizens' views."
Brown proposed the change in his inaugural address Tuesday night after the council's vote to appoint him mayor, replacing Annabelle Heiferman, whose one-year term expired. Charlotte Spadaro was named vice mayor.
Before listing his priorities for the coming year, Brown said the council was "deeply concerned over the fact that in the past few years almost every development-related issue has found its way to the City Council where it has become one more in a series of polarizing issues.
'Two Recurring Themes'
"There seems to be in this turmoil two recurring themes. First, our present General Plan which was formulated some 10 years ago and the ordinances which we have adopted to back up this plan do not seem to be working, and second, the community continues to demonstrate an ongoing, passionate, deep concern and involvement in the type of city we will leave our children."
In Beverly Hills, the mayor fills a largely ceremonial position, representing the city at important functions and chairing council meetings.
Last year, Heiferman began her year as mayor with a call for a referendum to settle the longstanding dispute over the development of hotels in the city's business district. The November referendum--the most expensive in the city's history--divided the city over the issue of development and was overwhelmingly defeated.
Brown supported the decision to build hotels but opposed the use of a referendum to decide the matter. He said Tuesday that "what is needed is a readjustment of the General Plan which reflects a consensus of our citizens' " viewpoints.
The city's General Plan sets goals, objectives and policies in such areas as housing and commercial development, traffic circulation, noise and seismic safety, and the acquisition of park lands.
Brown's proposal called for the immediate formation of neighborhood committees to determine what they consider a "livable solution" for their areas. Each committee, he said, would be made up of residents, businessmen and developers. A central committee would mediate conflicts.
Reaction to Brown's announcement was favorable. Councilman Benjamin Stansbury called it "the year of the plan."
'Times Have Changed'
"Timely adjustments are appropriate," Stansbury said. "Times have changed, tax laws have changed, all sorts of laws have changed and people change. For example, 10 years ago the hottest thing to build was a condo. Now they are not selling."
"He is looking for a consensus, not a battle," City Planning Director Irwin Kaplan said. "I think that is a very courageous thing to do."
Even longtime development critic Betty Harris said that "some revision of the plan was in order," but she disagreed with Brown's plan to use neighborhood committees. She said what happens in one part of town effects the entire community. "If not, why don't we have council members representing each area of the city?" she asked.
In addition to his call for a revision of the General Plan, Brown said he wanted to see financial studies on the impact of future development on the city and asked for greater financial support for police programs, parks and street beautification. Brown, who has served on the council since 1978, was first selected to be mayor in 1980-81. There have been 31 mayors in the city's history.