Beverly Hills approves more areas for medical space

Beverly Hills approves more areas for medical space

A new Beverly Hills city ordinance will allow more public office space to be used for medical purposes, based on a pandemic-era emergency ordinance. (Aerial photography by Waldinger)

On September 20, the Beverly Hills City Council voted to adopt an ordinance allowing increased uses of medical offices in the city’s business districts.

The ordinance passed 4-1, with City Councilman John Merish voting against it.

The September 20 vote followed only one public comment, although Council members and members of the public spent most of the Council’s September 12 meetings discussing the matter.

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In November 2020, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city adopted an urgent ordinance to convert the existing commercial floor space to medical uses as a way to support struggling businesses and meet the growing demand for medical services.

The emergency law was later extended, and after a public hearing in July, the planning committee introduced the new law at a city council meeting on September 12.

According to the decree, “Proposed changes to medical use regulations in certain commercially designated areas will help promote an economically sustainable commercial district that contains a mix of uses and services, and contributes to the health and well-being of residents by providing community-served medical uses.”

In addition, “the proposed changes to medical use regulations will allow more easily the establishment of medical uses in various commercial areas of the city, providing greater commercial and investment opportunities for medical service providers and commercial property owners, and may help revitalize vacant or distressed commercial office spaces,” as It was stated in the decree.

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Under the new law, all buildings that received a city certificate of occupancy prior to February 11, 2011, are now considered registered medical buildings.

Registered medical buildings can convert up to 6,000 square feet of public office space into a medical floor area as long as they are located in designated commercial areas and receive residency from the Director of Community Development, among other conditions.

Also, buildings are prohibited from providing medical services on the ground floor or opening certain “specialty clinics”.

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But board member Lester Friedman said during the September 12 meeting that he was concerned about some of the conditions limiting the size of operating rooms.

Given the amount of medical space that has been added since the emergency decree came into effect in 2020, Merish said he was concerned that the new law could lead to an over-saturation of medical space in commercial areas, and suggested “sunset” to force the council to reconsider the issue In a few years.

“I think it will not be easier to rent a public office space in the future. I think having some of that space occupied by doctors at this point in time is the right thing to do,” Merish said. on her.”

A provision in the September 20 decree states that the new provisions will be reviewed approximately every three years.

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