Los Angeles Business Journal

Golf-Ball Blocker Fence Too High?

By Howard Fine Friday, March 7, 2014

A 166-foot-high fence to keep errant golf balls from flying off a golf course is at the center of a spat between the famed Los Angeles Country Club and developers looking to build two luxury condo towers on the old Robinsons-May site next door in Beverly Hills.

The country club operates the 103-year-old golf course straddling Wilshire Boulevard just west of Beverly Hills. It wants to build the 800-foot-long mesh fence – with palm fronds on top – near the 16th hole of the south course to keep wayward balls from hitting the luxury condos, thereby shielding itself from potential costly lawsuits.

But the condo development company, BH Wilshire International of Coral Gables, Fla., says the fence – about as tall as a midrise office tower – is way too high and will block the view for prospective condo owners, making the residences harder to sell. The fence would be more than five times the 30-foot height allowed under the city of L.A.’s zoning code.

Late last year, after two city of L.A. planning bodies approved a variance to allow the super-tall fence, BH Wilshire filed an appeal to block its construction, calling the fence a last-ditch attempt by the country club to kill the condo project. BH Wilshire is forging ahead with plans to build two towers of 14 to 16 stories containing 235 luxury condos and 16,400 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space on the 8-acre former Robinsons-May site.

The dispute is set to land before a Los Angeles City Council committee next month – unless the two sides can hammer out an agreement first.

Read the rest of the story in the March 10 edition of the Business Journal.