When it comes to the Westside subway, the city of Beverly Hills may officially be playing hard ball in the very near future.

According to The Beverly Hills Courier, the Beverly Hills City Council may call a public hearing to examine the proposed Westside subway route, which could delay the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's possible plans to finalize that route at a April 26 board meeting.

The newspaper reports that the City Council may invoke an obscure state law that allows such a last-minute move to take place. The bad blood between Metro and Beverly Hills has been playing out for over a year.

The heated controversy centers around the Beverly Hills High School campus. Metro has proposed tunneling underneath that property so the agency can place a subway station at Constellation Boulevard in Century City.

Beverly Hills Unified School District officials, though, want to do a multi-million-dollar renovation of the high school campus, and a subway tunnel could make that very difficult, if not impossible.

The newest development could be just one of a number of delay strategies that Beverly Hills officials may employ in the coming months. The city could also challenge Metro's environmental impact report for the Westside subway through a lawsuit.

The subway is already expected to cost at least $5 billion to build. Lengthy delays and attorneys' fees will only add to the project's enormous budget.

Beverly Hills officials may be taking a page from the playbook of the late Jerry Schniederman, a Hollywood developer who drove Metro officials crazy in the 1990s when he fought the construction of the Red Line with various delay tactics and legal maneuvers.

“You can never stop a government public works project entirely,” Schneiderman told L.A. Weekly last summer. But, “You can starve it.”

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly