There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the now infamous Fujita building on Ventura Boulevard and the proposed destruction of nine homes in Encino to make way for a parking lot to serve Valley Beth Shalom temple. Perhaps readers would like to know why Homeowners of Encino opposes destroying these homes in order to build a parking lot.
Members of our association went door to door at least a year before the Boys Market was torn down and approached the nine homeowners on the south side of Moorpark behind what would later become the Fujita building. We asked their support to try to stop the project, specifically by supporting our efforts for a moratorium on construction. Not one of the owners of the nine homes sought to actively fight the project before it was built.
The record should show that the homeowners on the south side of the street received approximately $12,000 each from the developer for permission to swing the overhead crane over their homes during construction.
Members of Homeowners of Encino have been disappointed that VBS employed Phil Krakover, one of the city's most high-powered lobbyists, to help them cut the deal for the parking lot, rather than opting to approach the community before the fact.
There has been a great deal of opposition to the construction of a parking lot by the people who would have to live across the street from it. Our association supports those homeowners who wish to maintain the livability of their homes on the north side of Moorpark. These homeowners tell us that their situation would be intolerable if they were forced to live across the street from a 288-space parking lot.
Readers should also know that the temple has appealed the decision of the zoning administrator, even though they won, because they were dissatisfied with the fact that the parking lot would have to close down at 10 p.m. and would require the presence of an attendant at all times when the parking lot was in operation.
The temple has also indicated to our association that they could not make any long-term commitments in writing regarding the future use of the proposed parking lot. This has raised many concerns among members of Homeowners of Encino.
For those who may not be aware of it, Homeowners of Encino was the first organization to actively campaign for a moratorium on construction in the Valley. We actively support the Braude/Yaroslavsky initiative that would cut in half commercial density citywide. This important planning tool would assure that no future Fujitas would be built in our city.
The temple is a valuable asset to this community and we regret that we must oppose it in this matter. However, we are concerned about the precedent that a parking lot on Moorpark Street would set and the harm it would do to the greater community. We hope our many friends and neighbors who belong to the temple will recognize that we are fighting for the habitability of all of the residents of Encino and will join us in our fight to keep what is left of Encino out of the hands of developers.
GERALD A. SILVER
Silver is president of Homeowners of Encino.