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Dispute Forces 47 Horses at Atwater Stable to Be Moved

September 25, 1986|DENISE HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

A popular Atwater stable has been served with an eviction notice, forcing the removal of 47 horses and equipment to other stables nearby. Also evicted from the Los Feliz Stables on Rigali Avenue were two families who have worked and lived on the property for seven years.

The court-ordered action last week is the latest development in a long-simmering feud between Los Feliz Stables manager Jane Shaw, who, until Aug. 31, rented the land, and Park View Apartments, the property's owner.

Park View is a general partner with financially troubled Ashkenazy Enterprises, a large real estate company that owns a number of luxury hotels, including L'Ermitage in Beverly Hills. The company filed for protection from creditors under the U. S. Bankruptcy Code in February and its attorney, Dennis Weaver, said the company wants to sell the stable land.

Shaw and Park View filed suit against each other in Los Angeles Superior Court this summer, each accusing the other of breach of contract.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday October 2, 1986 Home Edition Glendale Part 9 Page 2 Column 1 Zones Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
An article on Sept. 25 about the closing of Los Feliz Stables incorrectly reported the first name of the attorney for Ashkenazy Enterprises. His name is Stephen Weaver.

Court documents show that, on March 31, Park View doubled the stable's rent to $5,000 a month. Shaw then began negotiations to purchase the two-acre site, and, in a lawsuit filed Sept. 11, claims that the two parties reached a sale price of $450,000. Park View later reneged on the agreement, her lawsuit alleges.

Park View's attorney said the two parties never agreed on a sales price. According to court documents, Park View terminated the lease and asked Shaw to vacate the stable by Aug. 31. When she failed to do so, the landlord obtained an eviction notice.

Shaw's attorney, Philip Raymond Homsey II, said Weaver's account of events was "not completely accurate" but declined further comment because of the pending lawsuit. Shaw was unavailable for comment, but indicated in court documents that she will fight to have the land returned to her because there is no other available property nearby for the stable.

The property at issue is a boarding and riding facility that dates back to 1920 and is near Griffith Park on the east bank of the Los Angeles River. The area is popular with equestrians because it is just a few minutes' ride, by way of a tunnel under the Golden State Freeway, to the nearly 60 miles of horse trails at Griffith Park.

About 50 years ago, more than 20 stables dotted the area. Eventually, most were replaced by housing or other buildings. With the closing of Los Feliz Stables on Wednesday, only six stables remain.

Boarders Taken by Surprise

This week, several patrons who boarded horses at the stable said they recalled talk two months ago about an impending eviction; last week's action nevertheless caught most of them by surprise, they said.

"I was very shocked," said Lisa Barsotti, who was forced to move her horse to The Paddock stable across the street. "It was handled very poorly."

Another former boarder, Shelley Hurle of the Hollywood Hills, said: "Nothing was told to us; nobody contacted us, not even one day's notice."

Patrons said they arrived at the stable last Wednesday morning to find the building padlocked and guarded by a security officer. Julie Bergman, Shaw's assistant, said horse owners were given 48 hours to relocate their animals.

Altogether, about 40 horses have been moved to neighboring stables. But boarders say they are more concerned about the fate of the two families who were uprooted from their homes in a trailer and a small apartment on the grounds. The families speak little English and have nowhere to go, Barsotti said.

For the last few nights, Barsotti and others have paid to lodge the families and their seven children at a Glendale motel on Colorado Boulevard, but they say this is only a stopgap measure.

Company Sought Zone Change

The dispute over the stable's future began last year when Park View Apartments applied for a zone change that would have allowed it to raze the stable and build about 80 condominiums on the site, which is zoned for light agricultural use. The company also built the 217-unit Los Feliz Village Apartments, which borders the Los Feliz Stables on the east.

Homeowners and equestrians bitterly opposed the zone change at several public hearings last fall, expressing concern that the project might set a precedent for commercial growth at sites of other stables.

Park View eventually withdrew its application, but Gary Nielson, Ashkenazy executive vice president, said in an interview last year that the $2,500 monthly rent he collected from Shaw barely allowed the company to break even on the property.

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