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Bernson Seeks to Tax Builders for Trolley Extension

November 06, 1986|RICHARD SIMON | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson Wednesday sought to get a proposed trolley line extended to his northwest San Fernando Valley district by requiring developers of large commercial and industrial projects in Chatsworth to pay for it and other traffic improvements.

His motion, introduced in the council, also calls for a city review of the effect on transportation of all future commercial and industrial projects in an area bounded by Rinaldi Street on the north, Zelzah Avenue on the east, Roscoe Boulevard on the south and Topanga Canyon Boulevard on the west.

Bernson's proposal was sent to the council's Planning and Environment, and Transportation and Traffic committees for study.

The Los Angeles County Transportation Commission is studying the possibility of putting a trolley line between Warner Center and North Hollywood, and possibly into Universal City, in lieu of building the Valley part of Metro Rail.

Expanded Study

The council's Transportation and Traffic Committee, at Bernson's urging, has recommended that the city provide $54,000 to expand the commission study to include an extension of the trolley from Warner Center north to Canoga Avenue and Plummer Street in Chatsworth.

The commission proposes to pay for a trolley between Warner Center and Universal City from a half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 1980. Bernson's proposal would provide additional funds, which the commission says it lacks, to extend the trolley into Chatsworth.

Bernson said in an interview that his proposal is intended to head off parking and traffic problems in a rapidly growing area of his district until city planners can complete work on a revised development plan for the area. He said the development plan for the area should tie development to traffic improvements.

Fees for Improvements

His proposal calls for developers to pay unspecified fees for traffic improvements. The motion also asks the city Department of Transportation to prepare a list of proposed traffic improvements for the area.

The proposal is similar to a program now in use in the Los Angeles Airport area and in Warner Center. It is being considered for implementation on traffic-clogged Ventura Boulevard, where developers would have to pay for such traffic-easing steps as shuttle buses and street widenings. Fees are based on the number of trips their businesses generate.

Critics of the fees, including homeowner groups in other parts of the city where such programs are in use or proposed for use, call them an end run to permit more development than otherwise would be allowed. They instead advocate greater restrictions on building.

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