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Developer-Homeowner Pact Hailed as a Precedent

December 18, 1986|KENNETH J. FANUCCHI | Times Staff Writer

In an unusual agreement with a developer, three Hollywood homeowner associations will assume control over a grocery and retail project, including approval of management and building design.

Homeover representatives and the developer said the pact set a precedent because the homeowners have such a strong voice in the planning of the shopping center--a grocery and five stores at the northeast corner of Franklin and Highland avenues.

In return for their approval, the Hollywood Heights, Whitley Heights and Outpost Drive associations will have a say in the selection of the market's management for 10 years and all restaurant management at the center for five years. The groups also will approve the development's design.

The developer, Maurice Refoua, also has agreed to restrict the types of businesses, prohibiting such things as adult book stores and motels. He said he will try to accommodate neighborhood wishes for a delicatessen, flower shop and bakery.

Mark Brown of Engineering Technology Inc., a Sherman Oaks planning group representing the developer, said the agreement surpasses anything his firm has done in terms of homeowner involvement. ETI represents a number of developers seeking approval for Southern California projects.

Brown said that most projects are drawn up solely by the developer and risk residents' wrath when the plans are presented for government approval.

In this case, Brown said, city Councilman Michael Woo suggested that ETI and the developer meet with the homeowner groups to reach agreement on the type of development at the Franklin and Highland site, where a Hughes Market was located until it closed a few months ago.

A 'Positive Experience'

"We have been negotiating with the associations for more than a year," Brown said, "and the end result is a plan that satisfies both our needs and the desires of homeowners. It has been a positive experience, as opposed to the negative conflict generated by the usual way of doing business."

Robert Higgins, president of the Whitley Heights Assn., said the homeowners were unanimous in their desire that the project include a market to replace the Hughes store, and that the center not become another "mini-mall."

"I mean, how many Pollo Locos do we need in Hollywood?" Higgins said. "We have seen too many mini-malls developed in the community, with liquor stores and other types of businesses that cater to undesirable elements who spill over into peaceful neighborhoods.

"Our goal was to impress on the developer we wanted to protect our way of life and would welcome the kinds of businesses that serve and reflect well on the surrounding neighborhoods. We believe we have achieved that in this development."

Elliot Johnson, president of the Hollywood Heights Assn., said the agreement represents a new way to deal with Hollywood development. He noted that his group had worked earlier with Melvin Simon Associates on modifications its $150-million Hollywood Center development at Highland and Hollywood boulevards. "We are at a crossroads in Hollywood," he said, "and are very concerned about development in the community. This is an excellent example of the community, the City Council office and the developer working together to achieve a plan."

In a release, Councilman Woo urged that the latest agreement be a model for planning disputes throughout the city.

"Homeowner associations can take an active stand, negotiate with the developers and create a plan that will benefit the entire community," Woo said, adding that the plan also resulted from the efforts of a "cooperative developer like Maurice Refoua."

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