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Canoga Pride : Homeowners, Smarting at West Hills' Breakaway, Make It a Contest to Spruce Up Their Yards Along With Their Image

September 04, 1987|PATRICIA KLEIN | Times Staff Writer

It isn't as prestigious as making the cover of Architectural Digest, but Tim Faulkner was pretty proud anyway Thursday as he displayed the first-place plaque his house won in the 1987 North Canoga Park Residents Assn. Home and Yard of the Year competition.

"It was the ugliest house on the street before," said Faulkner, 27, the day after his three-bedroom, teal-blue, fixer-upper on Blythe Street took the top award in the competition Wednesday night.

"God, it's great. To put all this work in and win the award, it's a really good feeling," said Faulkner, owner of an auto repair shop who bought the property last year as a first home.

Much maligned-Canoga Park has taken a verbal battering and lost nearly one-third of its territory to the upstart community of West Hills this year. But Canoga Park homeowners are fighting back with the contest, which they hope will become an annual event.

Doing Something Positive

"We got tired of seeing Canoga Park in a negative connotation, so we decided we would do something positive," said association president Bruce Miller, who came up with the home-judging idea to counteract negative publicity generated by the West Hills secession movement.

In an awards ceremony Wednesday night at a local real estate broker's office, City Councilwoman Joy Picus gave Faulkner and a dozen other homeowners brass plaques with pictures of their homes and certificates for flowers, shrubbery, dinners, photographs, shutters and other goods donated by local merchants.

Picus praised the association for its "pride in the community and spirit." Later, she quipped, "Nothing can generate pride in a community like 'My house is better than your house.' "

"We kind of got our heads together and said, we're depressed about all this negative publicity about Canoga Park," Miller said. "Why are we negative all the time? Let's show the positive side," said Miller.

The association formed an official Beautification Committee for North Canoga Park, circulated word about the beautiful-home competition and began taking nominations for the best home.

Six judges--including a representative from Picus' office, a realtor and a title company employee--graded homes on the basis of their lawns, flowers, shrubs, trees, concrete, masonry and general appearance of the fronts, Miller said.

The results of the judging were kept secret until Wednesday night's presentation.

Miller said the competition inspired some homeowners to work diligently to improve their properties.

"I don't care what we're called. We live in a damn nice neighborhood," he added.

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