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Low-Income Housing : Council Rejects Effort to Overturn Evictions

September 21, 1989|SANTIAGO O'DONNELL | Times Staff Writer

The Glendale City Council on Tuesday rejected an attempt to overturn a zoning decision that upheld the eviction of 80 mostly senior citizens from a low-income apartment complex.

The owner of the complex, the local Mormon Church, received a city permit in June to tear down part of the Village Court apartment complex, which is next to the church in the 1100 block of North Central Avenue, to make room for a parking structure.

By a 3-2 vote, the council turned down a request to hear an appeal of a Board of Zoning Appeals decision. Council members Ginger Bremberg, Dick Jutras and Carl Raggio sided with the church, and Mayor Jerold Milner and Councilman Larry Zarian voted to hear the case.

In introducing the tenants' request, City Planning Director John McKenna recommended that the council not hear the case.

"While I sympathize with the tenants' position, I can't find any new evidence that would merit a review of the decision rendered by the zoning administrator and the Board of Zoning Appeals," he said.

Tenants' Inexperience

After the meeting, Zarian said he was surprised by his colleagues' unwillingness to hear the case. "A lot of the tenants don't have much experience in dealing with the City Council. They are angry, they are frustrated, and they wanted their day in court. I thought the least we should do was hear them out."

On the other hand, Bremberg said: "This case has already been tried in the newspapers," a reference to the public attention that the evictions received. "If they want to have their dog and pony show, let them take us to court."

Attorney Tony Rodriguez, who represented the three tenants who sought the hearing, said he did not know whether his clients would challenge the city decision in court.

Rodriguez had filed suit against the city in July to overturn the evictions, claiming that the city violated its written housing policies by allowing the depletion of affordable housing stock. The suit was subsequently dropped pending the outcome of the appeals process.

As she walked out of the council chambers after the meeting, Village Court resident Juanita Fernandez, a senior citizen on a fixed income and one of the appellants, cried out in frustration: "They're trying to boot me out faster than I can physically move!"

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