Members of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission went to church Wednesday, but not to pray.
The commissioners paid a quick visit to the former Valley Music Theatre in Woodland Hills, which is a Jehovah's Witness assembly hall. The panel inspected the facility in response to the wishes of homeowner activists who want the 25-year-old dome-shaped building preserved as a historical monument.
The homeowners' tactics resembled those of a group of Studio City homeowners who unsuccessfully tried last year to get the commission to declare a carwash at Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards a historical monument. In both cases, the homeowners' aim was to prevent large projects from replacing the buildings.
The Woodland Hills Homeowners Assn. fears that the former music theater, built as a showcase for Broadway-style musicals in 1964, will be torn down and replaced by apartments or condominiums. At least two development firms have shown interest in purchasing the property, according to the office of Councilman Marvin Braude, who represents the area. Commission President Amarjit S. Marwah, Vice President Takashi Shida and board member Reynaldo Landero were briefly escorted through the facility by church board member John Genovese and attorney Michael J. Kron, who represents the church. The commissioners asked several questions about the history of the facility and its present operations but did not closely inspect the building.