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Houses Change but Neighbors Don't : Westdale: Remodeling and renovation is widespread in this community that has 3,500 homeowners and 500 are original owners.

June 17, 1990|JENNIFER W. LINDEN | Linden is a Los Angeles-based free-lance writer. and

Those residents who cannot attend earthquake meetings or any of the homeowners' gatherings, keep informed by the "Westdale Villager," the association's quarterly newsletter.

Other association activities include helping to enforce Westdale's strict codes, covenants and restrictions. Currently, the homeowners are petitioning to prevent apartment buildings on Sawtelle Boulevard from exceeding the 35-foot height limit.

Another hot issue among Westdale residents and their neighbors is noise generated by the Santa Monica Airport, about two miles away.

"For the last 15 years, area residents have complained of air traffic and how it interferes with their community," said Los Angeles City Councilman Marvin Braude, who represents the area.

Although talks with the Federal Aviation Administration have resulted in restrictions as to the types of aircraft allowed to land, Braude is not optimistic about any further relief. "There's no evidence that the government will change its posture," he said.

Besides uniting on political issues, Westdale residents also band together to promote safety on their streets.

Although a police car roams Westdale during its 24-hour route through all neighborhoods located west of the San Diego Freeway and south of the Santa Monica Freeway, the residents prefer exclusive scrutiny.

For this, they hire a security patrol service to canvass their streets for 17 hours each day and to be especially watchful of their homes when they're out of town.

Westdale residents are proud of the fact that crime on their streets is relatively low. Tony Davis, an officer with the Police Department's Pacific Division, said Westdale has much lower crime rate than neighboring communities.

"Incidents there are very few," he said. "Probably its most common crime is theft from vehicles."

Barbara Guberman grew up in Westdale and later returned to live there as an adult. She now finds herself being torn away from her hometown for a move to Napa Valley with her company.

Although Guberman expects to make a hefty profit on her home, she regrets having to uproot her family from the familiar community she calls "quiet, friendly and within 10 minutes of everything."

Newcomer Christine Beilinson understands Guberman's sadness over having to move. After just two years in Westdale, Beilinson says emphatically, "I'd like to build a second story on our home and live here forever."

Westdale AT A GLANCE Population

1990 estimate: 16,618

1980-90 change: 19.3%

Median age: 36.8 years

Annual income

Per capita: 20,393

Median household: 41,912

Household distribution

Less than $15,000: 11.9%

$15,000 - $30,000: 21.2%

$30,000 - $50,000: 28.6%

$50,000 - $75,000: 21.4%

$75,000 + 17%

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