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NORTH UNIVERSITY PARK : A Frosty Welcome for New Neighbor

July 04, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

A new neighbor dropped in on the 1900 block of Bonsallo Avenue, just north of USC, but not all the neighbors are ready to roll out the welcome wagon.

The new neighbor is a two-story, white-stucco apartment building, relocated from another site in the city to the once-vacant lot at 1965 Bonsallo Ave.

One neighbor, who asked that her name not be used, called the building "a cheap stucco box" and said she was "very unhappy" about having it down the street.

Because Bonsallo Avenue is in the Community Redevelopment Agency's Adams-Normandie project area, the agency's approval of the relocation permit was required. The agency's planning staff reviewed the project and signed off on it.

But the building's June 25 relocation surprised the Adams-Normandie Project Area Committee, a citizens advisory group, because it was not aware of the project and because the building does not appear to meet design guidelines, said Jean Frost, a member of the advisory group.

"I was floored," Frost said. "That building doesn't belong there. The guidelines were intended to prevent this." Frost said the four-unit, building appears to violate the guidelines in a number of aspects, including its height, roof shape, coverage of the lot and setback.

The redevelopment agency and the citizens advisory group have prepared guidelines that the agency's planners are to consult when considering whether a building fits in with the neighborhood's character. Although a mixture of architectural styles exist on Bonsallo Avenue, many of the homes on the street and in the neighborhood are Victorian and Craftsman style structures.

Last week, Edward O. Saulet, manager of the redevelopment agency's Adams-Normandie project area, requested a stop-work order from the Building and Safety Department to give the agency time to review the project with the developer and the advisory group. Saulet said the developer has proposed modifications and alterations that should bring it into conformance. These plans will be made available to the community for review, he said.

The project's developer could not be reached for comment.

The community review session has not yet been scheduled, but Frost expects a lively discussion: "Saying (the building) is there and we'll just have to make it look nice isn't enough. In an area where you have the biggest investment of your life--your home--you take these things very seriously."

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