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East Valley Focus

Merchants Say Street Work Hurts Business

August 24, 1993|SCOTT GLOVER

Several Studio City business owners have complained to City Councilman Joel Wachs that street improvements being made by the developer of a mini-mall at Laurel Canyon and Ventura Boulevard are hurting their businesses by blocking entry and displacing badly needed parking spaces.

"It's just killing me," said David Strand, owner of The Coffee Canteen cafe on nearby Ventura Place. Strand, who complained to Wachs' Planning Deputy Arline De Sanctis on behalf of several Ventura Place businesses, said business is down about 80% since the sidewalk in front of the building was removed last week to allowing widening of Laurel Canyon Boulevard.

"No one told us this was going to be happening until the week it started," Strand said, adding that if he were given notice, he could have warned customers and made the cafe's rear entrance more visible.

The construction follows months of pressure by a local residents association for the developer to make the improvements.

But Tony Lucente, president of the Studio City Residents Assn., said the developer was told to warn businesses of the improvements.

"There was supposed to be an effort made to inform the businesses in advance, and it wasn't done or done properly," Lucente said. "But I don't see how anybody couldn't have been aware of what was happening there."

Ira Handelman, a spokesman for the developer, said notice was given as quickly as details of the construction were known.

"We couldn't let people know a month in advance because we didn't know a month in advance," Handelman said. "As soon as we had the schedule we let people know."

With construction expected to continue for at least two months, Strand said he would like to be compensated by the city for lost business.

Strand believes that he has been "stabbed in the back" by bureaucrats. "I just can't believe it," he said.

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