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SYLMAR : Equestrians, Builder Forge Compromise

East Valley Focus

January 11, 1994|GEOFFREY MOHAN

Residents angered over two proposals to convert equestrian land to housing complexes have reached tentative accords with a Bel-Air developer.

The developer, Mark Armbruster, would be able to construct 67 attached homes on Foothill Boulevard near Glenoaks Boulevard, and 33 single-family homes on Dronfield Avenue if the agreements hold, according to both sides.

Equestrians had vehemently opposed both developments in earlier forms, but after a series of meetings both sides have given ground.

Armbruster has cut the number of homes in both projects, restricted some heights and made other changes to allay fears that dense residential complexes will damage the area's suburban, equestrian appeal.

"I think if he does what he says he will, it will turn out OK," said Harley Booten, whose horse-boarding facility abuts Armbruster's Dronfield Avenue proposal.

Armbruster said he has compromised as much as he can. "I've been working on proposals for people for a long time," he said. "I'm not happy in a firestorm. I'm much happier when we can reach a compromise."

The Dronfield project would have comprised 36 multistory units on small lots, a much denser zoning than the existing regulations, which also permit horse facilities. Although he still needs the same zoning change, Armbruster said he will cut out three units, add a horse trail as a buffer, and construct a common horse stable for the complex. The project fronts on Dronfield Avenue between Taylor and Bledsoe streets.

For the Foothill Boulevard project, Armbruster reduced the height to calm fears that the homes would tower over neighboring houses and infringe on residents' privacy. As a result, Armbruster cut the number of housing units from 86 to 67. The project would be built on the former site of Cacho's Nursery.

The city Planning Commission will weigh the revised Foothill Boulevard proposal at its Jan. 27 meeting in the Sherman Oaks Woman's Club and has tentatively slated the Dronfield Avenue project for a February meeting.

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