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East Valley Focus

STUDIO CITY : Neighbors Are Sour on Deli's Reopening

October 25, 1994|KAY HWANGBO and JON D. MARKMAN

Restaurant patrons cheered when the popular Art's Deli reopened last week, but neighbors angry about customers parking on their streets are withholding their applause.

Some residents of side streets near the Ventura Boulevard eatery objected to the city's granting of a variance that allowed the restaurant to provide six, rather than 65, parking spaces when it reopened.

It was the latest setback, residents said, in their ongoing struggle to get the city to institute permit parking on streets including Cantara and Hillslope streets and Laurelgrove and Vantage avenues.

Customers and employees alike park on residential streets, making it difficult for motorists backing out of their driveways to see oncoming traffic, neighbors said. In addition, they said they are disturbed by employees revving their car engines late at night.

"It's a beautiful street, a wonderful neighborhood--but we've got this one problem: We're being used as a parking lot, and it's just not fair," said Darlene Urwin, who lives on Cantara.

Tony Lucente, president of the Studio City Residents Assn., said residents have been trying to get permit parking for more than two years. They originally wanted to make it illegal for non-permit holders to park on their streets 24 hours a day. But the city Department of Transportation has proposed instead to allow two-hour parking between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., saying that people have a right to park on public streets, particularly those near a business district.

"We don't want to privatize city streets," said transportation engineer Rafael Prepena.

Prepena said it usually takes 18 to 24 months for residents in an area--which must include a minimum of six blocks--to get permit parking. He said his department's staff is handling three other areas slated to get permit parking before the Studio City neighborhood. A subcommittee will likely take up the issue in December, Prepena predicted, and about six weeks later the City Council will consider it.

Then it will take about three months to get the signs made and up to a month to erect them, the engineer said. Neighbors can expect to see them next April or May, Prepena said.

Harold Ginsburg, a co-owner of Art's Deli, said that he is sympathetic to the neighbors' concerns but knows of no other place where his customers and employees can park. He said he cannot afford to buy an alternative parking site.

"Where the fault lies is the city of Los Angeles," Ginsburg said. "It has refused to help us resolve the situation" by building a public parking structure "where we could put all of our employees."

As for employees revving their engines at odd hours, Ginsburg said he has "no knowledge of that being true."

"We feel we are very good neighbors, and very sensitive to everyone's needs," Ginsburg said.

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