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Project for Seniors' Housing Opposed for High Costs, Traffic

November 08, 1994

If the buildings at Ventura Boulevard and Woodman Avenue are in "advanced disrepair. . . a present mess," as you say in your editorial of Oct. 9, then why haven't the city officials used their authority to force the owners to simply clean up their property?

If only an "extra five feet" is not much, then why not simply reduce the height to conform to the Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan?

If the project is "opposed by some of its neighbors," then why have thousands of neighbors signed petitions against this project?

The questions you should be asking are:

Why does Councilman Yaroslavsky support the project when so many object?

What guarantee will the city (taxpayers) have that enough profit can made to pay back the loan after the landowner and developer walk away with their fat profits?

GEORGE WEISENFELD

Sherman Oaks

* Ventura Boulevard is not an appropriate site for senior citizen housing, particularly when that housing consists of a one-bedroom unit totaling 600 square feet. How depressing to be exiled to a sardine can in our old age. Many seniors require live-in health care assistance, and the proposed project does not have space to accommodate these needs.

There is too much traffic on Ventura Boulevard for seniors to walk safely. My parents, who live in the area, recently saw an elderly man cross the boulevard mid-block, oblivious to oncoming traffic. Ventura Boulevard is the alternative highway when the freeway is busy.

There is no affordable market within walking distance of this project. The "market" noted on the plan map is an expensive convenience store with limited choice of products, not a place where low-income seniors can shop.

Thanks to the earthquake, there are many existing apartment buildings on side streets in Sherman Oaks and other areas. Many of these remain uninhabitable because the owners have been financially unable to rebuild or repair. It would cost far less to loan these owners money to repair units on the condition that the building be used for low-income senior citizens. Instead, our City Council is prepared not only to finance the construction of a new building, but also to finance the acquisition of the site, which is not owned by the prospective developer. Why?

The project involves costs not disclosed in the proposal. For example, the city will widen the southwest corner of Woodman Avenue at Ventura Boulevard by up to eight feet. There is an existing business on that corner, and the property will have to be acquired by eminent domain. You and I will pay for this property.

There is no question but that the property needs to be developed, but senior housing is not the answer.

JACQUELINE M. SCHECK

Los Angeles

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