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Gates: Brentwood Plan Has Precedent in Whitley Heights

June 15, 1995

Mary Moore's article on the City Council's vote allowing Brentwood Circle residents to gate their community (Westside, June 4) struck several notes with this Whitley Heights resident. Most of them sour.

Whitley Heights residents contributed and lost more than $300,000 after obtaining unanimous approval from the City Council to gate our community. That approval came after years of struggle to obtain city permits, and after the actual construction of the gates, but all these elements were overridden by a Vehicle Code Section legal challenge. Watch out Brentwood Circle!

The similarities between the Brentwood Circle and Whitley Heights cases are significant. Neithercommunity was enclosed or gated when they were originally built. Neither has through streets and both are essentially landlocked communities.

A few differences are also significant. Whitley Heights residents put up the entire cost of fencing, gating, operation and maintenance. Brentwood Circle will receive monies from the Getty Center to help pay for the gates and other expenses.

The reason for Brentwood Circle's gate is to discourage visitors from using the neighborhood as a shortcut to Getty Center (streets are not through to Getty Center anyway). The Whitley Heights project was proposed to preserve and make secure one of the last extant examples of "old" Hollywood. (Whitley Heights has been declared a historic district by federal, state and local jurisdictions for its architectural, planning and historical significance.)

The agreement between the city and Whitley Heights stated that if the city would bring Whitley Heights streets up to first-class condition, Whitley Heights would agree to maintain them. (It should be noted that present Whitley Heights streets are in deplorable condition--with or without gates. They are a disgrace and have been without adequate maintenance since their construction in the early 1920s. Whitley Heights streets have not benefited from the $18.5-billion bond and tax measures for streets and transportation passed in 1990.)

In my view, citizens willing to preserve and protect their own neighborhoods at their own expense should be supported and encouraged. Opposition by politicians or uptight neighbors on philosophical grounds should be rejected for what it is: crass criticism without a practical better way.

Bill Krisel, former president of the Brentwood Homeowners Assn., referring to the Brentwood Circle gating project, was quoted as saying: "I think it's OK as long as the city says it's legal."

We thought so too. Good luck, Brentwood Circle!



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