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Stadium Idea Disturbs West Los Angeles : Football: Residents voice early opposition to plan for using Veterans Administration property as home for NFL, UCLA.

November 01, 1995|MARYANN HUDSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A proposal to build a football stadium in West Los Angeles for an NFL team, and possibly UCLA, has caused concern among Westside groups, although the unrest appears to be premature.

The proposal, which was discussed with the NFL by a group of investors in Southern California, calls for a stadium to be built in Brentwood on federal property owned by the Veterans Administration. The area is north of Wilshire Boulevard and West of Sepulveda on the west side of the San Diego freeway, across from the VA's Los Angeles National Cemetery.

"There is a group that is looking at that site, among others, " said Stephen Moses, a UCLA donor and real estate developer in Century City who is informally involved in the group.

"The knee-jerk reaction from people living in that area is that they don't want a stadium there, but the area is a drop down from the roadway and there would be no residences within thousands of feet. There is also an intersection there that handles thousands of cars weekdays that could handle the traffic on weekends."

The stadium is among several proposed to the NFL, which would like to have a professional team in Los Angeles. The leading candidate to build a stadium appears to be Dodger owner Peter O'Malley, who is having plans drawn for a site at Dodger Stadium.

But Moses says the Brentwood plan is in its infancy, and believes he unknowingly caused opposition among Westside groups by talking about it with too many people, including a local official.

Veterans Park--a nonprofit group that protects the open space of the VA grounds--sent out a mailing to surrounding homeowners last week, asking each residence to donate $100 to fight the stadium proposal. Veterans Park wants to use 40 acres of the same area to expand the cemetery, which has been full for 15 years.

"I think it is definitely the wrong place for a stadium because it is in such a concentrated residential area," said Sandy Brown, president of Holmby Westwood Property Owners Assn.

"You are talking about the VA property, which is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Then put a 65,000-seat stadium there and the traffic it brings to the area, which already brings in 139,000 cars daily to UCLA. Plus, this is federal property. Taxes do not go to the city or the county and it is not required to fulfill any zoning laws."

Getting Congressional approval for commercial use of the land would be difficult without the support of area residents, according to a White House official, who said that neither the administration nor the VA had been contacted. The Veterans Park group had heard that stadium proponents had gone directly to the White House to try to circumvent Congress.

"There is no way in the world federal land can be used for a stadium without the complete support of the community," the official said. "It is inconceivable that anything like this would begin to be discussed unless the neighborhood was behind it."

A UCLA spokesman said school representatives had not met with this stadium group, but said the school would listen to those willing to build a state-of-the-art stadium.

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