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Buckley School Expansion

August 23, 1998

The article by Megan Garvey in The Times on Aug. 14 ("Canyon Uproar") trivializes the extent of opposition that exists in Sherman Oaks to the planned expansion of Buckley School.

The committee of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. is circulating a petition to obtain signatures of those homeowners in the community who oppose the proposed expansion. Except for parents whose children are attending or have attended Buckley School, there has been almost unanimous support for the petition by the neighborhood. This includes the residents on Stansbury Avenue, Valley Vista Boulevard, Camino de la Cumbre, Coy Drive and Beverly Ridge Drive.

HENRY LIPSON, Sherman Oaks

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Re "Canyon Uproar," Aug. 14. Approximately seven years ago, when my family moved to Sherman Oaks, two things happened.

We joined a well-known homeowners group, the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., or SOHA, and we enrolled our sons in a top-rated school, Buckley. My sons have received an outstanding education while I have learned many lessons about the conditional-use process described in Megan Garvey's article. I have met some terrific people from Buckley as well as from the surrounding neighborhood but have been very disappointed in the role SOHA has taken between the two groups.

Ms. Garvey stated SOHA in January sent a letter to the city Planning Commission opposing any request by the school to change its conditional-use permit.

This letter was sent without a vote taken by the membership of SOHA and was written by a committee that by design excludes any SOHA members who have children at the school. Mr. Close, president of SOHA, has said that no Buckley parents can be on this committee because it would be a conflict of interests. Some of those on the SOHA committee live across the street or around the block from those who are not allowed to participate.

The quality-of-life issues at stake affect all equally with one exception: Those Sherman Oaks residents who send their children to Buckley want to improve their children's school.

Who would ever have thought someone would be denied a voice in their own homeowners association for such a thing? SOHA should be a part of the solution here and not so intent on giving only part of its membership a platform.

MARK L. TAYLOR, Sherman Oaks

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Expansion of the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks should be a subject for honest debate. But don't expect a fair hearing at the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. Persons disagreeing with SOHA's anti-Buckley posture aren't allowed to voice their opinions.

Indeed, SOHA members with children at the school are automatically excluded from the committee studying the issue.

The result is a torrent of blather from cranky empty-nesters who readily tolerate leaf blowers but regard the laughter of children as a noisy intrusion.

DAVID DeVOSS, Sherman Oaks

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