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Valley Focus | Canoga Park

New Lights Proposed Along Sherman Way

January 08, 1998|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

In an ongoing effort to create a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere in "downtown" Canoga Park, some property owners on Sherman Way will be asked to pay into a lighting district to maintain new street lights along the thoroughfare.

As part of the revitalization project--with the Madrid Theater, which is under construction, as the main element--the city would install street lights designed to better illuminate the sidewalks.

Although the city would install the lights, it would rely on area property owners to pay the maintenance and electric bill, city officials said.

Affected property owners between Jordan and Canoga avenues would be required to pay $1 per square foot of land owned per year to keep the lights operating. The lights would be installed low on the existing light poles, and face into the businesses rather than onto the streets.

The city expects to send out ballots to property owners within two weeks and will require them back by March 11.

If a majority of the ballots returned are positive, the City Council will install the lights and implement the tax. If not, the project dies. The weight of each vote will depend on the amount of property a landowner has, city officials said.

The council will hold two public hearings on the matter, on Feb. 27 and March 11, before making a final decision.

Community leaders said there are mixed opinions on the matter among local property owners, but most were optimistic that the assessment will be approved.

"Some are looking at it as necessary to beautify the area," said Ronald Clary, president of the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber of Commerce. "But, of course, you always have the independent-minded merchants who like things the way they are and don't want to pay any more."

However, he added, many of the complaints about the area have been the poor lighting along the street at night, which the plan would help rectify.

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