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VALLEY FOCUS | Sherman Oaks

Neighbors to Fight Senior Housing Plan

July 24, 1998|MICHAEL BAKER

Shortly after city planning commissioners Thursday approved an 85-unit, low-cost senior housing facility for a site that is now a large hole in the ground, area residents promised to appeal the decision, and if that fails, to look into taking legal action to stop the project.

"We will most definitely be appealing to the City Council," said Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. "We will be considering legal action if the City Council doesn't reverse the decision and all administrative avenues are exhausted."

The complex would include 85 units and 85 parking spaces in a four-story building at 15126 Moorpark St. Added to the commission's 3-1 vote, which allowed an increase in density beyond city code standards, was the proviso that the developer return with detailed architectural plans to be approved by the board.

Without the change in density granted to the builder, the nonsectarian Menorah Housing Foundation, zoning regulations would have limited the project to 39 units.

The commission's decision pleased Councilman Mike Feuer, who worked with developers on the project after residents objected to an earlier proposal for 115 units and 72 parking spaces.

"It meets a critical need for affordable senior housing and would be less impacting on the surrounding neighborhood than other allowable projects would be," said Feuer, who represents the area on the council. "This project turns a derelict site into a project that would be beneficial for years."

A majority of the 75 people attending the hearing wore "no density increase" stickers and objected to the proposal, saying that it would increase traffic and parking problems and that the developer had not even submitted drawings of the complex.

"If the city really believes that a 175% density increase won't have a negative impact on our property values, then I would like a commitment to that effect in writing," said area resident Marcy Shaffer, who also said she was considering appealing the commission's decision.

"I totally support bringing affordable senior housing into our neighborhood," Shaffer said. "I think that's great, but I think they ought to plan for what the law allows and not burden everybody else in the neighborhood."

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