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VALLEY FOCUS | North Hollywood

Fair Compensation Urged From MTA

September 30, 1998|MICHAEL BAKER

If the MTA wants additional city funding to complete its North Hollywood subway project, it must come up with fair compensation for business owners hurt by the periodic closure of Lankershim Boulevard, City Council Transportation Committee members said Tuesday.

At the urging of the committee, Metropolitan Transportation Authority head Julian Burke agreed to meet with the city's chief legislative analyst to come up with a "reasonable and significant" compensation plan.

The MTA has set aside $150,000 to assist Lankershim Boulevard businesses affected by the six consecutive weekend closures that began Sept. 18.

But Transportation Committee Chairman Richard Alarcon and committee member Joel Wachs say $150,000 is inadequate compared with the $16.7 million Hollywood business owners received during a similar subway project.

"Is North Hollywood less significant from an economic perspective?" Alarcon asked. "These are exactly the kind of issues that make our community feel like they're treated as less than the other side of the hill."

But Burke said, "I really think our financial situation is such that we cannot come up with anything like the kind of money spent for Hollywood Boulevard."

Alarcon and Wachs said there must be a compensation plan before the MTA receives money from a $200-million fund for construction of three subway extensions. The availability of the $200 million became renegotiable when the MTA suspended the Mid-City and Eastside expansions.

As part of the negotiations, Burke said the MTA plans to ask for about $37 million from the fund to complete the North Hollywood Metro Red Line.

The committee wants Burke to report back in two weeks with a plan for $2 million to $3 million in compensation that must come from the $37 million.

"The closure has happened twice and I haven't been receiving any mitigation," said Brian Sheehan, owner of the Eclectic Cafe on Lankershim Boulevard. "We need to make up for the past two weeks . . . and we need to go way beyond just the next four weeks."

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