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City Will Acquire Land for Studio City Fire Station

October 01, 2003|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council decided Tuesday to use its powers of eminent domain to acquire one acre of the 17.2-acre Studio City Golf and Tennis Center for a new fire station, despite objections from a firm planning a senior housing project elsewhere on the property.

The housing project has been submitted to the city Planning Department for approval. But Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who represents the area, is pursuing the idea of having the city purchase the rest of the property and keep it as open space.

She said the fire station project is long overdue. Studio City fire crews have been working out of portable trailers and a metal shed since the 1994 Northridge earthquake badly damaged Fire Station 78.

"This is not adequate -- far from it -- to serve the community I represent," she said of the existing facility. "We need a first-class fire station."

An attorney for developer Homeplace Retirement Communities of America, which is in escrow to buy the property, sought unsuccessfully to delay the council vote until a noise and traffic study is completed.

Attorney Chris Funk also said the city might be able to get the parcel for the fire station free or at a discount if it waits and works out an agreement with the developer. Otherwise, the city may end up paying $1 million or more to buy the site using eminent domain powers, he said.

The developer plans to use four acres for the housing project and preserve the rest of the center property as open space.

But along with Greuel, other city officials have been resistant to any agreement that would allow the housing project. They favor maintaining the existing golf and tennis facilities.

"I will continue to do everything I can to save the Studio City Golf and Tennis Center," said Councilman Jack Weiss, whose district is nearby. "This is a jewel of open space."

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