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In Westside Village, an attitude of quietude

NEIGHBORLY ADVICE

June 05, 2005|Helene Lesel | Special to The Times

The community has a kaleidoscope of housing styles, including original 1940s bungalows, a variety of multifamily dwellings and modern single-family architectural homes. Despite being just southeast of the intersection of the 10 and 405 freeways, Westside Village's tree-lined residential streets are quiet.

History

Originally part of Rancho La Ballona, the area that later became Westside Village was created in the early '40s by developer Fritz B. Burns. Known for his efficiently designed and planned housing developments, he included about 1,100 single-family houses on cozy curvilinear streets amid schools, parks, stores and places of worship.

The houses, with single-car garages, were crafted with affordability in mind. Averaging 900 square feet on lots of about 50-by-135 feet, the original homes sold for around $4,000.

To add some greenery, Burns bought out a local nursery, providing trees and shrubs at a discount -- from 25 to 50 cents each -- to homeowners. Today, huge trees tower over the area, which is bounded by National Boulevard to the north, Charnock Road to the south, Overland Avenue to the east and Sepulveda Boulevard to the west. Jacaranda and pine trees are especially prevalent.

Drawing cards

The neighborhood draws residents who work across the Southland. Schools and a public library are nearby. Within a mile are Palms Park, which offers classes and activities, and Mar Vista Recreational Center. Shopping along National includes a Trader Joe's.

The Palm-Westside Village Neighborhood Watch has regular meetings and keeps residents informed with online updates.

Insider's view

Longtime resident John C. Coccio gets a kick out of the area's street names, even if they are a bit confusing. "Queensland Avenue residents sometimes get mail for Kingsland Avenue neighbors," he said. "The two streets are just a block apart."

Good news, bad news

The construction of higher density housing is a boon to those seeking to get into the neighborhood. But for longtime residents, increased traffic and congestion have led to frustration. Speed bumps have been added on some streets.

Report card

Westside Village residents are served by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The three local elementary schools' scores on the 2004 Academic Performance Index were 707 at Palms, 724 at Charnock Road and 920 at Clover, out of a possible 1,000. Palms Middle School scored 765; Hamilton Senior High, 643.

Stock report

Local Realtor Ron Deutsch reports brisk home sales in the area. "Buyers appreciate the feeling of tranquillity," he said. "Curving roads, rolling hills ... seem a world away from the nearby freeways."

Of 10 properties now on the market, seven are in escrow. Recent sales range from a three-bedroom, one-bath home for $775,000 to a five-bedroom home with Century City views for $1,289,000.

Historical values

Residential resales:

Year...Median Price

1990...$319,000

1995...$204,000

2000...$349,500

2003...$522,500

2005...$700,000*

*Year to date

Sources: DataQuick Information Systems; api.cde.ca.gov; Westside Village Civic Assn.; www.themls.com; "Fritz B. Burns and the Development of Los Angeles" by James Thomas Keane.

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