More than 300 Sherwood Forest residents overflowed the hall and listened through open patio windows to hear plans Wednesday for a 140-unit elder-care facility proposed for their single-family Northridge neighborhood.
And with a thunderous vote, members of the Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association rejected the proposal.
Tom Stemnock of Planning Associates Inc. said that the owners of the property at 17545 Parthenia St. had no experience in development nor operating an elder-care facility. But architect Ken Stockton said their project would cost $27-30 million to build.
Stemnock couldn't name that actual developer, and neither he nor Stockton could explain how the project would be financed. However, Patch was told that developer Ted Stein, a former city airport commissioner with long political ties to the city establishment, toured the property in November with members of the Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association. Also reportedly on the tour were property owner Fred Selan, Stemnock and community outreach specialist Athena Novak.
The 83,026-square-foot commercial facility on 2.34 acres at the corner of Pathnenia Street and Shoshone Avenue would be two-stories high, with a three-story wing in the central courtyard, according to Stemnock. Of the 140 residences, 105 would be for assisted living and 35 for memory care. "It will look like a single-family residence," he said.
However, one neighbor at the Northrige Women's Club auditorium characterized the proposed building as "the size of a Costco."
The development application has been filed with the city Planning Department. A public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for March 5 for case numbers 2012-3544 and 2012-3545.
The project will also be discussed at the Feb. 21 meeting of the Northridge South Neighborhood Council.
Stemnock told the crowd that the city "allows these types of facilities in residential area under specific controls.
In 2006, the city enacted an ordinance (see PDF in the adjacent photo box) to allow elder-care facilities in almost all zones, including RA-1 single-family areas, if the project meets several strict guidelines, the most important of which was that it does not negatively impact the neighborhood.
"What is being proposed is just another form of residential development," Stemnock said.
However, Home Association members were not convinced.
Dr. David Goldstein, a next-door neighbor, when told that the project had been researched with all sorts of elder-care experts for 18-months to 2-years, said, "They never consulted with me. And I'm chief of geriatrics at USC."
Another neighbor said, "I'm appalled that you would ever build this... This is not a done deal for everyone here."
A car collector who said "Sherwood forest is a unique area," complained that the city "won't let me build a bigger garage for my hobby cars," yet this large building would be permitted in the neighborhood.
"The area is a low-density residential area," said another neighbor, "and we want to keep it that way."
Homeowner Jimmy Stewart questioned why Councilman Mitch Englander was not in attendance. "Call the councilman and find out why he's not here," he urged. Property owner Fred Selan was also absent from the meeting.
A retired policeman said that in his patrol experience, "I've see how an area declines when these greedy people move in."
And a Realtor told the crowd: "This is a money grab."
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