A longtime Chatsworth resident was elected to an open seat Wednesday on the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council.
Matt Weintraub, a former El Monte official, defeated George G. Nelson, pastor of Vision Plus Church, in a special election held at the Council’s regular monthly meeting, which drew nearly 100 people.
“I’m excited,” Weintraub said after the election. He said he will put his experience in various positions in El Monte, including assistant city manager and a reserve police office, to good use. “I’ll apply them to where I live,” he said.
Weintraub is an avid bicyclist who told the crowd that he is interested in participating on the Council’s Public Safety and Transportation Committee.
The seat was open because board member William Lander moved out of the area.
The total number of votes cast was 78. The breakdown was not released.
Chatsworth Hills Academy Campus Plans OK’d
Earlier in the evening, the board heard brief presentations from representatives of (CHA), which wants to build on property it owns south of the existing school. It also heard from the attorney for the Fenwick Family Trust, which owns the northern property where the private school is now located.
Resident Earl Miller, whose backyard is adjacent to the school, expressed his opposition and read a letter from a neighbor who is also opposed. About 20 residents supporting CHA’s plans were also in attendance, but none of them spoke.
The school, at the western end of Rinaldi Street, leases eight acres from the Fenwick family and owns the adjacent four acres where it wants to build seven buildings, including 18 classrooms and a multi-purpose building. The school needs a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the city for a new campus. The school is not seeking to add students or make major changes in its operations.
The Fenwick family has said that it is not opposed to CHA’s plan but that the family intends to lease their property to another school. CHA has a lease on the eight acres through 2015.
Attorneys for CHA and the Fenwicks disagree about whether a second school could move onto the larger parcel and operate under the current CUP, which was granted jointly to CHA and Leon Fenwick, who died earlier this year. The possibility of two schools with a total of more than 800 students has been the major cause of concern to members of the CNC Land Use Committee, which had multiple presentations and a tour of the site.
Although the Fenwicks’ attorney asked that the Council delay voting, the Land Use Committee motion supporting CHA’s request was ratified by the full board. The board voted 11 yes, 1 no, with 2 abstentions.
Board member Diana Dixon-Davis voted against it, while Kamesh Aysola and Richard Nadel abstained. That vote mirrored the Council’s land use committee vote last month.
The issue is expected to go before a city zoning administrator next year.
The board acts in an advisory capacity to the Los Angeles City Council, which has the final say in the matter.
Council Rejects Hidden Creeks Development
The Neighborhood Council also voted unanimously to reject annexation into the city of property north of Browns Canyon for a proposed 188-home gated development called Hidden Creeks Estates and Preserve. Current zoning would allow only 33 ranchettes on the land between Browns and Mormon creeks in unincorporated Los Angeles County.
Again the vote mirrored the Council’s Land Use Committee vote.
The developer made multiple appearances before the Land Use and Equestrian committees since late 2004, but was not present Wednesday.
Plans include 25 equestrian properties, public recreation facilities outside the north gate on an extension of Mason Avenue, and more than 100 acres of unbuildable open space. An existing stable at the southern gate on Browns Canyon Road would be rebuilt and expanded to provide an equestrian center with room for up to 120 horses. Click here for the Final Environmental Impact Report.
Although the property has not been annexed, a city Planning Department hearing was held September 23.
Gasps could be heard Wednesday when board member Mary Kaufman said that, in answer to a question at the city hearing, the developer said that if the stable should go out of business, more houses could be built on the land.
In other action:
- A zone variance was approved to allow continued storage and sales of firewood at .
- A letter was approved regarding the Environmental Impact Statement for the NASA portion of the asking that all cleanup alternatives be considered.
- $450 was allotted for Outreach advertising sponsorship at two upcoming events.
- $200 was allotted for rental of play equipment for a family festival and health fair at on October 15.
- $300 was approved to buy a retractable banner for the Council.