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Neighborhood Council Weighs Pet Ordinance, Sober-Living Homes, and Hears Rep. Brad Sherman

Congressman gives his stump speech, then takes questions.

A talk by Congressman Brad Sherman and discussions of pets and sober-living homes topped the agenda at the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council meeting Wednesday.

About 75 stakeholders in the library of Lawrence Middle School heard the council decline to support a proposed city ordinance to increase the number of pets allowed per household to five cats and five dogs after an eye-opening presentation by Phyllis Daugharty of the Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council and the director of Los Angeles-based Animal Issues Movement.

Two aspects of the proposed ordinance seemed to take everyone by surprise.

No limitations would be placed on the number of puppies and kittens under 4 months old that one can own, and a change in difficult-to-reverse zoning codes would be required.

Daugharty said the purpose of the ordinance was to save animals in shelters from being euthanized, and to make money for the city. She said the ordinance doesn’t accomplish that.

Currently, the proposal is in the planning and land-use committee at City Hall, she said.

Maria Fisk, a member of the Old Granada Hills Residents’ Group and the Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council, dropped another informational bomb on the Chatsworth representatives regarding a potential increase in sober-living houses in residential neighborhoods.

Fisk said there were three sober-living homes  in Granada Hills with 30 to 40 people in at least one, where 85 calls were made to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Three arrests made and many calls to the police and city officials were documented.

Fisk said operating community care facilities and sober living homes was a lucrative business.

“Planning officials have no idea how many are in our city,” she added.

Fisk also said sober-living homes do not have to be licensed because they don’t actually provide treatment.

A hearing on the issue is scheduled before the Los Angeles Planning Commission on Feb. 10.

Right now, there is one sober-living home on De Soto Avenue and Devonshire Street behind the Walgreens. Another one is being built next to the existing one, she said.

Council members are concerned that Chatsworth neighborhoods could become  targets for more.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-San Fernando Valley) gave a stump speech similar to the one he gave to the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council on Tuesday night. Click here for coverage.

Sherman has served District 27 in Congress since 1997 and is the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. He is a senior member of the Financial Services Committee.

One stakeholder asked Sherman whether he would support reopening Chatsworth Park South, which has been closed for three years due to lead contamination in the soil. “It’s heartbreaking we have been deprived of it,” she said.

Sherman responded that any remediation work required to reopen the park would have to come from local funds and not “earmarked” monies that have been banned on a federal level.

Megan Cottier, a field deputy for Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith, added that the area has to be cleaned up before it could be reopened. Cottier said if the federal government provided money to do that, Smith would go for it in a heartbeat.

Sherman also said changes were coming in the U.S. Forest Service response to fire suppression. He didn't elaborate on details.

Fire suppression is an important issue in Chatsworth and surrounding foothill communities, given the continuing threat of wildfires. 

Paul Dumont February 03, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Sober living is a passion for most all of us, and is not lucrative. It's about people helping people. We will live somewhere - the elite just want to move us around without justification.
Truth February 08, 2011 at 07:12 PM
If it was a legit sober living home, licensed & all, it might not be such a problem. but I used to live next to one on Victory just west of Topanga in Woodland Hills, and that one was a nightmare. It was NOT "sober" living. The multiple men there were constantly drunk and heckling passersby. The house was not well kept up, either.
Paul Dumont February 08, 2011 at 07:37 PM
Crystal, I know all too well about group homes that claim "sober living" status, and attempt to benefit from our protections. There is no license available to sober living homes. The Sober Living Coalition recogized the need for oversight 15 years ago and is doing the job government has not. Instead of helping us to distinguish "flop houses" from real 12 Step homes, the City is pressing an ordinance that such flop houses will also ignore - they don't follow existing laws. Nuisance Abatement laws can address any problem property but may need to be revamped.
Laura Tompkins January 31, 2013 at 05:39 AM
Oh waaaaa, poor babies just want to help people. Victims for life come from the AA cult. Not buying it! http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult_a0.html

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