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.
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.