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Sherwood Forest Residents Armed to Oppose Elder-Care Facility at Hearing

Neighbors decry proposal for a Costco-sized structure in the midst of their single-family Northridge residential neighborhood.

When Sherwood Forest residents appear before the zoning administrator on Tuesday, they'll be armed with the unanimous backing of the Northridge South Neighborhood Council, the Council's planning and land use committee, the Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association and the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council's land use committee.

All are opposed to plans to build what Councilmember Donnal Pope calls a Costco-sized elder-care facility in the midst of their single-family Northridge residential neighborhood.

"It's too large, too dense and in the wrong neighborhood," she told the packed Neighborhood Council meeting on Thursday.

The zoning hearing will be 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, at The Braude Building, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd. in Van Nuys.

Tom Stemnock of Planning Associates Inc., representing property owner Fred Selan and politically connected developer Ted Stein, said the proposed two and three-story building at 17545 Parthenia St. would have 105 assisted living units and 35 memory care units. It would replace an estate-type home, he said, under standards established by a 2006 elder-care ordinance.

The ordinance (see PDF in the adjacent photo box) allows 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 is that it does not negatively impact the neighborhood.

But neighbors see only negative impacts. None spoke in favor of the project during the 45-minute discussion. There were complaints of insufficient parking, lack of sidewalks, narrow streets, insufficient buffer, impact on property values, and the potential for disruptions by sirens and alarms from emergency vehicles.

Pointing to the residential nature of the community, Jeff Voorheis said, "I don't understand why we have a zoning law if it is not going to be respected." 

"It's like a cancer cell in a neighborhood," he said.

Read more about elder-care zoning issues:

  • Neighbors Protest Proposed 99-Bed Elder-Care Facility in Chatsworth
  • Sherwood Forest Homeowners Vote Down Plans for Elder-Care Facility
  • Englander Joins Neighbors to Oppose DeSoto Ave. Elder-Care Facility [Video]
  • Sherwood Forest Elder-Care Facility Fails to Win Support of Land Use Committee
  • Why Englander Declines to Take a Stand on Sherwood Forest Elder-Care Proposal
  • Elder-Care on Northridge South Agenda Thursday
Lorraine March 05, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Really?!?! It's like a cancer cell in a neighborhood," he said. Where do you want to place all the older citizens who paid taxes which built the roads and infrastructure you are using. Some do not have family members willing or able to tend to them daily. Others have been SHOVED into a court ordered conservatorship program (aka nanny state now owns the elderly). But to call a facility designed to bathe, feed, nurture, change the diapers, administer medication , and hopefully allow the community to visit and soothe their latter years...to call that a CANCER CELL - which is a death cell for all-intents-and-purposes. That is a strange and ominous testimony of how housing of the elderly is viewed.
Concerned Sherwood Forest Resident March 05, 2013 at 06:14 AM
Dear Lorraine, On the contrary, we believe that our elder parents belong in our homes with extra care we can hire if necessary. This is what this community of SF already does, and many have moved here specifically for this purpose, because the houses here, have extra rooms and guesthouses. The cancer, the previous post was referring to, was about the developers using such an ordinance to make a profit and intrude upon a neighborhood. And not, as you must have misunderstood, about our aging parents. This ordinance was specifically designed to have families be close to their aging parents. And a vote was taking at the council meeting where over 500 people were present and every single one of the over 65 crowd did not want this structure here and would never live in it. So our question again is who would live or could afford to live in this facility? The charge for each resident will be 8 to $10,000. This is not a benevolent undertaking. This is about developers intruding in a low density residential neighborhood, when there are lots of other available lots in the area, with the right zoning.
Concerned Sherwood Forest Resident March 05, 2013 at 06:31 AM
Also, the new research, post the time this ordinance was written, shows it is much more cost effective for our cities and much more humane for our society, to have aging parents live in our homes, in close proximity to their children and grand children, so they may all benefit from each other's company, for as long as possible. When it becomes impossible, then extra help can be hired - This would still be more cost effective than putting them away in any such facility. I hope you'll agree that a community knows best what its need are, and therefore should have the right to decide if such a building is appropriate in their area. When our city council voted unanimously and all the residents of the neighborhood showed such strong opposition, then it would only be right for our councilman's office, and the city zoning department to defer to the wishes of our community and our neighborhood.
Lorraine March 05, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I am not an advocate of placing the elderly in a structured community. BUT there are many many many elderly who DO NOT want to or CANNOT live with their family. That is their choice. AND because the State has no authority to force me to take care of someone they offer an alternative for those not connected or able to afford said paid care....Conservatorship. If this facility is charging upwards of $10,000 a month it will hardly be a slum facility and the clientele most certainly prepared for their stay and likely will have VOLUNTARILY admitted themselves. The time and energy this group is spending would be better directed at the forced Conservatorship of the State against elderly, the facilities of 8-10 bed sizes continually under probation. Your issue of ambulances screaming down the area is not accurate since Parthenia is already a major street/route for said transport.
Concerned Sherwood Forest Resident March 06, 2013 at 12:46 AM
If there are such elderly people in some communities then, these sort of buildings would be most welcomed in those communities. The community knows what it needs. The people in this case, have repeatedly expressed they do not want this facility and will not use it. So if built it will not serve our community but others from other communities. So again this should be built in their communities so they could be close to their families.
Concerned Sherwood Forest Resident March 06, 2013 at 01:19 AM
It seems you are not from our Sherwood Forest neighborhood Lorraine, and perhaps you might think differently if such a huge facility were to be built in YOUR area, and on YOUR street. A few more ambulances and sirens at night, a few more delivery trucks everyday, dozens of workers for the night shifts, and hundreds of visitors parking on your streets on weekends might be a welcomed addition to your environment.... as long as it is a high end facility? The forced Conservatorship seems to be an important and serious issue (just googled it), and thanks for bringing it to our attention, but unfortunately it has rally nothing to do with this issue. We are specifically concerned about an Ordinance introduced and signed into law in 1996 in the City of LA, that bypasses residential zoning codes. And, the majority of the people living in LA, are not even aware of the existence of such an Ordinance, not until they are faced, like us, with big developers that can use it to infiltrate a neighborhood for profit. This is not a benevolent and altruistic undertaking.
Concerned Sherwood Forest Resident March 06, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Correction, the Elderly Care Ordinance was introduced in 2006 and not in 1996.
Lorraine March 06, 2013 at 09:06 AM
"The forced Conservatorship seems to be an important and serious issue (just googled it), and thanks for bringing it to our attention, but unfortunately it has rally nothing to do with this issue." The ordinance you don't like was submitted to handle the massive wave of elderly. Those boomers born 1945+ have to live somewhere so the ordinance was passed to enable the residential homes for care to be built in an residential area. The population boom lasted until 1970's when the judicial branch of gov't interrupted the legislative and for all intense and purposes passed a law. Roe vs Wade became law!!!! So here we are 40 years later and the effects of a baby boom is falling into the hands of those who survived the effects of Roe vs Wade on society. Too many people...not enough caregivers for one-on-one care. Nursing homes are erected all over the place - just like elementary schools were erected in the 1940's., to support the population.
Carl Petersen III March 06, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Lorraine Mabbett 1:06 am on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 "The population boom lasted until 1970's when the judicial branch of gov't interrupted the legislative and for all intense and purposes passed a law. Roe vs Wade became law!!!!" . . The baby boom ended way before the 1970's. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post%E2%80%93World_War_II_baby_boom : "The exact beginning and end of the baby boom can be debated. In the United States, demographers usually use 1946 to 1964, although the U.S. birthrate began to shoot up in 1941 and to decline after 1957. By 1948, the US population increase was back to the pre-Depression increase rate of about 1.5% per year. Some sources place the beginning as early as 1944."
Lorraine March 06, 2013 at 07:19 PM
According to "The Next Four Decades: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050" it is PROJECTED in 2030 there will be 35 people 65 and older of traditional working ages (ages 20 to 64) to every 100 people. Whereas in 2010 there were 22. There are 5.1 million 85-94 year olds in the US, a 30% increase from 2000 when that figure was 3.9 million. This is the fastest-growing age group among the older population. So we are living longer but NOT reproducing at similar rate. WHO IS GOING TO TAKE CARE OF ALL THE SENIORS? The community of SF should be thankful a high end nursing home is going into their neighborhood and not fifteen SF ranch style homes converted with 6-8 beds. Anyone who has taken care of a patient with "memory-care" issues knows it is a FULL TIME JOB..........unless you medicate the patient to stay in their bed. People of SF start taking your energy to protect those who have no ability to speak up. The advocate program (Wise & Healthy Aging) for residents in care facilities is in need of astute volunteers. Even more alarming, there is no advocate program for seniors forced into the Court Ordered Conservatorship. The Conservators are supposed to keep the Conservatee in their home ...even to the point if they have been placed in a facility efforts are to RETURN THEM TO THEIR HOME! California Probate Code Section 2352.5 www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/aging_population/cb10-72.html
Concerned Sherwood Forest Resident March 06, 2013 at 11:50 PM
"The community of SF should be thankful a high end nursing home is going into their neighborhood and not fifteen SF ranch style homes converted with 6-8 beds". Lorraine- We do have many of those ranch style homes converted to 6-8 beds also, and in very close proximity to this proposed facility. We do understand and appreciate your concern for the Court Ordered Consevatorship, but I respectfully ask that you keep your comments to yourself about what you think we should or should not be grateful for as residents of Sherwood Forest, since you do not reside here, and therefore do not know all the details, and can not possibly understand all the ramifications of this project and how it will impact our community. What good is a "high end" facility, if none of us can afford to put our parents there? $10,000 to $11,000 a month? It's absolutely insane! And what happens i they can not be filled because of the exorbitant price? will it then be converted to a "high end" drug rehab perhaps?
Lorraine March 07, 2013 at 08:41 PM
I live near the Motion Picture home and it has impacted the community - they took in too many patients who had no ability to pay, some were parents of employees - who had not been original contributors. Suddenly the home was no longer being used for it's original intended benefit for the infirmed in the Motion Picture industry. The SF facility in question is built on a 2+acre lot - consider what happens if it fails to be constructed and 4 of your neighbors NOT ON PARTHENIA sell their lots - the facility could still be built. Look what has happened to Tampa/Sherman way - talk about encroachment - it's as big as Northridge Hospital - which too has expanded. Your home was built as part of a mega-development that destroyed hundreds and hundreds of beautiful citrus and walnut trees. I say scrap the nursing home and let's restore the entire SF area to its original vegetation. The tax increases, mortgage fiasco, and wall street dump should have opened many lots of foreclosed homes in your area. Pretty soon four lots should be opening up - so if not the current single lot with a resident turned developer looking into the best for your neighborhood you will have a REAL OUTSIDER turning the soil. Look at this way - this facility will actually limit other similar sized residential care structures in the area by virtue of competition.

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