They have asked Councilman Mitch Englander to attend their meetings and take a stand on whether the facility is appropriate for the area. His office declined to send a representative to a January meeting where more than 300 homeowners unanimously voted to oppose the project. The Northridge South Neighborhood Council land use committee also voted to oppose the project.
The issue will come before the full board of the Neighborhood Council 7 p.m., Feb. 28, at Northridge Middle School, 17960 Chase St. That will be followed by a zoning administrator's hearing at noon, March 5, at the Van Nuys Braude Building, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd.
Chatsworth is facing a similar proposal for an elder-care facility in the midst of a horse-keeping neighborhood. Developers have not yet filed any plans with the city, however, Englander has already said the business is inappropriate for the area. "I am against this specific project because it is trying to shoehorn in too dense of a project in an area it just doesn't fit," Englander said.
The councilman replied to the Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association with this letter which the association provided to Patch:
Councilmember Mitchell Englander
February 13, 2013
President, The Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association
9018 Balboa Blvd., Suite #242
Northridge, CA 91325
Dear Mr. Bramson:
I received your letter stating the Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association’s (HOA) position about the elder care facility (ZA 2012-3545 ELD,SPR) proposed at the corner of Shoshone Avenue and Parthenia Street.
I understand the HOA’s concerns and I commend the Sherwood Forest Board and members for their passion for their community.
I share the view that Sherwood Forest is a unique, beautiful neighborhood whose high quality of life and character must be preserved and protected. I have always strongly supported and admired the members of this tightly-knit community for their commitment to preserving Sherwood Forest. I was proud to have supported their bid to make Sherwood Forest an officially named community of Los Angeles, and was proud to cut the ribbon on the new Sherwood Forest community signs. I have worked to ensure there were fee waivers and street closures for Sherwood Forest’s wonderful block party. As you may know, I promoted the event and have attended several times, where I was happy to meet many of the residents and HOA Board Members, discuss community and City issues, and enjoy this terrific neighborhood.
As you stated in your letter, members of your Board invited members of my staff to attend the Jan. 23, 2013 meeting where the proposed elder care facility was discussed. They declined, because it is a long-standing policy of our office to respect and support this process, and to allow projects to proceed along their prescribed course without being influenced by our presence. I understand that attendees of that meeting were dissatisfied that we did not attend, and I have responded to them with the same answer, and the explanation I am providing you in this letter. My pledge to protect the character and quality of life in our communities stands.
The reason that neither I nor anyone else on my staff attended the recent meeting to discuss the proposed elder care facility was twofold: First, the meeting was convened by the Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association, not my office. The meeting was meant to be for and by the members of the community. It was their forum, and it was appropriate for there to be an opportunity for their members to discuss the matter among themselves. This was their time to discuss the merits of the proposal unimpeded.
Second, it is the policy of my office to send any proposed development to the relevant Neighborhood Council and/or Homeowners Association to be reviewed first before I will consider it. That is because I want to ensure that any new development is the right fit for the community, and the Neighborhood Councils and homeowners associations are the eyes and ears of the community. As such, you have an important role to play in advising me and my staff on the real or potential impacts (positive or negative) on your neighborhood. Although my staff and I tend to keep a low public profile during this portion of the process, we are very interested in and are monitoring closely what is occurring and we appreciate hearing from you directly.
There is an official, legal process in place for any proposed development to go through, no matter what type or in what neighborhood. Saying that they must go through that process does not mean that I support them – it is how projects are vetted and analyzed and brought before the public in a transparent, fair process between the neighbors and the applicants. Regarding the elder care facility in question, the first public meeting will be the Zoning Administrator’s hearing, which my staff will be attending in order to monitor the meeting. At that hearing, all members of the community will be able to participate, share their thoughts or concerns, see detailed information about the proposal, and hear what kinds of questions or concerns the Zoning Administrator might have.
After that, the proposed project will also be vetted in a public hearing by the Area Planning Commission. We will be attending that meeting as well.
In response to your question about when I will take an official position on the proposed development; I have spelled out the procedures in this letter and, again, I respect this process. Once the various community groups and stakeholders have had the opportunity to weigh in and give me all their input, questions and concerns, I will issue my recommendations prior to the Area Planning Commission’s meeting.
I assure you that my position will always be guided by doing what is right for the community.
Councilmember, Twelfth District
Cc: All Board Members, Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association