The Plan for the Northridge Neighborhood Council Meeting

Thanks so much to Patti & J Russell hosting the meeting last night and to all of you who attended and gave your input. Here is a summary.

We talked about our speakers for tonight not repeating each other but being organized and choosing different issues to address. I am using note cards to delineate each concern so those who attend tonight can choose one or two since there’s a 2 minute time limit.

Please email me if I’ve left anything out.
I will hand them out prior to the start based on what each person who wants to speak feels comfortable with.

The President is considering asking only for a summary since the May 25 meeting (non-agendized) allowed us to speak to many of our issues.

One of our group talked about possibly having 19519 Roscoe and the vacant corner lot properties turned into green space by the City to meet requirement for the needs of Adults with Disabilities. He has more information on it and it can be addressed.

Our focus for tonight is the church does not belong in our neighborhood-RA Zoned for residential & agriculture/horses etc, low density neighborhood of acre & 1/2 acre properties. Does not warrant Change of Use that would change the entire character of our unique neighborhood. The General Plan supports no changes to our Neighborhood as told to us by Mitch Englander’s office which is a critical part of not granting a Conditional Permit. We have been able to reach 86 Homeowners who signed a petition in Opposition to granting this Conditional Use Permit. Many owners also wrote personal emails. All was forwarded to President Ashjian along with other documents.

Two Shirley Ave properties & 1 Roscoe property butt up to 19519 Roscoe Blvd. Those homes are within 30 feet of the property line & the proposed parking lot. Air pollution (car exhaust);  noise pollution-49 cars’ engine noise & outdoor socialization, outdoor weddings, funerals; light pollution. 7:30pm meetings plus socializing after could easily mean activity there passed 9:30pm, 7 nights a week. 18 foot light posts not dark sky compliant. Lights on all night for security lighting up our yards would damage our quality of life and serenity.

Property Values Decline: See 30+ year Northridge realtor Dave Cargo’s letter attesting to the effect of lowering our home values in the entire neighborhood if the Church is built there. Changes the character of our neighborhood.

It would be a “threat to the public’s health, welfare, & safety” (exact words recommended to me by Northridge Chamber of Commerce member).
Reasons: narrow streets, minimal street lights, no sidewalks, no curbs-affecting families taking walks, walking their dogs, children riding their bikes, etc. Wait in line to exit vs. park on Roscoe and Shirley and leave in a couple of minutes. Again, car exhaust, dangers of entering & exiting Roscoe Blvd (100 feet width of property) and making both left & right turns 40 mph speed limit.

49 pkg spaces on 1 acre lot-breathing car exhaust 7 days/week. In & out of narrow property onto busy Roscoe Blvd., engines running to wait their turn. They will use Shirley Ave & Melvin to park cars with or without overflow. Will use Shirley, Melvin & Chase to cut through to Parthenia, Tampa, & Corbin.
There will be an increase in traffic on Roscoe, Shirley, Melvin, Chase despite “traffic study” if one was actually done during affected hours.

Meetings at least 2x/day, 7 days a week starting at 9:30am & 7:30pm. In between, field service meetings to organize door to door outreach for conversion to their faith.
Question: Will they rent out space for 12 step meetings, weddings, other outside groups like most other churches do that will increase usage? Will there be a pre-school program? Will there be fundraisers like Carnivals or other activities? The answers may not be the same today as in the future as evidenced by the hell the residents surrounding the Coptic Church continue to experience. We must learn from them and the lack of enforcing consequences for that church not following the rules.

I’ll speak to this.
Pattern of JWs flipping properties to make money. Valley Music Center on Ventura Blvd bought it for $1 million and sold it for commercial building of apartments, mixed use -claimed they outgrew the building 2,800 seats on 8 1/3 acres & sold for $30 million.  Sold over $1 billion of their real estate over the last 5 years in NYC & Brooklyn relocating the Watchtower Headquarters to upstate NY where land is cheaper. This is happening all over the country. The local JWs contribute their money to buy property & build their Kingdom Hall, pay taxes, pay for maintenance, etc  but they don’t own them. They are owned by the Watchtower Society headquartered in New York. When the Society decides it’s time to sell & take the profits, they have no say. They get none of the profits. The collection of money earmarked like a building fund goes to the headquarters. Only $5000 is allowed to be kept locally for repairs. The common reason given is they’ve “outgrown” the facility. You don’t “outgrow” 8 1/3 acres. You build onto it unless you’re looking to turn a profit.

Pattern of dishonesty:
1. The # of meetings held per week & actual usage not true-7days/week, church services, field service meetings, etc. Multiple Congregations have meetings serving different ethnicities & languages.
2. The map of circles brought to the City Planners Hearing to show need for the 19519  Roscoe location. White Oak & Sherman Way.
3. Benefit to community of frequenting local restaurants & stores. Our neighborhood has no commercial venues. Won’t chg where they shop & dine.
4. This location not chosen from need but because the owner is a Jehovah Witness & wants to sell her property to her church. It will benefit her financially.
5. Last Council meeting their representative said there were approx 150 something seats when their paperwork to the City Planners clearly states 167 seats.

There is a church located on DeSoto & Chatsworth Streets that was granted a Conditional Permit. That property has 150 seats, is on a much larger piece of land, and has 115 parking spaces. As well as all the negative impacts on our neighborhood, this single acre is too small to build this project on negatively affecting the neighbors. It does not warrant a Change of Use.

There are 4 Kingdom Halls within 3 miles of this location. Use a location that fits within an area that is not residential. The style of the building is commercial, doesn’t fit the character of the neighborhood. Makes it easier to flip & request single use business when they’re told to sell & profit big time from price of commercial vs residential property. When this happens, how can this property revert back to residential based on the design of the building and plan for the property? Is a Conditional Permit transferable to successive owners?

Trees: Unsure if these trees are protected despite their arborist report from 2014. None of his recommendations to care for these trees have been implemented by the owner over the passed 3+ years. Please see the photographs taken of the character of the neighborhood & trees on this property that provide welcome shade on our southern exposure. I believe 14 mature Walnut trees would have to be cut down on their plan. Our neighborhood was Walnut groves before homes were built. The owner’s father told me when I moved in 33 years ago that our trees were protected. And if he that’s the case and he was correct, then the regulations require 4 trees to one replacing cutting down protected trees. Again this lot is too small for the proposed purpose.

Sincerely, Barbara Perle

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