Notes on January 13 Meeting with Councilmember Englander

Present at the meeting were Councilmember Englander, Deputy for Land Use Hannah Lee, and other members of CD12 staff; representatives of the developer – Marc Annotti,COO; an attorney; and Erika Iversen of Rosenheim & Associates, a land-use consulting firm.

Also present were representatives of the Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council (GHNNC); of the Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council (GHSNC); the Old Granada Hills Residents’ Group (OGHRG); and of the Granada Hills Chamber of Commerce.

The purpose of the meeting was apparently for Mr Englander to try to bring representatives of the developer and the community closer together in their views of the project.

The councilmember said the developer claims that the project meets the “by right” criteria for the location and the zoning. (see ghnnc.org, “Developer’s Rationale Attachment A). No changes to the Specific Plan (copy available on ghnnc.org) or the Community Plan are requested. No zoning change is required. 

The developer had been asked earlier to respond to what he had heard at public meetings at both neighborhood councils, and additional public meetings held to inform the residents.

The developer offered to forego the height bonus he had chosen from a menu of bonuses, bringing the total height to 45 feet as in the Granada Hills Specific Plan. This, however, was not a result of deleting a whole story of apartments, but by other unspecified means.

He offered to move the entrance/exit driveway for the apartments about 40 feet south of the original place near the JFK High School. That meant cutting some 20+ feet from the footprint of the adjacent building, replacing it with low landscaping to improve the visibility of pedestrians.

The number of apartments would decrease by 50 units, bringing the new total to 390. The mix would also change, eliminating some studio apartments (leaving 38), and increasing the number of 1-bedrooms by 55 to 208, 2-bedrooms by 19 to 144. The decrease of 50 studio apartments would mean proportionately 50 additional parking spots, though the 2-bedrooms require 2 spots instead of 1, so the net proportional gain would be 31 parking slots.

The neighborhood council representatives reiterated the concerns they had heard from the public, about density, height, mix of sizes, safety, etc. A compilation of community comments was given to the councilmember staff. The neighborhood council representatives also voiced a number of environmental concerns, which did not seem to be accepted by the developer.

The Chamber representative asked for consideration for the businesses that will be dislocated. No offers were made yet.

GHNNC’s president repeated the request for 120 days (from the original December 6 date) before the next and only public hearing on this matter. The developer has to agree to move it, and no commitment was obtained.

It was agreed that a follow-on meeting should be held, to give the developer time to consider the requests of the community representatives and to give some additional time for the community to be informed. All agreed that such a meeting would be a good idea. No date has been set, but the Councilmember agreed to follow up on this. All participants are well aware that the current proposal does not represent sufficient change to satisfy most community members.

As of this moment (January 16), the hearing date is still February 7. One thing did change – the hearing is now going to be open for all kinds of public comment, not restricted to the possible joining of the underlying parcels.