By Christopher Cadelago, firstname.lastname@example.org
June 26, 2010
CITY HALL — The City Council on Tuesday is slated to consider a $67,000 offer from Westwind Properties to buy public property and create a "campus-like" atmosphere for prospective businesses.
The controversial request, which has drawn the ire of neighboring businesses, calls for the city vacating a portion of Spazier Avenue and Varney Street between Flower Street and Elm Court.
Supporters maintain that the plan was in line with city goals to promote sustainability, economic development and facilitate new ventures in the South San Fernando Redevelopment Project Area. Critics contend it could hamper pedestrian and vehicle safety, curb property values and reduce on-street parking.
Westwind is proposing to provide additional parking spaces for employees and clients that frequent the post-production facilities, as well as enhance and beautify the area with security gates at each street entrance and new landscaping, according to a report by Jack Lynch, deputy housing and redevelopment manager.
The proposal was postponed in April, when it was continued over concerns from neighboring Brother's Ironworks, California K-9 Academy and Swiss Dane.
Given the proposed elimination of access from Spazier Street, Brother's Ironworks performed several tests, demonstrating that a large truck couldn't exit Varney Street onto Elm Court.
The dissatisfaction rose to the point that property owners approached city officials and offered to pay nearly double the $67,000 to obstruct the sale. Officials maintain that the property, which contains a sewer line but could not be developed, was being offered at fair market value.
While both streets are located in a stand-alone area and not part of a thoroughfare, the owners of 1125 South Flower St. said closure of a main access road would create safety issues by increasing the flow of traffic on Elm Court, which runs along the side of their building.
This closure would benefit Westwind at the expense of others, said Susan Costa, vice president and owner of Avalon Property Services Inc.
"It is outrageous that this is even being considered," Costa wrote to the city. "It seems that there is more to this story than we are being told."