Lakewood Puts Hold on Care Home Permits

Times Staff Writer

The City Council, saying the city wants time to establish minimum development standards, has imposed a moratorium on permits for senior citizen residential care facilities.

Charles Ebner, director of community development, said a sudden interest by developers in building senior citizen hotels and community care facilities prompted the moratorium, which expires Oct. 31.

City officials said two applications were on file at City Hall when the moratorium was imposed earlier this month. One application has been withdrawn, officials said, while the second application remains active.

Jack Gonsalves, assistant director of community development, said senior hotels and community care facilities do not fall into any current city category in regard to requirements for such items as open space and parking. They fall somewhere between an apartment complex and a convalescent home, he said, but really do not fit into either category.

Pablo Malana, president of Lakewood Gardens Inc., said his firm wants to build an 84-bed retirement home near Norwalk and Pioneer boulevards. Malana said he is upset about the moratorium.


“I don’t know why the city all of a sudden has made this moratorium,” Malana said. “We did everything they asked. Everything was OK with the Lakewood Review Board, then all of a sudden they said there was a moratorium.”

“The only conclusion I can draw is that because the city is run by whites and we are Asians, the city thinks we are moving in on them.”

Gonsalves disagreed strongly with Malana.

“First of all, it had nothing to do with whether he is a minority,” Gonsalves said.

“The kind of development that he’s talking about is completely different than a regular apartment complex and I’m sure he’s aware of that,” he said.

“There’s no development criteria that would allow us to make an intelligent decision about his project. We tried to explain that to him, but apparently we failed.”

During the moratorium, the Planning Commission is conducting a study on the issue and will make recommendations to the council next month regarding development standards, Ebner said.

Ebner said that the moratorium will ensure that no new senior citizen community care facility will be permitted without meeting the minimum standards developed by the study.

Gonsalves said he is aware of only two existing senior citizen facilities--a convalescent home and an apartment complex. He said he doesn’t know what has sparked the sudden interest except an increase in the number of senior citizens in the city.

In 1980, 7.6% of Lakewood’s 74,700 residents were over age 65. It is estimated that percentage had risen to 9.7% in 1984 and would reach 12.5% in 1989.