Platt Avenue Library Plan Resurfaces

Times Staff Writer

Plans for a second Woodland Hills library, dormant since a neighborhood political dispute more than 12 years ago, have been revived in a $70-million bond measure proposed Monday by City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky.

Yaroslavsky’s proposal calls for a ballot measure that would raise funds needed to build the Platt Avenue Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, help pay for renovations to the fire-ravaged Central Library and rehabilitate nine branch libraries in south Los Angeles. The bond measure also would set aside funds to replace a deteriorating police station in south Los Angeles.

Yaroslavsky, head of the council’s Finance and Revenue Committee, will introduce his plan to the City Council today. The plan must win council approval before it can be placed on the November, 1988, ballot.

The bond measure, which would require approval by two-thirds of the voters, asks property owners to tax themselves for the improvements. The measure would add $4.90 in property taxes per $100,000 in assessed value of a single-family home. Not since 1968 has the city used such a method to raise property taxes, city officials said.


At the Monday conference, Yaroslavsky was joined by Councilwoman Joy Picus, whose West San Fernando Valley district includes the library site, and Councilman Robert Farrell of south Los Angeles.

Current proposals call for a 12,500-square-foot building that would cost $2.5 million.

The addition of the Platt Library to the proposed ballot measure resurrects a 20-year-old battle to build a second city library branch in Woodland Hills.

The city has owned the 35,000-square-foot library site at the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Platt Avenue since 1967. But the failure of a series of bond measures in the 1960s stalled the library’s construction.


By the mid-1970s, the Platt Library was on the back burner of the council’s public works priority list. A group of Woodland Hills residents, with support of then-Councilman Donald Lorenzen, initiated a plan to create a special library assessment district so residents of the area could pay for construction.

To show support for the assessment district, the group mailed a questionnaire to West Valley residents. But 75% of the survey respondents opposed the special assessment. Backers of the plan claimed that the questionnaires had been sent to the wrong neighborhood. Lorenzen withdrew his support, and the special district proposal died quietly.

After the failure to win public support for the special assessment district, plans for a Platt Avenue branch remained in limbo.

However, use of public libraries by San Fernando Valley residents skyrocketed. In 1986, six of the 10 most heavily used library branches in the 62-branch city library system were in the Valley.

The top branch in terms of circulation is the West Valley Regional Library in Reseda. The Granada Hills branch in Petit Park has the second largest circulation in the city. Other Valley branches are located in Woodland Hills, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and Canoga Park.

Yaroslavsky said the Platt Ranch area of Woodland Hills is the most heavily populated area in the state that does not have a library.