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Local News in Brief : Developer Pledges to Scale Back Plans

A developer sought to end a controversy over use of Sherman Oaks’ last major open area by pledging Wednesday to drastically scale back a proposed housing tract that neighbors have fought for eight years.

Developer Paul E. Griffin III said 18 multimillion-dollar estates will be constructed on a hilly 56-acre site approved for 31 homes.

As a result, bulldozers will only cut about half as much dirt from the sides of hills above Longridge Avenue to create construction pads for the project, Griffin said.

Residents of Longridge and nearby Alomar Drive have vigorously protested previous development proposals that have called for the grading of more than a million cubic yards of earth.

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Homeowners were joined in their fight eight months ago by Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Woo, who represents the Sherman Oaks area. Woo termed the 31-home grading plan “a disaster waiting to happen” and asked landowner George Bergmann to redesign the project.

Instead, Bergmann last month sold the site and its accompanying subdivision tract map to Griffin for $3 million.

Griffin said he decided to scrap the 31-lot subdivision after learning the extent of the neighborhood’s opposition.

“I was a little shocked, yes, to learn of the problems,” Griffin said. “We didn’t understand the extent of the hostility until we were well into the purchase.”

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