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Plans for Expansion, Housing Tract : Inglewood to Vote on Cemetery Parcel

Times Staff Writer

Inglewood Park Cemetery will ask city voters Nov. 8 to approve the rezoning of a 10-acre parcel that the cemetery has purchased and plans to divide, using a portion to expand its facilities and the rest to develop 13 single-family homes.

Proposition AA on the November ballot has the support of the City Council, a block club organization representing the neighborhood east of the cemetery and a citizens group organized by the cemetery.

The cemetery’s expansion plan requires a citywide vote because of a 1962 ordinance that prohibits any new use of land for cemeteries other than property already zoned for that purpose.

All five City Council members have signed the ballot argument in favor of the initiative. No one has prepared a ballot argument opposing it.

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The cemetery in February paid $3 million for the 10-acre Children’s Baptist Home property at 7715 S. Victoria Ave., according to cemetery officials. The children’s home plans to move out of Inglewood next year. The cemetery and the city have agreed to a plan, pending voter approval, under which the eastern half of the property would be rezoned for single-family homes and the western half would be rezoned for cemetery use.

Because the current limited multiple-family zoning of the property permits apartment buildings, supporters of the ballot initiative argue the cemetery will help maintain the character of the neighborhood by building and selling single-family homes on Victoria Avenue. The cemetery could build single-family homes without voter approval, but needs the city’s permission to expand the cemetery.

The cemetery is bordered by Manchester Boulevard, Florence Avenue, Prairie Avenue and West Boulevard. The newly acquired property is between the cemetery’s boundary and Victoria.

Earline Campbell, president of the “Around the Block Club” organization that represents the neighborhood, said her group favors the measure because the new zoning will eliminate the possibility of up to 139 apartments being built in a neighborhood of single-family homes. She said her group has about 100 members.

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“It’s a good idea,” she said. “The people who know about it are pleased.”

The western half of the site would temporarily be converted to office space for the cemetery and ultimately used for burial purposes, said cemetery spokesman Don Eislen. A landscaped buffer area would separate the cemetery expansion from the new homes, which city and cemetery officials say would sell for about $200,000 each and bring in a total of about $25,000 a year in property taxes.

The most visible opposition to the measure has come from activists in the United Democratic Club of Inglewood, who do not live in the affected area but who say the entire parcel should be dedicated exclusively to single-family homes.

While opponents of Proposition AA admit opposition to the measure is not widespread, cemetery officials said they will spend $10,000 in a campaign to inform voters on the proposal and promote the cemetery’s community activities, such as contributions to the Inglewood schools and to city anti-drug programs.

The cemetery was established in 1905.


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