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Bernson Seeks to Limit Building in Northridge Area

Times Staff Writer

Development of new buildings in a large section of Northridge would be restricted until city planners can develop a parking and traffic-improvement plan for the area, under a proposal expected to win preliminary Los Angeles City Council approval Wednesday.

Councilman Hal Bernson, whose district includes the area, proposed the building restrictions for the section bounded by Reseda Boulevard on the west, White Oak Avenue on the east, Chatsworth Street on the north and Parthenia Street on the south.

Cal State Northridge, which is within the area, would not be affected because the city has no control over development of educational facilities on state-owned land, Bernson said. He added that he has worked with the university to alleviate parking and traffic problems, including developing a plan to extend Plummer Street through the campus.

The restrictions would remain in effect until city planners can prepare a parking and traffic-improvement plan for the area and possibly new, permanent limitations on the size and types of permitted projects. Bernson noted that the development plan for the area has not been reviewed for 15 years.

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Council members, who customarily defer to colleagues on matters in their districts, are expected Wednesday to order a draft of the restrictions’ ordinance. The ordinance would have to go to the Planning Commission for public hearings, come back to the council and then go to Mayor Tom Bradley for final approval.

The area around the campus suffers from inadequate parking and from traffic congestion, Bernson said. “We want to make sure those things get solved in conjunction with any development that takes place in the area,” he said.

Bernson said the proposed ordinance is not a building moratorium. It would require property owners to obtain special approval for projects from the City Council, which could require parking and traffic improvements as a condition for approval. At present, council approval is not required if a project conforms to zoning requirements.

The proposal is in line with a growing practice in Los Angeles to require developers to reduce the traffic their projects would add to city streets. Traffic improvements are required before a new project can proceed in the Los Angeles International Airport area, Warner Center and Westwood.

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