Council Panel Rules in Swim School's Favor

The operator of a North Hollywood swim school should be allowed to stay in business despite complaints from some next-door neighbors about noisy children, a Los Angeles City Council committee ruled Tuesday.

The decision by the Planning and Land Use Management committee was opposed by the Valley Village Homeowners Assn., which will appeal it to the full City Council on Aug. 31.

Representatives of the homeowners group said they fear that other businesses will encroach on the largely residential area if the council allows the Jim Herrick Swimming School to remain open in the 11800 block of Kling Street.

"If you don't keep commercial businesses out of our residential neighborhoods, you'll have a mess--you'll open Pandora's box," said Lori Dinkin, a Valley Village resident and member of the homeowners group.

"We're talking about 800 kids a week in a back yard," said next-door neighbor Marty Mendenhall. "Obviously, my home life has been disturbed."

Herrick said that until he built a second pool in his back yard, prompting complaints to the city from neighbors, he had run the school for about three years without a city permit.

He did not know he needed one, he said.

Councilman Joel Wachs, whose district includes the swim school, recommended that the council committee allow the school to remain open, said Tom Henry, his planning deputy.

Wachs received 285 letters supporting the school from parents and nearby residents and only three from opponents, Henry said.

"The school had widespread support and provides a service to the community," Henry said. "Allowing it to remain open won't open Pandora's box because we'll take other proposals to open businesses on a case-by-case basis."

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