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Council OKs Plan Limiting Ventura Blvd. Development

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A sweeping plan to limit future commercial projects along Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley, imposing tens of millions of dollars in fees on developers to pay for measures to speed traffic, was approved Friday by the Los Angeles City Council.

The 13-0 vote on the Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan ended a five-year campaign to control growth along the thoroughfare--the Valley’s “main street.”

It enacts a series of controls on the size, height and uses of buildings along the 17-mile boulevard from Woodland Hills to Studio City.

Supporters say the plan will block the kind of high-rise office developments that have changed the boulevard’s small-town ambience in some areas in recent years and encourage pedestrian-oriented uses.

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“It’s been a long time coming and at last we have a plan that’s meaningful and significant,” said Councilman Marvin Braude.

A series of last-minute amendments drew fire from both homeowner activists and developers.

Attorney Ben Reznik, who represents many developers along the strip, said Friday that at least one of his clients will sue to block the plan. Reznik said an “urgency” provision approved Friday prevents one of his clients from starting a $25-million commercial project at the corner of Woodman and Ventura boulevards.

Reznik said his client, Jacky Gamliel, who owns a parcel at the corner of Woodman and Ventura, was only a few days away from obtaining a building permit to begin construction and that the urgency clause introduced by Councilman Mike Woo was designed solely to block Gamliel’s project.

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Woo has previously labored hard to block Gamliel’s project but denied that the clause was aimed at him.

“It’d be ironic if Woo’s urgency clause were to result in a lawsuit that blocks the entire plan,” Reznik warned.

Meanwhile, Gerald Silver, president of Homeowners of Encino, blasted the council for granting an exemption to an Encino project proposed by developer Jonah Goldrich. “It’s a sellout,” Silver said of a last-minute agreement between Goldrich and Braude’s office that allows the developer to build a 335,000-square-foot commercial complex at the corner of Hayvenhurst and Ventura.


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