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WOODLAND HILLS : Crowd Opposes Plan for Closed School

A sometimes unruly crowd of about 75 Woodland Hills residents Monday opposed the planned use of a closed school for job training and child care, programs that many said would bring too much noise and traffic to their quiet neighborhood.

But representatives of the Los Angeles Unified School District, who last year leased out parts of Charles Evans Hughes Junior High School--at 5607 Capistrano St.--and four other West Valley schools, said the impact on the neighborhood would be minimal. And they said the district, which nearly went bankrupt last fiscal year, needs the $44,000 it receives each year from the lease.

Associate Zoning Administrator Horace Tramel is expected to decide in the next few weeks whether to grant a permit for the programs.

At a packed hearing in Van Nuys, freshman Los Angeles City Councilwoman Laura Chick and about a dozen homeowners told Tramel that the proposal by the Los Angeles-based Social Services Network Inc. to open Hughes Junior High to as many as 250 adult job trainees and 120 children was ill-conceived.

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The planned program “was thrust upon the community without any community input,” Chick said. “The community feels burned, and the applicant wonders why there is so much opposition to it.”

She said the school district’s revenues from the deal would be outweighed by the disruption in the neighborhood caused by the planned use of the school on Saturdays and as late as 10 on weeknights.

But representatives of Social Services Network and the school district, who were heckled repeatedly by the residents, said the impact on the neighborhood would be slight compared to the reopening of Hughes to more than 1,000 students, which they said could happen by the year 2000.

Under the terms of the five-year lease and the requested city permit, 15% of the school grounds would be used by the private agency, which would be responsible for maintenance and for providing parking for employees and clients on campus.

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