Raymond Arjmand has wanted to open a billiard parlor in Reseda so badly that he fought opposition by police, the Reseda Chamber of Commerce and City Councilwoman Laura Chick.
Now, with his proposed business just one step away from being nixed entirely by Los Angeles planning officials, he is debating whether it’s worth continuing.
“People’s perception of a billiard parlor is that these are dark places where there’s drinking,” said Arjmand, land-use consultant for the businessman, Grigor Ter-Nersesian, who said the proposal is falling victim to the misconception that pool halls are shady.
“People don’t understand it’s a sport for yuppie-class-type people in today’s world,” he said.
Ter-Nersesian received the first setback to the proposed billiard hall last week when Los Angeles city zoning administrator Albert Landini denied his request for a permit on the site, ruling its parking lot might become “a trouble spot.” The denial becomes final Sept. 9 unless Ter-Nersesian appeals.
Arjmand said Ter-Nersesian is still considering whether to do that.
Opponents say the billiard hall, proposed on the site of a former furniture store at 18220 Sherman Way, would be one more blow to the already deteriorating neighborhood around the intersection of Reseda Boulevard and Sherman Way, where pawnshops compete with empty storefronts.
According to planning documents, Los Angeles police officials oppose the billiard hall because of its location in the most crime-ridden pocket of Reseda. The neighborhood has 46% more crime incidents yearly than the rest of Reseda, the documents said.
Neighbors in the area “are worried about people hanging out,” said Denise Binder, district planning deputy to Councilwoman Chick. “There are a lot of liquor stores in that area . . . a lot of vandalism and loiterers.”
A billiard hall “does attract a certain type of person,” said Tom Hilborn, president of the Reseda Chamber of Commerce. “There was inadequate security for it.”