More than 40 Sylmar homeowners deluged a Los Angeles Planning Commission hearing officer Tuesday with complaints about two developments that they say will ruin one of the city's last equestrian enclaves.
Developer Mark Armbruster gave assurances that he will erect single-family homes or duplex townhouses, but the zoning changes he has asked for permit condominiums.
Armbruster's plans include a 36-unit single-family home complex on Dronfield Avenue between Taylor and Bledsoe streets, and an 84-unit duplex and triplex project on Foothill Boulevard east of Glenoaks Boulevard.
"The city calls them condominiums," Armbruster said, referring to the Foothill Boulevard project. "They will be, in this case, single-family homes with one common wall."
In addition to allowing houses on smaller lots than the current regulations permit, condominium zoning also would allow private streets and a gated community, he added.
Horse owners fear the added traffic from the complexes will make riding to nearby trails impossible and shatter the rural character of their neighborhood.
"Their intent today might be to put in these nice two-family homes," Frank Freeman countered at the hearing in the Van Nuys Woman's Club. "But that does not mean that will be their intention two weeks or two years from now."
Armbruster, however, assured that he will tie his zoning request to a promise to build the single-family homes on Dronfield Avenue and the duplex-triplex mixture on Foothill Boulevard.
Hearing Officer Patricia Brown said she hopes to issue a recommendation to the commission by Nov. 18.