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SYLMAR : Activists, Builder to Discuss Development

Community activists and a Bel-Air developer are scheduled to meet tonight to try to settle differences over a proposed 84-unit development at the edge of an equestrian-zoned residential neighborhood.

The meeting comes at the request of the city Planning Commission, which has delayed its decision on the rezoning request until Dec. 9.

Residents hope to persuade developer and attorney Mark Armbruster to scale back his proposal for 84 duplex and triplex homes on Foothill Boulevard east of Glenoaks Boulevard, the former site of Cacho’s Nursery. To construct the complex, Armbruster is seeking to rezone the area for a higher housing density.

But residents, most of them horse owners, say the development will ruin the rural atmosphere of Sylmar and create traffic problems for users of bridle paths. They also say that new residents are sure to complain about horse stalls nearby, and eventually push them out.

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The residents say they are willing to compromise by letting Armbruster build single-family, one-story detached homes on small lots, but not the dense two-story proposal he wants.

“At some point, it gets down to the fact that this is what we have to live with, so any compromise on our part is significant,” said Stephanie Goodrich, a horse owner who lives behind Armbruster’s Foothill property. “We’re just asking him to sacrifice some profit. We have to live with this for 20 years or more.”

Armbruster said he is willing to tailor his plans, but will not be able to break even by building detached homes on spacious lots. In addition, he has promised to require buyers to sign agreements stipulating that they will not try to push out nearby horse facilities after they purchase the homes.

Armbruster also wants to build 36 housing units on Dronfield Avenue, but has not scheduled a meeting with residents in that neighborhood. Both developments will be considered together by the Planning Commission at its meeting next week.

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Tonight’s meeting on the Foothill Boulevard project will be held at 7 p.m. at the office of Communications Technical School, 13870 Foothill Blvd.


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