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Sherman Oaks : Plan Calls for Growth on Ventura Boulevard

A proposal to update Los Angeles’ master plan for development calls for focusing growth in Sherman Oaks along Ventura Boulevard, with two pockets of development that would attract shoppers from throughout the region and create a town center for local residents.

The proposal, adopted by the city Planning Commission about two weeks ago, calls for establishing a “regional center” along Ventura between Balboa Boulevard and Columbus Avenue, where malls and large professional office buildings would attract customers from throughout Los Angeles.

The proposal, which must be approved by the City Council, encourages the conversion of first-floor office space to such uses as cafes, boutiques and newsstands to make the locale more pedestrian-oriented.

Emily Gabel, senior city planner, said she does not anticipate significant new construction in the area because it is mostly built out.

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The proposal would also create a “community center” around the intersection of Ventura and Van Nuys boulevards.

The community center would serve as the focal point of Sherman Oaks and could include shops, restaurants, theaters, professional offices, libraries, historic buildings and apartments above storefronts.

Homeowner activists contend that the proposed plan encourages large-scale development that they claim will ruin their neighborhoods.

But Gabel emphasized that the Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan’s limits on height, density and land use will take precedence over the General Plan Framework when it comes to local development.

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The General Plan Framework will be the topic of a community meeting sponsored by the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. on Wednesday.

The meeting will be held at Glendale Federal Bank, 13300 Ventura Blvd., and will start at 8 p.m.


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