Sherman Oaks : Concerns Cited Over Mall Renovation Plan

Sherman Oaks residents have expressed concerns at a community meeting over the number of movie screens and what they consider inadequate parking in a proposed Sherman Oaks Galleria renovation project.

At a Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. meeting Wednesday night, mall representatives presented their proposal to spend $30 million to add 13 movie screens--for a total 18--and 27,000 square feet of restaurants, while reducing retail and office space at the mall. About 40 people attended the meeting.

On Monday, the city will hold its first public hearing on the major renovation project. It will be at 1 p.m. at the Sherman Oaks Woman's Club, 4808 Kester Ave.

At Wednesday's meeting, Sharon Mayer, chief field deputy to Councilman Michael Feuer, strove to emphasize the consensus that had been reached on the project among mall owners, local residents and the council office. Mayer said there is more unanimity than recent media reports would lead people to believe. Lucinda Sterritt, an attorney who is representing the mall, agreed.

"We're 90% there," Sterritt said.

Even Gary Holme, a homeowner leader who just last week predicted the mall would push the project "down our throats," toned down his comments, saying, "The key thing is that we're meeting."

But Gerald A. Silver, president of Homeowners of Encino, said he still had reservations. Among them, he said, is that the number of new movie theaters appears to blur the mall's intended retail focus. He also expressed reservations about the number of new liquor licenses and movie screens being considered.

People in the audience voiced fears over convoluted pedestrian access between the mall's six-story parking structure and the proposed theater complex, which would be at opposite ends of the mall. Other concerns cited the number of parking spaces that would be offered, which is less than required by the Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan.

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