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Hearing Reviews Drug Care Center’s Record

Despite past criticism, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon recommended only minor modifications Monday to an operating permit for a drug abuse treatment center in Lake View Terrace.

The recommendations came at the city zoning administrator’s hearing on the Phoenix House’s performance during its first three years in operation.

Although Alarcon was a strong opponent of the center before it opened in 1993, he said Phoenix House has not generated too many complaints with neighbors.

“Their performance has improved greatly,” he said.

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In the past, neighbors and some city officials worried that teens living and taking classes at the center on a voluntary basis would create crime and noise problems.

Since it opened, police say, there have been a few incidents of youths climbing the fences to leave the center. But police could not link the teens to any crime problem in the area.

Still, Alarcon recommended that the city’s zoning administrator require Phoenix House to improve security around the perimeter, add landscaping to screen the outside view of the facility and sponsor an annual community open house, among other suggestions.

But not everyone shares Alarcon’s view on the center. Sandy Hubbard, a neighbor of the center and past president of the Lake View Terrace Improvement Assn., said she and other neighbors would like the city to revoke the center’s operating permit.

“We didn’t want it before and we still don’t want it,” she said.

Hubbard said she and other neighbors have complained about teenagers leaving the grounds of the facility and trespassing on adjacent property.

She suggested that the facility be required to hire armed guards, among other additional security measures.

After a lengthy hearing attended by nearly two dozen nearby residents, Zoning Administrator Daniel Green said he would decide within three weeks whether to impose any new conditions on Phoenix House.

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