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Ranch Plans Bigger Elder-Care Facility

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Bettina Thompson is proud of her home of 20 years.

Situated on a 10-acre ranch in rural Chatsworth, she now wants to share it--with a few dozen dogs, cats, horses and the elderly.

Thompson is hoping to expand her current six-bed elder-care facility and build a large ranch house for 36 people. She also hopes to maintain stables and kennels to house as many as 50 horses, 50 dogs and 25 cats.

She said she’s owned Country Oaks Estates for two years.

The city zoning administrator approved the project in a February public hearing. Since then, Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson, who represents the area, has filed an appeal.

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Francine Oschin, an assistant to Bernson, said the councilman is concerned about traffic and too much activity on the property at 23000 Santa Susana Pass Road.

“It’s a tremendous impact in the area,” she said.

The property is zoned for agricultural use. Currently, the San Fernando Valley Herding Assn. teaches classes for sheep-herding dogs there several times a week. Adults and children also take riding lessons on the property.

“It gives the seniors something to look at and do,” said Robert Lamishaw, president of JPL Zoning Services Inc. of Van Nuys, who is representing Thompson. “It keeps the seniors mentally and physically active so they don’t just sit there, grow old and die, but they have a quality of life.”

The kennel will not be used for public boarding of animals. An international dog show judge, Thompson houses dogs on her property. The kennel would also house the residents’ animals.

“It’s traumatic for them to give up their home, but to give up their pet as well--that’s really hard,” she said.

The city Board of Zoning Appeals will hold a public hearing on the matter at 11:30 a.m. July 1, at 201 N. Figueroa St., Room 170 in downtown Los Angeles.

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