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Temple’s bid for expansion denied

Paul Clinton

CIVIC CENTER -- A bid by Temple Emanu El to build a two-story addition

to its nursery school was denied by the Burbank Planning Board following

loud protests by some of the temple’s neighbors.

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During Monday’s hearing, the board voted 4-0 -- with Carolyn Berlin

abstaining -- to deny the temple’s request to build the 5,402-square-foot

facility. However, the board indicated that it would be willing to accept

a revised version of the project if it proves to be a better fit for the

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neighborhood.

After listening to about a dozen residents air their concerns about

the planned addition to the temple, which is at 407 Bethany Road, board

members voted to reject the project based on what they said were concerns

over increased traffic and the building’s size.

“It would certainly dwarf the other buildings in the neighborhood,”

board member Gary Olson said. “This just seems overwhelming.”

Nevertheless, board members invited the temple to resubmit a scaled

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down proposal.

“I’m disappointed but I understand,” temple representative Ira Lippman

said. “We’ll go back an develop a proposal that’s acceptable.”

Temple Emanu El has two uses in mind for the new facility, Lippman

said. The temple will run a nursery school on the first floor, for

children from three to five years old, and religious classes on the

second, for children seven to 13.

About 30 residents from three streets in the temple’s vicinity --

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Bethany, Amherst Drive and Cornell Drive -- showed up to oppose the

project. Wearing lapel stickers with their street addresses printed in

black pen, many said the project would reduce their property values.

“This structure is like a hand reaching into my bank account and

removing tens of thousands of dollars,” Stephen Miller said. “This is

going to totally disrupt our lives.”

The residents were represented by attorney Bill Rudell, Burbank’s

mayor from 1975 to 1976. Rudell said the project was a business, not a

religious school.

“What we really have here is a commercial structure to be built in a

residential neighborhood,” Rudell said.

Despite Rudell’s public statements, board members said the project

would help fill a crucial need for day-care services in the city.

But Tim Crowner said the temple wasn’t being sensitive to his needs

and the needs of other neighbors.

“They really have not worked with the neighborhood,” Crowner said. “I

really think these folks should go back to the drawing board.”

Lippman said the temple invited residents to a recent meeting to

discuss the project. He gave no timetable as to when the temple would

resubmit a revised plan to the board.


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