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Mixed-use can be a mixed bag

Ben Godar

Mixing homes and businesses in the same complex has been successful,

city officials said, but it sometimes requires a bit of give-and-take

from residents and merchants.


City Principal Planner Joy Forbes is working on the Burbank

Village Walk development, which combines 140 apartments with

restaurants and other businesses. She said the combination has proved

compatible at two mixed-use complexes designated for senior living --


Golden Palms, in the 200 block of East Palm Avenue, and Silver Winds,

at the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and Third Street.

“It works really well, particularly in a downtown area,” she said.

“The only time we have a problem is with the noise.”

Forbes said mixed-use developments are growing in popularity

primarily because many people are tired of having to drive every time

they need to go out.

Tom Tunnicliffe, whose company Thomas Realty owns Golden Palms,


said a few noise complaints have been reported since the complex

opened in June 1990. Most residents understand the noise is part of

living in the downtown area, he said.

“The trade-off is the cheaper rent and proximity to services,”

Tunnicliffe said, adding that his rental contracts alert tenants to

the noise that might arise from living in a downtown area.

But not all residents feel the convenience balances out the noise.

Tim Shordon, who moved into Golden Palms in December, said even with


earplugs he can’t block the noise at 2 a.m. when Gitana Restaurant,

260 E. Magnolia Blvd., clears out.

“You don’t build a club like that underneath or around facilities

used for housing people,” he said.

In order to move into the building, Gitana’s owners had to agree

to a number of restrictions as part of a conditional-use permit,

Senior Planner Michael Forbes said. Among other things, the permit

does not allow outside music after 10 p.m. and requires the club to

provide security guards for the residential level of the nearby

parking structure.

At the Burbank Village Walk, which is planned for the northeast

corner of San Fernando Road and Angeleno Avenue, planners are hoping

to avoid the friction that can develop between a bar and an apartment

complex. Forbes said it would be difficult for a nightclub to move

into the proposed building.

“We wouldn’t deny it outright, but there would be some serious

conditions placed on them,” she said.

Developers hope instead to attract a restaurant chain to the


As developers try to make the blending of housing and commerce

more seamless, Tunnicliffe said mixed-use buildings are not likely to

go away.

“It’s been a time-tested way for people to live over centuries,”

he said.