In this tight-knit community of tree-lined streets and horse stables,
residents have grown uneasy at the sight of an unwelcome neighbor.
A six-bedroom residential-care facility for abused children is
going up at 753 S. Mariposa St., and neighbors say they are powerless
to do anything about it.
“We’re not against what this is for,” said Pamela Munson, who has
lived in the 700 block of Mariposa Street for the past 12 years.
“What we’re against is that we as taxpayers have no voice in how this
facility is run or structured.”
Under California law, community-care facilities that house six or
fewer people -- including drug- and alcohol- recovery homes and
child-care centers -- are licensed and regulated by the state and
exempt from local jurisdiction.
“As long as the facility meets state laws, there isn’t anything
the city can do to prevent them,” said Art Bashmakian, Burbank’s
assistant community development director. “Basically, [community-care
facilities] can’t be treated any different than single-family
Paula Kibby and her husband own nearby Riverside Cafe, and have
lived on Mariposa for two years. She said she didn’t learn about the
facility until workers started leveling the existing two-bedroom
house a few months ago.
“I think it’s going to compromise the property values and the
quality of living in this community,” she said. “I do believe there
is a need for facilities for kids, but I believe there is a different
way to go about it.”
The owners of what will be called Vagthois Residential Care Center
Inc., Narcisco S. and Anecia C. Seisa of Los Angeles, could not be
reached for comment Tuesday. They own four other community-care
centers -- three in Los Angeles and one at 418 Mariposa St. in
Burbank that serves mentally challenged children.
Munson and other residents, meanwhile, have enlisted the support
of the Burbank City Council and local legislators in hopes of
changing or amending existing state laws.
“I do understand both sides of the issue,” Councilwoman Marsha
Ramos said. “People in recovery have a right to live in a residential
neighborhood. But when the city has absolutely no say, you can turn
the nature of a single-family residential neighborhood into one that
is commercial, and that is just not right.”
In response to neighborhood concerns, Assemblyman Dario Frommer
(D-Burbank) has asked the state’s legislative counsel for a legal
opinion to find out whether legislation can be crafted to give local
governments discretion over the placement and density of such
“One of the reasons the laws were written this way was to stop
cities from locking out these types of facilities,” Frommer said
Tuesday. “What we’re trying to do is strike a balance.”
Jim Voohees has lived on Mariposa since 1962. He says that while
he is sympathetic to the needs of children, his neighborhood is
unique and he wants it to stay that way.
“There is a feeling that we haven’t got a voice in our own
government, which is not American in my opinion,” Voohees said.
“This idea of the state coming in and preempting the privilege of
the citizen to know what’s going on is almost discriminatory.”