This letter is in support of the article, “Residents fighting trade
school (Aug. 30).” As a Burbank homeowner just a few doors down from
the Magnolia Boulevard construction site, I am opposed to the zoning
variance that will allow the Los Angeles Recording Workshop trade
school to operate, 16 hours per day in two shifts, seven days per
week, which is currently prohibited by Los Angeles code. The property
is in Los Angeles, but bordered on two sides by the city of Burbank.
I am also opposed to any “scaled-down” version the developer may
try to sneak by to mitigate parking concerns. No plans for a
scaled-down version have been submitted to the community.
Developer Christopher Knight’s history is to mislead the community
to gain support for his variance requests. He told residents in July
that his trade school will have 60 students per shift, but documents
filed with the Planning Commission indicated there will be a total of
155-160 per shift. He submitted building plans for a
36,000-square-foot building with a seating capacity of over 450 per
shift, as determined by independent construction experts and
recording studio managers.
The section of the zoning code that prohibits trade schools also
prohibits high schools, elementary schools, museums, hotels, motels
and other businesses with high density and “transient occupancy”
characteristics that are inappropriate for a residential
neighborhood. Granting a variance for any size trade school will set
a precedent that will make it easier for subsequent variances to be
granted, as written into the L.A. city charter. Just look at the area
of Magnolia west of Cahuenga for an example of what a zoning variance
can do. The current zoning code protects our neighborhood, and it
should not be changed.
The increased traffic density, lack of parking, late night
operating hours, loitering and increase in crime will be detrimental
to the property values, lifestyle and welfare of our residential
community. The Burbank City Council has stated its opposition, as has
Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, the Greater Toluca Lake
Neighborhood Council and Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Burbank).
The decision is in the hands of Los Angeles Associate Zoning
Administrator Jon S. Perica, who is expected to make his decision on
the variances requested by Knight soon. I urge Burbank and Los
Angeles residents and business owners in the impacted area to contact
Mr. Perica and Los Angeles council member LaBonge with their
opposition to the zoning variances.