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High school neighbors aim to unite

EAST GLENDALE — Tucked in to the living room of an upstairs apartment Wednesday night, a half-dozen neighbors of Glendale High School plotted their strategy in gaining a foothold against what they say are negative impacts from sports fields — to become a homeowners association.

Pointing to the success of the city’s older, much larger associations in fighting off perceived negative neighborhood developments, the residents began strategizing a new avenue for their yearlong quest to undo the increased noise, street and crowd pollution they say a multimillion-dollar investment in the school’s stadium and sports fields brought on in 2005.

“It’s never been this bad,” said Cynthia Nettles, who lives on Orange Grove Avenue behind Moyse Field.

A noticeable increase in field and stadium use — and the change in the neighborhood that it has produced — pushed a few residents to bring their complaints to the City Council, namely Linda Lilaian, who started a series of slide presentations on the impacts at every City Council meeting for several weeks in May and April.

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The note-and-file response Lilaian said she got from the council fed a frustration that culminated during a joint meeting Aug. 15 between the Glendale Unified School District Board and the City Council, where field users showed up en masse to counter what they said was a minority complaint.

School district officials have said that neighbors should have realized it would be part of living next door to a large high school.

“They thought I was alone,” Lilaian said.

Lilaian’s neighbors gathered Wednesday night to create what they said would be a new sense of legitimacy in an atmosphere at City Hall that seems to take notice of organized groups of homeowners — or potential voting blocs — over individual issues.

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“I think it’ll bring a huge sense of legitimacy,” said Norbert Style, who lives near the school.

If formed, their group would be the 20th homeowners association in the city, according to a 2007 Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council treasurer’s report.

The vast majority of those associations cover north Glendale and have been established for years.

For the most established — and well-organized — their voices and knowledge of city government can be effective in carrying out their agendas.

On Monday, the Glenoaks Homeowners Assn. successfully appealed the needed conditional-use permit for a proposed hillside home that it argued would negatively affect the neighborhood — effectively stopping the project in its tracks.

The property owner in that case said he would file an appeal to that decision with the City Council.

And in July, city crews cut down the basketball hoops at Brand Park just two days after a contingent of mothers representing the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Assn. demanded their removal, arguing they attracted crime.

Linda Barney, a Glendale attorney whowas at the meeting to advise the group along with community activist Barry Allen, said forming the association would take about a month once the process started.

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 JASON WELLS covers City Hall. He may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at jason.wells@latimes.com.


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