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Homeowners Challenge City Planning Department

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Community Challenges New Development

Submitted by the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization.

It has the potential to be “The Good, The Bad, and possibly The Very Ugly” as City Planning presents their changes for a new Southwest Valley Community Plan that will dramatically impact the communities of Woodland Hills, West Hills, Canoga Park and Winnetka during the June 26th community meeting of the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization (WHHO) which will be Zoomed and available to everyone.

“This is the one meeting every home or condo owner, business owner, or commuter needs to attend and pay attention to because it has the potential to change whole neighborhoods, communities and traffic flows for decades to come,” emphasized WHHO President John Walker. “To view or participate in the free Zoom meeting, all you have to do is go to the WHHO website at www.whho.com and register.”

Walker noted that the Community Plan is the governing map that establishes what zoning, development and improvements can – or will – be made in a particular area of the City. It supposedly factors in all of the requirements of the area’s existing Specific Plans, the new development edicts that are coming out of Sacramento, and existing concerns like high fire hazard areas, Walker explained.

The process to update all of the City’s Community Plans began in 2017. In 2020, the State began establishing a series of mandated land use changes in a helter-skelter attempt to solve the issues of rapidly escalating apartment rents along with the greatly diminished construction of affordable single family homes. Most housing in the Southwest Valley area was built in the 1980s and earlier. In the last five years, housing construction has slacked off, and both City Planning and the nabobs in Sacramento have decided that many neighborhoods of single family homes are the ideal locations to plunk down four, five, six or seven-story low-income apartment buildings—no matter how vehemently a neighborhood complains.

“Frankly, most of the City’s major news resources on TV or in the largest daily newspapers either don’t understand the potential impacts to most of the city’s neighborhoods, or they simply don’t care,” Walker emphasized. “These Community Plans – especially the one being presented for the far West Valley – have the potential to destroy Los Angeles as we know it, and turn the Valley into a giant version of Queens or the Bronx in New York City; only with more traffic, less mass transportation and even fewer opportunities for establishing major employment centers that could provide this population explosion with employment opportunities.”

The WHHO wants to point out that this initial presentation of the Southwest Valley Community Plan is just one facet of the enormous changes that may be in-store for us. There are a great number of important issues and questions that will probably go unanswered or not fully explained because they are being handled by other groups dealing with the City’s Citywide Housing Incentive Program (CHIP) in the Planning Department. These groups–who have not shared their determinations or specific recommendations with this Community Plan group—will still have all of their un-shared changes and edicts included in the final version of the new Southwest Valley Community Plan.

“In our initial research into the proposed allowances, changes and modifications for zoning and parking, we have determined that not only will the entire mix of development along Ventura Blvd. and Topanga Canyon Blvd. (up to the start of the hills) be turned upside-down, but that the new Plan may launch a deluge of high apartment complexes right in the middle of single family communities that are 3 or 4 blocks from those main traffic corridors,” Walker noted. “We also are looking for explanations as to the proposed “do whatever you want development allowances” for properties owned by faith-based organizations. The community is legally entitled to know the specific rules proposed, project allowances and developer deterrence’s before the Community Plan ever goes into effect.

The WHHO President stated that because there are still major issues that need to be brought into the light, the WHHO will try to entice the other people heading those CHIP groups to make a presentation to the West Valley community. He also recommended that for more detailed information on this, to Google: Fact Sheet, Citywide Housing Incentive Program (CHIP), CPC-2023-7068-CA. It is a 12-page fact sheet/explanation of how City Planning intends to use the Sacramento dictated zoning/building parameters for the new Community Plans. You may get mad enough to set your computer on fire, but at least you will have valuable insights into how the Planning Department intends to handle the significant details that no one is discussing. 

Again, the Southwest Valley Community Plan presentation to WHHO will begin at 7:30 PM via Zoom, and you do not have to be a WHHO member to attend. But you will have to register prior to the meeting for the admittance code by going to www.whho.com.


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