My objective in developing and monitoring this site is to insure that Our Neighborhood is informed about the developments regarding this expansion.   EIR rules require that notifications be sent to an area of only 500′ around the site.  With the Freeway on one side, the mall on the East side and Trader Joes on the north the number of residents notified is minimal (somewhere less than 100 buildings). I live within that radius so I will do everything I can to notify as many people as possible of what is happening.  I will accept as much help as offered.  Just drop me a line thru this site and I will add you to my list.  This initial “Notice of Environment Impact Report Scope” for the meeting came with less than 2 weeks notice.  I anticpate that this planning process will take some time to develop.  This is a long term process.

I don’t fool myself into thinking that this project can be stopped.   IMT owns a property that is over 8 acreas in a highly valuable location.  By any standard it is under-developed and there is a bucket of money being left on the table.  They have a right to take advantage of their asset.

However the proposed development creates such density and asks for so many variances of current zoning that it will significantly change the character of the neighborhood.  I am not an activist NIMBY.  I respect the rights of property owners to make the best use of their property.  However, their rights cannot unduly impact my rights.

When I bought my house:

  • I was aware I lived down the street from a park.  I now accept the negative and positive impacts of the park
  • I knew I lived near a very busy Trader Joes and retail center, I have never complained about the impacts of their customers and staff.
  • I could not miss the fact that the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square was near.  I try to deal with the added holiday traffic with grace (okay, I don’t always succeed at that)
  • The 101 Freeway is an ever prevalent neighbor.  I dust often and realize that there are certain health impacts from the freeway
  • I was not quite so aware of the flight path over the freeway but I now know it was there and that helicopter traffic is a given.
  • And I did know that a commercial office building (Sunkist) was in the mix.  I knew that this property would create certain traffic and impacts upon the enjoyment of my home.

These were all know factors when I purchased my home. My value was affected negatively and positively by these factors.

I knew and accepted what I was getting into.

But here comes IMT wanting to drastically change the rules.  They want variances to:

  • change the zoning from commercial to residential uses.  In most cases this would be a positive development.  In this case, the incredible density of the units, 298 units in a very compact area make it a negative change to be sure.  The residential area bordered by Riverside, Huston, Van Nuys and Hazeltine has less than 200 single family homes.  This area is more than 10 times larger than the proposed 8 acres of Sunkist property.
  • It will require building a large parking garage of over 1,345 parking spaces.  This indicates the huge increase in vehicular traffic this development will dump onto the local streets.  This is already an extremely congested area.  With the mall and the Trader Joes, it can be very problematic, particularly during the holiday seasons. This is yet a further request from the current zoning.  The fuzzy 8.5″x11″ diagram included in the notice does not even show that there will be any traffic lights added to help control this influx of congestion.
  • the mixed use nature of this development is looking to change from their commercial zoning to one that will allow for restaurants.  As would be expected these establishments will want to serve alcohol, yet another zoning and permit change.  The addition of this retail space will bring a whole different type of activity to our neighborhood.
  • the Notice lists “other discretionary and ministerial permits and approvals”.  At this point it is too early for us, the neighbors, to know what other plans IMT has for this development.

The big point here is:  This will almost surely have a negative impact on the livability of our neighborhood, and therefore negatively impact our home values.  All because IMT wants to change the rules and build this massive project.

City policy for changing the rules allows that those affected have a say.  But we have to be active and vocal.  The meeting on July 15, is just the first step in the process.  The neighborhood will need to be involved throughout so that we can minimize the negative impacts.

I intend to do my part by disseminating information and being sure that we are as informed as possible.  This notice came with just 2 weeks notice that the meeting was to take place.  I assume this is within the regulations, but it shows that they are not going out of their way to engage the community.

8 thoughts on “Mission

  1. Anne Friel

    I am well versed in the development process and this is an excellent time for everyone to make reasoned, unemotional comments that will be address in the environmental impact study and report. The upzoning and drastically increased useage will mean that IMT may well be required to make significant changes to the plan they presented last night. The current under utilization vs what is proposed will have a significant negative impact on the neighborhood. We are in a position to ensure that some of the negatives can be mitigated.

    1. Susan Dukow


      Thanks for privately sending me a copy of your letter dated July 22nd. Any chance you can upload or paste and copy the letter you wrote to Sarah Molina-Pearson to this website so other interested parties may see? I think it would be very helpful to those who are less savvy than you to express their concerns in a constructive way.

      I will write privately to you, too but just wanted to suggest as I cruise around here trying to figure out my own plan of attack.


      Your Neighbor on Tilden
      Susan Dukow

  2. Wendy Brogin

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to create this site, as well as handing out the flier that introduced us to this site.

    We set up a similar site, regarding the proposed expansion of Fashion Square, a few years back. We also had small yellow lawn signs. You still may see some on the lawns on Matilija.

    Please advise me how to post a copy of our response to the Notice of Preparation for the project that we emailed to the City today. I handed out copies of this letter, at SONC’s Special Board Meeting, this evening (July 28) to urge SONC to pay careful attention to this project.

    As a reminder to me, and the other followers of this issue, the Land Use Chair suggested that I follow the Land Use Agenda to see when the topic appears at their meeting(s).

    1. Blair Thompson Post author

      Thank you so much Wendy. Unfortunately this all came to me so late that there is only so much we can do. I think we have made a significant impact considering. Thank you for passing out these fliers to SONC. We do not yet have a strong tie to them like we do to SOHA. I have mixed messages about their stance on it so if you have an understanding I would like to be set straight so I am accurate. If you could let me know of anything coming up at SONC I would appreciate it. I need many eyes so we can be most effective.

  3. Elizabeth Andersen

    I was out of town for the IMT presentation. I wish I could have been there. I was at the meeting for the expansion of Fashion Square and had the same feeling as many of you had. They weren’t truthful with their exaggerated plans. I was upset also with the plans for the expansion of Fashion Square. It seems to me that no one remembers that there is MY neighborhood all around these expansions.!! the traffic parking on our street is increased during the Holidays and sales. There are a lot of small children on our streets. There is only Ranchito that has street lights. There are none on my street (Stern Ave) and all the other side streets. The lack of parking for both facilities needs to be adequately addressed. The traffic through this area is already a problem and to cross Riverside at Ranchito is not safe. Please make them see that these issues need to be addressed. This a neighborhood, not an industrial park. Space is limited. Thank you!!

  4. Craig Raines

    Yes I was out of town for the last mtg….The EIR will allow for public comment though often those comments unless carrying a large collective weight get mitigated with trivial measures….The traffic study could bear out some redesign too…also in the EIR they have to provide alternatives……The egress and ingress onto the site could be problematic and if this project goes through I will never ever step foot into trader joes..

    BTW I am a landscape architect with Recreation and Parks Advance Planning and I live on 4817 Tyrone ave.

  5. Sarah Ray

    Thank you so much for creating this site. I have been unable to attend any meetings, but thanks to a template from Wendy, I voiced concerns to Ryu’s office. Anything I can do to help the team spread the news to other neighbors please let me know. I have a graphic design background as well as a formal education in interior design (and some landscape architecture).

    IMT really has an opportunity to do something great with the site. They could choose to incorporate a design that complements the Sunkist building and references the history of the area. I don’t have much hope looking at the designs of their current recent constructions, but I’m not opposed to making a lot of noise about it.


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