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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Court Rules Against North Hollywood Chabad House

Neighbors of Chabad of North Hollywood are unhappy with the construction of the building along Chandler Boulevard.

A lengthy dispute over plans by the Chabad House to build a 12,000-square-foot synagogue in the middle of a Sherman Oaks residential neighborhood continued to generate controversy on Tuesday.

The City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee was advised the courts have overruled the city's permits for the project - siding with residents who argue the project is too large for the area.

The committee, however, made no recommendation on the next steps, referring the matter to the full City Council for consideration. No hearing date was set.

Chabad House has been continuing work on the site at 13079 Chandler Blvd. at its own risk, Planning Director Michael LoGrande said.

“They are taking a gamble that we won't force it to be torn down,” LoGrande said.

Chabad House attorney Ben Reznik said the city needs to make a technical correction to its findings allowing the construction.

“This is not too big for the area,” Reznik said. “This is right up against the Orange Line and has terrific landscaping. It will not intrude on the neighborhood.”

However, several members of the West Chandler Boulevard Neighborhood Association said Chabad House took advantage in winning its original approvals from Councilman Jack Weiss in his final days in office.

“It was rammed through and the council didn't give it the full consideration it deserved,” attorney Noel Weiss said. “What we are talking about is following the rules.”

Tess Jones, another resident, said there are a number of problems with the plans, which now include a rooftop terrace, basketball court and playground.

“The city took the developer at his word and they were disingenuous,” Jones said. “The Chabad representatives have said this is not about growth, but that is exactly what it is.”

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