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L.A. City Council approves construction of Sherman Oaks synagogue despite years of neighbors protest.


A day after the L.A. City Council approved a synagogue expansion for the second time, neighbors critical of the Sherman Oaks facility said they will closely monitor its operations.

Neighbors warring over Chabad

of North Hollywood expansion

project

“Why are you doing this?” Abend demanded, turning to confront his neighbor. “You’re either doing this out of love or hate,” he added, his eyes bright with anger. “And I don’t think it’s love.”
The cause of the dispute loomed directly behind the men: Steel beams, concrete walls, and a faded drawing of what Chabad of North Hollywood’s new compound will look like – if it’s completed as planned.
In August, a judge sided with Chabad opponents who argue the city broke its own planning rules in approving the 12,000-square- foot building in a residential neighborhood.
Now, the City Council will have to reconsider the project it approved in 2009. It could sign off on it again – allowing the growing congregation to complete construction – or bow to the chorus of discontent from nearby homeowners and recommend downsizing the compound.
Opponents have argued the Chabad of North Hollywood expansion, which includes a new Hebrew school, synagogue, lecture area, and playground, is too large with too little parking for their leafy stretch of Chandler Boulevard, where homes start at $1 million.
Supporters say a larger building is needed, but an abundance of parking spaces is unnecessary because observant Jews walk to the synagogue on the Sabbath. What’s really fueling the opposition, said some supporters of Chabad, is a fear that Orthodox families will dominate the neighborhood.
Neighbors of Chabad of North Hollywood are unhappy with the construction of the building along Chandler Boulevard.
Jeff Gantman, one of several opponents living near Chabad of North Hollywood, said he was disappointed with the council’s unanimous decision Wednesday allowing a 12,000-square-foot building that is partially built to resume construction.
The facility, at the corner of Chandler Boulevard and Ethel Avenue, will replace a much smaller space that no longer accommodates the growing Orthodox Jewish congregation. Gantman and other opponents of the project were angered by Councilman Paul Koretz’s motion permitting the 28-foot-high project to move forward.
“We will be working with the new councilman’s office to ensure that the conditions put in place to mitigate this project’s impact on the neighborhood are followed correctly,” Gantman said.
Critics said the synagogue is too big for their residential neighborhood. After years of legal wrangling, they won a court decision saying the city erred in its first approval process. That necessitated a second approval vote this week.
Chabad supporters turned out in force at Wednesday’s hearing and broke out in applause after the vote.  >>>MORE<<<

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