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Land Developer Hires New Architect and Seeks Community Input for a More “Village Friendly” Housing Development for 3234-3274 Casitas Ave

Land developer Avo Tavitian has abandoned efforts to build a 90 unit housing complex at 3234-3274 Casitas Ave and is now seeking to build a smaller housing development at the site. Mr. Tavitian has hired a new architect, Rzea Hadaegh and is currently seeking community input to help develop a housing proposal more in scale with Atwater’s “village ambiance”.

At a January 31st fact-finding meeting Avo Tavitian and his new architect, met with long time resident Sandra Caravella and with Luis Lopez, a local merchant.

At the meeting, Mrs. Caravella and Mr. Lopez shared the results from the online survey conducted by Friends of Atwater Village (FAV) with regards to the original Casitas Ave 90 unit housing proposal. This included a survey result summary and a copy of general comments made by the survey participants.

Both Mr. Tavitian and Mr. Hadaegh expressed willingness to seek additional community input from the various community groups and residents directly affected by any housing development prior to finalizing a new housing proposal for 3234-3274 Casitas Ave.

It is unclear at this time the manner in which the community input will be solicited, what the new proposed housing development would consist of or when it would be presented to the community for review.

About the FAV Online Casitas Ave Housing Project Survey

In January 2006, FAV conducted an online survey on the Casitas 90 unit housing proposal for 3234-3274 Casitas Ave as originally presented at the December 14th, 2006 AVNC Board Meeting. See Casitas Ave ‘Mega’ Housing Project Presentation at AVNC Meeting (12.14.2006)”.

Survey Results

Ninety-one percent (91%) responded that they would not support a variance for a zone change to allow the construction of a 90 unit complex on the site in question; 6% responded that they did not know and 3% responded that they would support the variance or zone change.

When asked what concerns, if any, would they have about a 90 unit apartment complex being built in Atwater Village the top 5 concerns were that 1) it would encourage further high density housing development in Atwater Village, 2) violate the “village” ambiance in Atwater Village, 3) increase population density, 4) traffic congestion along Casitas Ave and 5) create parking problems.

When asked what they would like to see at 3234-3274 Casitas Ave instead, 39% responded that they would like to see more single family homes, 31% responded that they would like to see a park or other community oriented uses, 13% responded that they would like to see small or mid scale housing, 8% responded that they would like the site to continue as a parking lot, 4% responded that they would like the site used for other uses, 3% responded that they did not know and 2% responded that they would like large scale housing on the site. 

A selection of general comments submitted in the survey:

“There is a need for housing in Los Angeles and I am not opposed to community friendly projects. I am however deeply opposed to large scale projects in such a small scale neighborhood. The zone change is the main issue. Corporate housing development is just waiting to take advantage to potentially utilize our area for total redevelopment. One variance will lead to another. I would hate to see what happened to the once charming residential areas of Glendale happen to Atwater. I am also deeply concerned about why the neighborhood council arrived at their decision without first polling the area residents.” - Debra Kaplan

“I prefer maintaining the single family residential character of the village, but I am not adamantly opposed to a small (30 or less) residential development. However, I would want the design to reflect the California bungalow design aesthetic of (most) of the village.” - Ronald Cronce

“I do not want to see Atwater change from primarily single family residences to a congested and ugly neighborhood with a dearth of parking, like Glendale has become.” - Donna Rodriguez

“If this housing project is going to be built for LOW INCOME FAMILYS I’m all for it. I've been living in Atwater 25 yrs (whole life) and I remember when my mother would pay $250 for the rent for the apt. on 3302 casitas ave and now try run for over $1000.00. Atwater is a beautiful community and if the complex is to help low-income families then I’m all for it. if this project doesn’t go though I high think there should be park our community center like chevy chase park to keep our kid occupied. Thank you” - Amanda Verdugo

“Apartments at this location will negatively affect property values in Atwater- I would like to encourage the single family home atmosphere that brought me here 6 years ago.” -  Kristi Frankenheimer

“Housing has boomed in LA for the last five years, all at the expense of commercial real estate. To support residential, we need sufficient commercial and industrial properties. Keeping the parking lots will assist in retaining businesses along the railroad side of Casitas.” - David Eder

“I would only support a smaller housing project than the one proposed if it included affordable housing programs. We have to begin to look at solutions that end the homelessness in this country. If there were an affordable housing program offered within this housing development, I might consider supporting a project similar of smaller scale! People first!” - Mary Leslie Ishii and James Wesley Mann

“Why the constant effort to push development outside of the charter? Didn't we make our point on the Perlita variance requests?? The infrastructure can't support it, so tell me when to ask for time off, so we can all go to city hall.” - Lisa S. Pozo

“Right now, I feel comfortable living in a neighborhood where children can play safely on the streets outside their homes. If an apartment complex, like the one described, were to be built, I am afraid to lose that safe environment. With the increase of traffic, a chain reaction could start which would end up in a neighborhood with less parking, more traffic congestion, and streets less safe for children, and their families, to call their own.” – Carla Tott

“We need to keep this neighborhood a real "neighborhood". We need to keep the village resident friendly, and to keep large developments from creeping in.” - Sharlene Carlson

“NO LETTER OF SUPPORT ! Even 30 units will be a stress on resources. Try driving on San Fernando Road between Fletcher and Glendale/Brand in the evening--unbelievable traffic. And that is WITHOUT the increase in traffic which will occur when construction of the Community College and Home Depot is completed at which time traffic on San Fernando at Fletcher will become even worse.” - Helena Solomaho

“My first choice would be the park or other community-oriented use. However, there is a severe shortage of affordable housing in the city, Atwater included, and a traffic-conscious development with 30 or less units that fits the current zoning would also be acceptable to me if parking, traffic, noise, and height were all considered carefully by the developers.” - Catherine Murphy 

“As a 31-year resident and homeowner, I want AV to remain as "Village-like" as possible. THANK YOU!!!!!” - Lois Jeanne Comeau