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SONC Board Approves Il Villaggio Toscano Project

The Il Villaggio Toscano project will next seek approval from Los Angeles City Council.

The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, by a vote of 7-3, approved the Il Villaggio Toscano residential and retail project at Monday's SONC board meeting.

In its current form, the project, located at the corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Camarillo Street, incorporates 399 dwelling units and 52,000 square-feet for commercial use, which includes a 13,000-square-foot plaza that will run the length of Sepulveda Boulevard. There will also be 1206 parking spaces.

"This is a long journey," said Paul Krueger on behalf of developer M. David Paul. "We’re happy we got an endorsement from the board but we know this is far from over. We’re excited about moving forward with the project and hopefully, others will appreciate it at the city level."

On April 19, less than a month ago, with four key amendments, which became five on Monday night. Those imposed amendments are:

  • The Haul Route Permit hours shall be from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The developer will be allowed to send up to 20 hauling trucks via the 101 freeway westbound to the Sepulveda offramp and south to Camarillo Street, to stage the trucks on the property between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., Monday through Friday. Said trucks will be allowed to load and exit the property via Camarillo Street to Sepulveda Boulevard north to the 101 freeway onramp eastbound between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. No additional trucks will travel to the site or stage in other nearby areas until after 9:30 a.m. Haul trucks will be allowed to load and travel normal routes between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • The building owner/operators will be responsible for landscaping and future maintenance of the landscaping on the strip of land between Sepulveda Boulevard and Little Sepulveda in the area between Camarillo Street and Moorpark Street in a manner consistent with the landscaping on the Il Villaggio Toscano project site. 
  • The final drawings for the Il Villaggio Toscano project will be brought back to the committee to review and approve for consistency with what has been presented. 
  • The configuration of the project is 399 dwelling units; 52,000-square-feet of commercial; a plaza or 13,000-square-feet; 1206 car parking spaces.
  • No billboards or large signage on the property

In addition to the five imposed amendments, there are 18 additional conditions that the developers have agreed to, including making gardens on the property visible to the public, extra pedestrian entrances into retail areas, and the project's two community rooms are made accessible to local organizations, such as SONC and Sherman Oaks Homeowner's Association.

"We purposely engaged the community, specifically the Neighborhood Council, to make sure we have their support," Krueger said of the additional conditions that aim to benefit the community. "It’s all meaningless unless we have their support."

SONC Land Use Committee chairman Ron Ziff, whose vote in support of the project served as the tiebreaker at April's Land Use Committee meeting, said that he remains in favor of the project, even though a majority of public speakers on hand at Monday's meeting were in opposition.

"I feel there are a lot of positive things for the community moving forward with this project," Ziff said. "I look forward to Sherman Oaks continuing to be one of the nicest places in Southern California to live."

"There are always a certain number of people that are completely for new development and some that are completely against it," he added. "It’s the big group in the middle that you have to be concerned with, and I think that they’re willing to be convinced."

Jill Banks Barad, president of the SONC, chose to abstain during the voting process, as the project had already received seven 'yes' votes as opposed to three 'no' votes. 

Barad commented that she was "very conflicted" regarding the project. 

"I think that there are so many people that are against it and I think it’s very dense," Barad said. "The traffic is only going to get worse and you can’t mitigate that traffic."

"I’ve heard from a lot of people that they just think it’s too big," Barad added. "That’s how people describe it, just too big for that area."

Interestingly enough, new fourth district LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge was on hand for the beginning of Monday's meeting, and when asked about the Il Villaggio Toscano project, stated that he was a proponent of smaller developmental projects.

"I haven’t studied the project yet, but just from looking at it, it looks like a little bit more than I would approve," LaBonge said. "But I’ll study it and eventually, it will be coming to me."

A specific outline of the current project can be seen here.

Scott Killeen May 15, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Where else could you sit in on a SONC Executive Board meeting and have a member of the SONC Land Use committee member (Jeff Kalban) in the audience tell you to "shut up"? Jeff Kalban did. He told a resident of Sherman Oaks to "shut up" when a statement was directed towards SONC President Jill Banks Barad for the meeting being out of control with audience members talking to the SONC council members during discussions the board was having.
Sherman Oaks Resident May 15, 2012 at 02:17 PM
"and the project's two community rooms are made accessible to local organizations, such as SONC and Sherman Oaks Homeowner's Association." OF COURSE THEY DID, as long as the Nazi's at t SOHA or SONC get access to continue their ways of bullying people they'll approve anything. God forbid they didn't get access then the project would go into limbo as they did for months with the Ralph's project. These people do nothing for Sherman Oaks but try to keep it in the dark ages, I'm sick of them and mad enough to move out of the area. Because I am a renter, I have no say and cannot join...don't give me the "yes, you can" because I have already asked. Twice. I was told if I *WAS ALLOWED* I would not have a vote nor a voice, so basically they just want my money.
Lisa May 15, 2012 at 04:42 PM
What a traffic nightmare!
Allan May 15, 2012 at 05:50 PM
LOL. and SO Resident goes to Godwin's Rule of argument. Oh, and I believe as a resident of SONC you are a stakeholder.
BJ Killeen May 15, 2012 at 07:19 PM
The entire discussion about more traffic is useless. The traffic that comes down Sepulveda comes from other areas, not Sherman Oaks. The traffic has been bad for years, and who can guarantee that the people who move in there will be going to the westside? If anything, it will make people who live there less likely to be driving more often because they will have facilities on the premises that will require no cars at all. I used to live in Mariners Village in Marina del Rey. We had a dry cleaners, a video store, a grocery store in the complex. It was awesome because we didn't have to leave to get our errands done.
Marty Vergari May 16, 2012 at 04:55 AM
So is SONC in the builders pocket? Did they go down for the count? What's new right? The rest of us will have to suffer even more than we already do with the snarling traffic in this area. Can't you guys make a living without resorting to this sort of thing? Enough already! Like to tell them all to "shut up!"
Marty Vergari May 16, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I'm no hermit! I like to drive my car and I say more residents, more cars, more traffic! Get real!
Marty Vergari May 16, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Traffic comes from BOTH, other areas AND Sherman Oaks! Your argument is not correct - do the numbers BJ
Elke Heitmeyer May 16, 2012 at 04:30 PM
SOHA has been opposed to the excessive size of the project. SOHA is not against reasonable development within the guidelines of the Specific Plan, which had been developed after much thorough thinking and discussion by various elements of government and community. SOHA membership is open to all residents of Sherman Oaks and SOHA welcomes any input. Attendance at the meetings is open to everybody.
BJ Killeen May 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM
So Marty, where are you getting your numbers? Are you part of the problem of commuting and not finding other ways to travel? If traffic is your answer to every counterpoint, there would be zero growth in Sherman Oaks, which is what those who oppose this prefer. How did the mall get built? How did the giant office buildings get built? I heard some of you want a park there. Who's going to pay for that? This bankrupt city of LA that can't even pay to fix potholes and have enough police on the street to protect people? Amazing how if you don't get your way, you accuse the people who volunteer their time to at least attempt to help Sherman Oaks of being in the developer's pocket. What would you have said if it didn't pass? How great they are? If you don't want progress, move to the country and sit in the middle of nowhere with nothing around you.
Marty Vergari May 16, 2012 at 10:22 PM
BJ, One word for you that you never used in your "dancing" here in attempt to defend "your numbers" and that word is MAXIMUM! Sherman Oaks in that area has maximum growth. Get it ? The flaw in your way of thinking is that everything can max out. I loved the growth that led to a Mall, etc. but now we need to "level off".. Se if that makes sense to you BJ. Two new terms to think about - "maximum" and "level off".. Thanks for your response. Marty
Marty Vergari May 17, 2012 at 06:19 AM
I agree 100%~! Traffic is already way bad! Too many apartments reduce the price of our homes too. If folks can live in apt. in Sherman Oaks, why the need to buy a home here? Exclusive non apt residences sell for way more..

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