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Chabad Development Approved By City Council

Victory for Chabad comes Wednesday with a unanimous decision of the City Council.

It was a victory for Rabbi Abend and his Chabad congregation Wednesday, as the City Council voted 10 to 0 to reapprove the Chabad project, allowing the construction on Chandler Blvd. to proceed.

Some 70 congregants and supporters of Chabad, who came to attend the Council meeting at City Hall, burst into cheers and applause when the outcome was anounced.

Many neighbors who have united in opposition to this development were also in attendance. They were disappointed, but not surprised.

On Tuesday, , the city's Planning and Land Use Management [PLUM] Committee voted to allow Chabad of North Hollywood to continue construction of the 12,000-square-foot synagogue that they are in the midst of constructing at 13079 Chandler Boulevard, at Ethel Street.

That decision came swiftly after Councilman Koretz, through his field deputy Shawn Bayliss, had reviewed all pertinent documents, and announced that he had no objections to the project going forward.

"We don't feel that there's been any new evidence in this case (to warrant overturning the permits)," said Bayliss.

Wednesday's council meeting unfolded in a similar way: After public comments from people on both sides of the issue, with Koretz stating that upon review of all documents and considerations, and in light of much public support in favor of this development, he felt it should proceed.

A vote was taken after Koretz spoke, with every Councilman quickly voting 10-0 in favor of Chabad.

This reapproval was necessitated by a judge's ruling that the City Council - then led by former Councilman Jack Weiss - made an error when they approved the project in 2009.

That required the city to review the project again, this time led on the council by Paul Koretz, who followed Weiss as the councilman for this district.

Although Koretz told the community, , that he was sensitive to the concerns of residents who felt this land use was inappropriate, he ultimately sided with Chabad.

"I am quite pleased with the decision today, it was unanimous," Dovid Ptalis, a member of Chabad, wrote afterwards in an email.

"How many more verdicts, decisions approvals do these people need to realize these arguments are frivolous?"

Mr. Ptalis, 34, runs his own social media company, and has been a part of this temple for five years. He's one of many congregants who have responded in comments to counter what they perceived as a prevalent anti-Chabad sentiment on these pages.

Asked how he felt about neighbors who opposed this development, he again stressed that he spoke only for himself, and  said, "I do not feel ill will towards the neighbors.

"I do however think they are 100% anti-religious, not anti-Semitic but anti-religious."

Many neighbors who have opposed this development said there's no truth in the justification for a lack of any parking, which is that all the congregants walk to temple and don't drive.

"They drive their cars in before sundown on Shabos," said Mitch Ramin. "And leave their cars parked overnight. They deny this but we see it every week."

"I am not aware of this charge," Ptalis responded. "Let me ask you a question: Where is the outrage when the college kids park up & down Chandler every day?"

"Our congregants are God-fearing positive people," he wrote. "We don't enjoy this controversy. We were positive, we are positive and we will always be positive. That is our nature as Jews."

I asked him if Chabad would do anything to try to heal the discord caused by this controversy. He rejected the question:

"I'm certain the question you are asking is: Will the anti-religious neighbors reach out to Chabad and apologize for all the hurt they have caused their fellow neighbors?"

Jeff Gantman, who with Ramin and Tess Jones have led the opposition by founding the West Chandler Boulevard Neighborhood Association, was not surprised by today's ruling:

"The fix was in; this thing was already decided.[Councilman] Weiss got this thing through right before leaving office, and now Koretz is doing the same thing.

"It's important to fight this. Because it can happen anywhere. When the City Council doesn't represent the people, and instead gives in to special interests, this is what you get."

Asked about charges several Patch readers leveled against their group that it didn't represent all the neighbors, and neglected to invite many neighbors,  Gantman said, "We personally knocked on every door of every resident who lives in this neighborhood. There was nobody who lives here who we excluded.

Mitch Ramin said that it was impossible for Koretz to have done a full review.

"[His field deputy] Shawn Bayliss said Koretz reviewed all the documents we provided. But that is simply not true. Koretz never had all the documents. That was an outright lie."

Mr. Bayliss could not be reached for a comment.

Dee Tungkavet, who lives in the house next to Chabad, across Ethel Ave., said this project should have been disallowed because, despite what Koretz said, it has a detrimental impact on the neighborhood.

"I don't have any privacy anymore," she said outside of the council chamber after the hearing. "With that big synagogue, they look down now right into my home. My life will never be the same."

Rabbi Aharon Abend, leaving court, smiled and received congratulations from his congregants.

His attorney, Benjamin Reznik, smiled and said he was glad about the outcome.

"They did the right thing," he said. "This is a legal project, and now it can be finished."

Dovid Ptalis June 29, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Oy Vay!!! Paul my zeeskeit, my tateleh, The article EXPLICITLY states I quote: "I do however think they are 100% anti-religious, not anti-Semitic but anti-religious". You read the article too quickly. Not one person said anti-semitism. NOT ONE!!! I do however firmly believe there is a bias against the Orthodoxy in Judaism. I have never played the bias card, but Paul, come on..... Paul, its a building that got the go ahead from zoning to the city council, to committees, leave it alone. Just by way of your comments "you & your people" " the way your congregation has walked all over them shwoing no compassion for anyone but themselves". I just want clarity....the basis for the gangs objection to the Shul is the general negative feeling towards Orthodoxy. I am ecstatic & cannot wait for the completion of "The Shul". It is an architectural wonder...this beautiful contemporary building doesn't overwhelm you with modern edges but encompasses a hint of renaissance architecture with a splash of modernism & the use of Jerusalem stone will enlighten the structure with subtle doses of the Middle East. Dude, its exciting. Its a work of art.... Brunelleschi, Alberti, Michelangelo, Alexander would all be proud. Excuse me, they are proud....
Alex White June 29, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Your bias and ill feelings toward others expressing opinions and concerns different than you is as palpable as the bitter juice of a pomegranate. The business-at-hand is actually about civic, legal, and zoning matters, but you banter about anti-religion, anti-Semitism, genocide, prejudice, hatred, and intolerance. As such, David, you seem overpowered by anger. Think for one moment about the image you're projecting to the world. Even when we disagree passionately with each other, we can do so with understanding and civility. Bless you, David, and have a beautiful day.
Alex White June 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM
"You read the article too quickly. Not one person said anti-semitism. NOT ONE!!! I do however firmly believe there is a bias against the Orthodoxy in Judaism. I have never played the bias card, but Paul, come on....." From one of your recent comments, David "Hey Paul, I knew you had it in you; your bias, anti-religious ill feelings are slowly creeping out.... Everyone in that room aside from your gang of hate, saw right through you. Hey man, we've been kicked out of more countries than lawsuits your gang filed. People have tried to wipe us off the face of the earth & are still trying today, but they fail & always will. Your anti-religious is no sweat off our backs, but at least you are finally revealing your true colors and that Paul is a breath of fresh air." And this is a statement implying exactly what? Good will toward men! I'm praying for you David.
John June 29, 2012 at 05:31 PM
David P is an immature prejudice person and has no respect for others that are not like him. He loves to call us names and assumes what we feel in our hearts and minds. Anti-religious is just something that he made up and is running with it because he thinks it gives his argument more weight. He is cursing me and I think if he followed his own religion he would never do this, so who is anti-religious? Can't wait to meet the guy, but I know he will think of me as trash because I don't wear a kippah.
Brantley Watson (Editor) June 29, 2012 at 05:40 PM
We greatly appreciate everyone's comments regarding City Council's decision. But we ask that you please remain polite and respectful in your responses to one another. Thank you.
Cuhri June 29, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I think what everyone fails to look at is that this building has been built illegally to its core. No valid permits, no inspections by L.A. Building and Safety, they keep adding new features like the rooftop terrace and the basketball court & playground. All noise was supposed to be kept indoors. It's in the court rulings. None of the laws or rulings are being followed...and that's why there seem to be laws for special interests and laws for the rest of us. The ZA has ignored the changes made since 2009 when she first reviewed this case. PLUM didn't carry out what they were supposed to do...and Huizar slept or yawned through the whole hearing. The City Council pushed this through....just like Jack Weiss pushed it through 11 days before he left office. It was all theatre....very bad theatre. Every girder, every concrete wall, every length of rebar in this building represent the lack of leadership in our city and also the shameful tactics of those who are constructing this building. So, you think the opponents don't have a reason to be concerned or even POed? Think again. Think about what the truth is and think about the blatant corruption in our city government.
Rose T June 29, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I have been reading the coverage of the Chabad house controversy, and sadly watching bigotry and outright prejudice bubble up in our very own Sherman Oaks. I live less than half a block away from the Chabad, and was never once approached to join the "Homeowners Association". Mr. Gantman nor anyone else ever knocked on my door, or on the doors of several friends and neighbors on my block who I asked about this as he claims in your article. My sister lives just down the street on chandler, and guess what - no one invited her to join either! There are certainly other issues facing the neighborhood, and while I disagree with Mr Gantman and Mr Ramin on this issue, I'd want to join a neighborhood homeowners association for all the matters facing our neighborhood.
Rose T June 29, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but the blatant dishonesty really bothers me. The number of supporters of the synagogue far outnumber those that oppose it within the neighborhood. Nearly all of the members of the synagogue live within walking distance. Are those neighbors that are in favor of the synagogue not also part of the neighborhood? I am deeply bothered by what seems to be the ever changing purpose of the opposition group. Initially at the very first zoning meeting back in 2007, I remember hearing that the main issue was parking, then at a later meeting it was all about size, and at yesterday's city council meeting one of the leaders of the opposition stated something to the effect of - its not about size, it's not about parking, it's about what Chabad intends to do at the space and their activities. The allegations of a back room deal are completely unfounded. What are they based on? I truly can not understand why there is continued fighting and animosity over this. There was a process that was followed, necessary permits were obtained, and now a second time the city council has approved the project. The only explanation that makes any sense for the continued fight by the opposition was given by mr Gantman at last months city council meeting when he said he had wasted four years of his life fighting this and wasn't going to stop now.
Paul Zollo June 29, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I would second Brantley's request for all commenters to remain civil, please - we all have a right to exist in this community, and Patch welcomes all of you to express your feelings about this issue, which impacts not only the physical but the emotional dynamics of this neighborhood. Patch will continue to do its part to clarify all the facts related to this, and to see if certain charges hold any water. I have met with people on both sides of this issue. I have come to know those leading the opposition, and these are all very good people, people who care deeply about this community, so deeply that they spend a lot of time working on this issue. They are not hateful, and certainly are not anti-Semites, as most of them are Jews. I have also had the pleasure of meeting Rabbi Abend, who I know to be a very wise and good-hearted man. He very generously allowed Patch to interview him. Members of Chabad I've met have all been kind people. So let's respect each other, given our understanding that this is a divisive issue. And we do welcome you to use Patch as a forum.
debbie kozin June 29, 2012 at 08:07 PM
The person who said he was a short non bullying Jew but that he would bevlurking about waiting for David . This is a threat and bullying is this what your rabbi endorses? Cause my Jewish upbringing teaches toleance and respect for opposing views. Just saying ...
John June 29, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I second that Rose.
Dovid Ptalis June 29, 2012 at 08:31 PM
@Debbie Hahahahahahaha. I speak for myself, I answer to GOD and the law of the land. Too cute. Just sayin...
Dovid Ptalis June 29, 2012 at 08:37 PM
@Cuhri OK, so everyone from the ZA to the City Council, to the Congregants, to the construction workers, to the Rabbi, to all the committee members, to all the city representatives, to Ben Reznick. All of them, all of them are (including myself) corrupt. Hahahahahahaha. Everyone is corrupt except for the gang of 4 or 6 or 8, whatever that oppose the Shul. I promise I am LOL-ing for real. FYI: The following is a list of my actions over the past week that may be considered illegal: 1. I ran a yellow that changed red, mid-intersection. 2. I texted while driving. 3. I can't quite clearly remember, I think I crossed a solid white line on the freeway, I used my blinker; does that nullify the transgression? 4. I scripted comments on a blog that clearly hurt peoples feelings. 5. I bought a shirt for myself & didn't tell my wife. I cannot think of anything else. But boy, I should get at least 10-20 combined.
Steve H June 29, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Mr. Gantman nor anyone else ever knocked on my door asking me to join their association. For everyone who is complaining that the building will be too big and ugly I suggest that we each take a look at our homes and try to improve the looks. For example, it would be nice if we all watered our front lawns and maintained a sense of pride with our homes, especially for the homes on Chandler since they are so much in public view. I cannot see how people who live around Leghorn and Killion, north of Chandler, between Ethel and Coldwater can in good faith complain about parking. It is too far away. I wonder what the real reason is they are against the new building. Any ideas?
Skraeling June 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM
people like you are antisemite and yet point fingers at others? You should be ashamed to post the stuff you have. Israel is your home...go back...you get to kill anyone who opposes your arrogance...
Skraeling June 29, 2012 at 10:13 PM
OPn the other hand, maybe those neighbors just want to protect what little home values they have and that have now been lowered even more by open disregard of all zoning regs....
Skraeling June 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM
If it is so good, it should have been built where it would have been doing the entire community a favor. Lots of areas nearby that could have been redeveloped. this is just another power play by a very strong lobby that makes things happen with donations and lawyers, much to everyone's loss, even those who use the Temple or Shul...
Dovid Ptalis June 29, 2012 at 10:20 PM
John the soothsayer, the clairvoyant, what does my future hold? Your assumptions of me are a million pct incorrect. There are more than a few people I consider trash, but I'm sorry to disappoint, you are not on that list. Also, thanks Alex for praying for me.
Skraeling June 29, 2012 at 10:20 PM
There is no God in America but the one some believe in and some don't...your God is not mine. I cannot but think of how you would be outraged if a mosque were the issue along with a madrassa...I doubt you would be so supportive. The law of the land allows for cities to be zoned and this building violates those regs...end of story.
Paul B June 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Oh David... My mother always said you can't argue with a crazy person so I will leave it at that. Enjoy your new Shul. I have no ill wil towards it or the happiness it will bring you and yours. Let's agree to disagree and move on. What's done is done and it's God's will.
Dovid Ptalis June 29, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Everybody read what Jack wrote; Finally some clarity....Yay, at least hes being honest.. Jack wrote: "OPn the other hand, maybe those neighbors just want to protect what little home values they have and that have now been lowered even more by open disregard of all zoning regs...." My response: Orthodox Jews raise the value of homes. Because we DO NOT drive on Shabbus, we live in localized areas. So you see if there is a decision between home A, thta is more expensive but is near a Shul, we would pay more than home B that is cheaper but not near the synagogue. Its simple economics, supply & demand. Jack wrote: "There is no God in America but the one some believe in and some don't...your God is not mine. I cannot but think of how you would be outraged if a mosque were the issue along with a madrassa...I doubt you would be so supportive. The law of the land allows for cities to be zoned and this building violates those regs...end of story." My response: I'm supportive of the Shul because its where I pray. I don't pray at Mosques. & for the kicker..... Jack wrote: "people like you are antisemite and yet point fingers at others? You should be ashamed to post the stuff you have. Israel is your home...go back...you get to kill anyone who opposes your arrogance..." My response: I appreciate your honesty Jack
me2 June 29, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Mr. Zollo...I believe that 'Jack' is not respecting your request for civil and playing nice. He is now calling Israel a 'dunghole'. I believe that might warrant him to be banned from posting. If anything that is borderline hatred. Uncalled ofr.
me2 June 29, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Jack, I think you have gone too far. Telling us....the residents to go back to Israel? that isn't being ignorant? I believe you have run out of anything that remotely can be used as an argument. Oh, and the reason for the decline in home values is because we are in a...everybody all together....R-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N. Nothing having to do with a building being built.
me2 June 29, 2012 at 11:01 PM
John, why would you have to resort to saying some of the things you are saying? Have you really just run out of things that might remotely make any sense at all? You have to say that you would be looked at as 'trash' because you don't wear a kippah? I mean, really, man. Why would you even have to come to say that?
Paul B June 29, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Perfect point regarding this issue...
John June 30, 2012 at 12:44 AM
@me2 - I say that because of the discourse I have had with Dovid. If you want to look up all the things he and i have both posted you may find what you are searching for. Dovid was constantly bringing up that I, with others that oppose the project, are anti-religious which is a nice way of saying we didn't like his religious views - trying desperately to avoid the term anti-Semitic which was brought up many times (by Dovid, I'm not certain). After going back and forth with Dovid, I think he is only out for him and the chabad and cares very little about his neighbors that do not belong to the chabad. I hope that answers your question - it is not based solely on the stuff you are reading on this post or article. I am trying to put this to rest, honestly. I have no hard feelings towards the Chabad and have written the rabbi congratulating him on his success. Even though Dovid and I disagree with each other on this issue, I have no hard feelings toward him either. I do, however, still feel the same way about his character. One more thing, I too am really disgusted about the comment about going back to Israel and the dunghole comment (not that you care but I did want to comment anyway).
Paul Zollo June 30, 2012 at 12:51 AM
That comment has been removed, according to our Terms of Use, which prohibits such expression. Patch encourages readers to express their feelings, but asks you to respect the feelings of others, and to be civil.
Dovid Ptalis July 02, 2012 at 04:00 PM
@DetroitZillaNoJoke Sorry, I can't hear over the noise of construction.
John July 25, 2012 at 10:17 PM
I noticed how all of your 744 friends on Facebook are all white Jews. Pretty ironic considering how you portray yourself as an objective person and not a bigot.
Brian Saunders January 24, 2013 at 03:56 AM
LOL @ Athena Novak and her comment about connecting with God. That hypocrite is so evil that she doesn't even respect other peoples handicapped parking rights. No wonder she feels people should just do anything anywhere, and hell with the everyone else. http://www.yelp.com/biz/wholly-rollers-events-san-fernando-valley?sort_by=date_desc

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