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Encino halfway house making neighbors uneasy

March 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Residents in an Encino neighborhood want it gone. They call it a halfway house. The operators of the facility say it's a sober living home.

Angel Villas, according to its website, is located in the most exclusive area of Encino and is for recovering addicts.

Residents of the upscale community met Wednesday night trying to determine how to get the halfway house on Louise Avenue out of their neighborhood. They said they found out about it watching the end of a wild police chase on TV news. A suspected felon had bailed out of the Angel Villa estate.

"Lots of policemen, SWAT guys, low-hovering helicopters over my house. And for what? Because someone who's wanted for a very serious felony is being chased, and what do I learn? He lives across the street from me," said neighbor Howard Simon.

Residents have since learned that there is no city code that requires such a facility to notify neighbors. The state regulates the homes if there are fewer than six residents.

Other communities have more serious issues: group living homes that are unlicensed. Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander wants a lid on those.

"Some have 40 and 50 people living in a single family neighborhood, so not only are they not safe for the actual neighborhood, they're not safe for the residents living in them," Englander said. "It's not safe for residents living in them."

The operator of Angel Villa was not available for comment. However, some residents said they have been through rehab and now just need a sober environment where they can transition back to what they call the real world.

Anyone with questions, concerns or complaints about a halfway house or similar facility in their neighborhood can contact the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs at (916) 322-9897.

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