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Tarzana residents try to block elder-care facility

January 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Tarzana residents who love their rural neighborhood are trying to stop developers from building an elder-care facility.

The Levi family trust owns a preschool in the neighborhood. They also own five homes in the area and a vacant lot they plan to turn into a home for elderly people on the corner of Calvert Street and Yolanda Avenue.

"We're really catering to sort of a middle-income elderly demographic, and we feel like we will be providing so much care and so much more housing," said Marissa Levi of the Levi Family Partnership.

Many of the people who live in the Tarzana neighborhood moved there for its agricultural and rural past, and they're not happy about plans to tear down five of the homes to build the facility.

Though the project has its supporters, one neighborhood group appealed the stamp of approval for the facility, which was two years in the making. They say it's one of the last bastions of rural charm.

"It's very peaceful. It's kind of a lost, dying community in a way," said resident Lisa Cerda.

The family says the idea is to bring in the elderly care facility so the seniors can interface with preschoolers across the way. Currently, they bus the seniors in.

And they say the neighborhood isn't that rural, with houses of worship, a bus line, schools and other businesses in the area.

"It's really a multiple use area, and we think that that's one of the reasons why this facility will fit so well here," Levi said. "This is really a vibrant community, and we think that seniors deserve to live in communities."

But neighbors say it's a slippery slope. They don't want to lose what they have left, and they don't want to set that precedent.

"If it hits us, it's going to hit every single part of the city," Cerda said. "If we don't stop it here, it is going everywhere."