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OpEd: Warner Center Project Brings Everyone Down, Including Councilman

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The legacy of City Councilman Dennis Zine will be sullied should the current incarnation of a giant Woodland Hills retail project come to fruition, writes Cary Brazeman, a former CB Richard Ellis executive and founder of LA Neighbors United, in CityWatch. As reported in the fall, an ambitious mixed-use project for Warner Center's center--offices, condos, retail, pedestrian promenades--was proposed before the economy tanked. The scaled-back version presented by Westfield Shopping Centers features a giant Costco that faces its ass to the street, a 20 pump gas station (which Brazeman calls the "Costco Truck Stop"), and surface parking lots. Most neighbors hate it, and some called for Zine's recall after he supported this version (according to an LA Times story from October, Zine said at a neighborhood meeting, "It offends me when people criticize me" for trying to improve the community. As for his recall: "I think it's absurd when you have a councilman trying to bring in jobs.") Brazeman writes that Warner Center deserves better; it's served by the popular Orange Line busway, which opens a new service to Chatsworth next year: "The [Westfield] plan makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to realize the emerging vision for Warner Center. We’ll be less likely to see desirable uses, be they commercial or residential, as a result? and less likely to see the type of pedestrian-friendly streetscape and density that should characterize this significant location."

Brazeman notes that the Costco plan has not yet been approved and that Zine, termed out in two years, is hosting the annual “Dennis P. Zine's July 4th Extravaganza” this weekend. Brazeman vaguely encourages concerned folks to pick up a hot dog and share their feelings with the politician.
· Costco Truck Stop at Warner Center Threatens Zine's Legacy [CityWatch]
· Woodland Hills Valley Project: Design Issues Withstanding? [Curbed LA]