Pointing to what they say is a high concentration of recovery houses in their community, Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) members are calling for a moratorium on new alcohol and drug abuse treatment facilities in the community.
The Mar Vista Community Council voted unanimously Tuesday, October 9th, to call on local elected officials to establish a moratorium on new rehabilitation and recovery houses within the Mar Vista boundaries until it has been determined that the geographic concentration of such facilities is compliant with state, county and city law. The Mar Vista Community Council is the certified City of Los Angeles Neighborhood Council for the area.
The Mar Vista Community Council Urban Planning Committee first called for the moratorium after some residents had expressed concern about the num- ber of rehabilitation facilities in the community and their effect on the neighborhood, particularly on parking.
Community Council member and Urban Planning Committee chair Ken Alpern said the recovery houses seem to be operating throughout the community, some within 300 feet of each other. The community has seen a “sharp” increase in the number of the facilities coming to the area, residents say.
Urban Planning Committee member Steve Wallace said committee members are aware of at least six recovery houses operating within Mar Vista, including two on Mitchell Avenue.
“There are too many in the Mar Vista area,” Wallace said. “We think that in the small radius where these places are situated, we have enough.”
But while council members say they want to control the number of recovery facilities in the community, they stress that they are not opposed to the facilities themselves.
“The MVCC board was not making a statement about the benefit of rehab houses but about the overconcentration of recovery houses within the MVCC boundaries,” Alpern said of the council vote. “We don’t want people to look at this as a NIMBY [not in my backyard] move,” Alpern continued. “We recognize the societal benefits of recovery houses.”
Mar Vista Community Council chair Rob Kadota also reaffirmed the council’s support of the resources the facilities provide, but added that residents want to ensure that the houses “do not become rampant” in the neighborhoods.
“These are important services,” Kadota said.
The main issues with the houses are related to “concentration and parking,” Alpern said. Residents have said that parking spots in their neighborhood are being taken by people visiting the recovery homes and are also concerned that the facilities may impact the character of the neighborhood, Alpern said.
Another issue for the Community Council is to ensure that the homes are adhering to zoning and building and safety regulations, including the number of people the facilities are allowed to serve.
The Mar Vista Community Council sent a letter to Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, state Assemblyman Ted Lieu and the City of Los Angeles Planning Department, calling on them to work with the city, county and state in establishing a moratorium on new recovery houses in Mar Vista until it is determined that their concentration is compliant with regulations.
Lieu said he supports the Community Council proposal, adding that he voted to support Assembly Bill 3007, which failed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last year. The bill would have given the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs the authority to deny an application for a new recovery facility license if it was within 300 feet of an existing facility.
“I believe that rehab houses serve a useful function but I don’t believe that they should all be concentrated in one area,” Lieu said.
PROPOSAL FOR OLD FIRE STATION NO. 62 — In a separate action at its meeting October 9th, the Mar Vista Community Council voted to “strongly recommend” that the old Los Angeles City Fire Station No. 62 facility at 3631 Centinela Ave. be used as a multipurpose community center.
Community members have been looking into the possibility of using the old fire station building, which is vacant, for a community purpose.
Residents have suggested a variety of ideas, including a senior center, an arts center or a green resource center, but a multipurpose community center for arts, education and meeting areas seems to be the most popular.
Resident Rose Magnane told the council that she supports using the old fire station for a community center, as it was “dedicated to serve the community.”
“I think a center of this type is really necessary in this community,” Community Council member Curt Steindler added.