Sherman Oaks News
Chabad Project Reapproved
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Jun 28, 2012 - 12:27:33 PM

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City Councilman Paul Koretz
SHERMAN OAKS—Rabbi Abend and his congregation rejoiced on Wednesday, June 27, as the City Council re-approved the Chabad project to be constructed in Sherman Oaks on Chandler Boulevard.

The city council voted 10-0 in favor of the continuation for the 12,000-square-foot synagogue. Wednesday's meeting was much like the meeting held the day before regarding the construction of the synagogue.
The city's Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) voted in favor of the expansion of a synagogue in Sherman Oaks on Tuesday. The new building will accommodate up to 200 worshipers and is about eight times the size of the former building. The building will include a Hebrew school, synagogue, lecture area and playground.

Residents were allowed to attend and speak up one-by-one in order to share their viewpoint of the building's construction before the councilmen placed their votes.
Residents living near the Chandler Boulevard property spoke up about their opinions regarding the synagogue. Julia Granovitz explained that the larger building is necessary as the population of their worshipers grow. She said that her daughter refused to go to Sabbath because she had to stand in the back. "Families should be able to sit together to pray,'' Granovitz told committee members.

"Given that the project has largely been constructed... and has community support, this seems to be the correct way to proceed," said City Councilman Paul Koretz, who currently represents the area.

Some residents found the building to be too large for the residential area and feared the traffic it will bring into their neighborhood. Rudy Nunez, who opposes the expansion, stated that she has no problem with the growing presence of Orthodox in her community but she does have a problem with the size of the temple. "I welcome them to my neighborhood,'' said Nunez, who has lived on Chandler Boulevard for 37 years. "But I oppose the size."

Those who opposed the plan appealed the council's first approval of the project, which was granted. Thus, the council had to reevaluate its decision and go through the process again of voting whether or not the synagogue should be allowed to expand its former size.

Some have accused the decision of being influenced by backroom deals, first with City Councilman Jack Weiss in 2007 when the building was first approved, and again with the council's approval under the influence of Koretz.

Koretz, who is running for re-election in Council District 5, has denied these allegations and points out that he is going against Reznik in the Bel Air development dispute.


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