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Hearing Planned on Proposed Nursing Care Facility To Be Built on Sierra Bonita Ave.

Deja Vu? Circa 2012 when neighbors were up in arms about a 5000 sq. foot facility proposed for Sierra Bonita Avenue only to be voted down by the city of Los Angeles. Here we go again. Michael Gamburd, believed to be owner of Raya’s Paradise, Inc. is back now proposing to build a 3400 sq ft facility to be located at the same address as in his 2012 proposal (see L.A. Times story here) 846-848 Sierra Bonita Ave. Click Here for Street View. A public hearing notice recently went out to neighbors living within a 500 foot radius of the proposed development. The hearing is set for Wednesday May 28th at 12:00 Noon at Los Angeles City Hall – for map to hearing location Click Here

The public notice states: “The construction, use, and maintenance of a one-story, 3415 square-foot eldercare facility with 12 subterranean parking spaces on a 6512 sq. foot site in the R2-1XL Zone. The proposed facility will be omprised of eight guest rooms for 11 people, 62 years of age or older, and will function as an assisted living Alheimer’s/Dementia care facility. An existing duplex will be demolished as part of the project”..

69795314-1-1What the notice doesn’t tell you is that public records show that Mr. Gamburd already owns the property adjacent to this proposal and recently converted it to what appears to be some sort of care facility as well. Gamburd also owns and operates a Raya’s Paradise facility directly behind these properties and it’s located at 849-851 N. Gardner Street (See Map Click Here) Public records also show that Mr. Gamburd owns another property at 859 N. Gardner St. (See Map Click Here). A growing contingent of neighbors are expressing outrage overthis latest proposal and say that these facilities are nothing more than for-profit 24 hour business operations that ultimately ruin the neighborhood’s character and will only add to more nuisances like traffic, an already maxed-out street parking problem, and emergency services vehicles racing in and out the neighborhood. Some neighbors like the idea of more housing for the elderly and cite recent studies that indicate the elder population as growing and there being a genuine lack of housing, therefore these facilities will fill that void. Opponents counter that argument saying that the Melrose area already has a disproportionate amount of “care” facilities as outlined in this map published by the L.A. Times back in 2012 about this very issue. What’s your opinion? Post your comments below. Please vote in our poll here. Share this story with your neighbors by scrolling down to the “share” menu button below.


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A National Healthcare Predicament Plays Out – Story Reveals Plans For New Care Facility Proposed on Sierra Bonita Ave.

By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
Mon May 7 2012 12:00 AM

“If you’re lucky, you’ll find something around $3,500,” said Majid Ali, a 57-year-old acupuncturist whose mother has Alzheimer’s. “More often than not it’s $6,000 to $7,000 per month and up.”
It took Ali two years to find the right place for his mother and her sister, who is deaf. Even with long-term care insurance policies, some facilities were too expensive. Others didn’t provide the specialized dementia care his mother needs.

69795314-1A social worker suggested he visit the homes operated by Raya’s Paradise Inc., which proposed the Sierra Bonita facility. Ali’s mother and aunt now share a room in a Mediterranean-style house with lush landscaping and homey cooking smells wafting from the kitchen. There are weekly exercise classes, and an accordion player drops by to serenade the residents.

“They’re far better,” Ali said. “My mom has moments of being more lucid…. My aunt is a bit more sociable. She has other people to talk to.”

Los Angeles County is one of six in California where low-income seniors who would otherwise be in nursing homes can use their Medi-Cal benefits to help pay for such care.

But the program is expected to serve only about 1,790 people this year, according to the California Department of Health Care Services.

Just 55 of the county’s 1,356 licensed facilities participate in the program. Operators have been slow to sign on, saying reimbursement rates are too low.

Moti Gamburd, executive director of Raya’s Paradise, said sharing staff and amenities at what already could legally be operated as two side-by-side six-bed care homes would help keep costs down. He could charge $2,500 to $5,000 a month and offer at least one bed to a low-income resident at half price, he said.

L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz, who represents the area, said the developer did not do enough to address neighborhood concerns about the facility. “I don’t know how many of them you even want in one neighborhood,” he said.

City planning officials believe the project could encourage other group homes in the area to expand.

“Such a precedent would incrementally begin to erode the low-density character and appearance of the area,” Associate Zoning Administrator Lourdes Green wrote in an Oct. 4 decision rejecting the project.

Robert Cherno, a land use consultant hired by the developer, points to a city ordinance that allows people with disabilities to apply for “reasonable accommodation” to ensure equal housing access. His client should not have had to apply for a variance, a process that took nearly two years and cost $8,843.50, Cherno said.

Another city official agreed with Cherno on the applicability of the law but said in this case a larger facility was not needed to reduce housing barriers. Chief Zoning Administrator Linn K. Wyatt noted in a March 6 decision that the developer already operates five facilities in the vicinity.

Raya’s Paradise has appealed the decision and filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging discrimination by the city.

The conflict over where group homes should be allowed and how to control them has spread to City Hall. A controversial proposed ordinance would designate licensed care facilities with more than six beds as “public benefits,” meaning they would no longer need special permits to operate in low-density areas if they meet parking, noise and other city standards.

But the same measure could create problems for some smaller homes that can now operate without city or state approval. A provision barring multiple tenant lease agreements in single-family zones could force many to shut down, according to advocates for the disabled.

Koretz said the city needs to find a way to crack down on problem facilities without interfering with ones providing valuable services.

On Sierra Bonita, some residents now wonder if opposing the Alzheimer’s home was the best course. Like her neighbors, Rita Tateel had concerns about the project. Then she agreed to tour one of the other facilities operated by Raya’s Paradise.

“I have to say what they did there is beautifully done,” she said. “You can’t even tell that it’s a care facility from the outside.” She started thinking of her 92-year-old mother-in-law.
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