About 50 Studio City residents spoke for nearly three hours Tuesday at a city zoning hearing and offered pros and cons for a Little Dom’s going into Tujunga Village at Moorpark Street and Kraft Avenue.
The hearing at the City Zoning office in Van Nuys was the next step needed for approval of a liquor license and permission to park cars more than 750 feet from the deli.
Ultimately, Maya Zaitzevsky, the associate zoning administrator, said she would take the matter under advisement and welcomed additional input as she weighed the decision, which she planned to issue before June 7.
il membersand Gail Steinberg attended the meeting, as did SCNC regulars Barry Johnson and Marilyn White-Sedel.
“It was wonderful in that neighborhood 55 years ago,” said White-Sedel, who has lived in the area that long. “And we need a restaurant there with that character. We tried [the one in Los Feliz] and it was wonderful.”
But Johnson, also a member of the who lives nearby on Farmdale, said he wondered if this was the right location for the business because parking is at a minimum in an area already crowded with and .
Warner Ebbink, the owner of Little Dom’s who lives in the neighborhood with his two children said, “The last thing I want to do is create chaos in the neighborhood where I live because of a business that I put there.”
Ebbink said he surveyed the area very carefully and worked out parking arrangements more than any other business in the area.
The parking is more than 750 feet away at and will have valet service. That arrangement concerned Mikie Maloney, the director of community and public relations at the across the street from the church. She said the school pays $50,000 a year to use some of the 107 parking spaces at the church and 22 days they need the lot for special events.
“We are concerned about the safety of all the extra traffic for our children,” Maloney said. “We are very concerned.”
, representing the , said Ebbink has shown a willingness to work with the community, and declared “he is an asset to the community.”
City Councilman Paul Krekorian’s office also expressed support for the project, as did the Land Use Committee, but the full Studio City Neighborhood Council felof endorsing the project.
A local mother, Joya Weinraub, talked about problems with sanitation and public intoxication. She said her 5-year-old playing on a scooter and running around with the puppy next door would be less safe on their neighborhood street because of the influx of parking and traffic.
Reality show producer Bobby Logan, who works across from the proposed 146-seat restaurant and lives nearby, said “I’ve had to call to get the cars towed because they are parking in our spots, and we have people working all hours of the day and night.”
Resident Didi Gordon said Little Dom’s is a family-friendly place and that Ebbink is “respectful of the architecture.” She conjectured that “the people who are against this coming in are business owners who are afraid of competition, or because the food isn’t very good.”
owner Janice Hood, whose grandfather started their business in 1961, said, “I’m sad that this has denigrated into an attack on businesses in the area. I’m just concerned about the traffic and lack of parking.”
Michael Levy, owner of ; Joel Gutman of the ; and Fred Joseph, who owns two houses in the area and a local business; all spoke against Littlle Dom’s. Joseph submitted a petition with 109 signatures objecting to the increased traffic.
Beth Schiffman, who lives across the street on Kraft Avenue, said, “Not only do I think there should be no outdoor dining, but I’m concerned about music being amplified or piped outside.”
And, Russ Thomas, who also lives on Kraft with three children ages 6, 10 and 13, said two accidents have occurred in his driveway due to cars turning around looking for free parking. “I’m concerned about our property values coming down when people find out they can’t park on their own street,” Thomas said.
Even before the zoning hearing was over, Ebbink and his representative Brett Engstrom were making compromises to the proposals while listing to some of the residents. He agreed to scale back the hours to midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. during weekdays.
“With my other business, I employ 150 people, and with this it will be 175,” Ebbink said. “This is a place that people can come with their dogs and kids, and just have fun. It’s a neighborhood restaurant.”
Victoria Burner contributed to this report.