By Jason KUROSU
The Crescenta Valley Community Association’s regular January meeting revolved around a series of issues that have persisted in the area for years and, in some cases, even decades.
One of the topics that was more recent was the closure of Twelve Oaks Retirement Lodge. Twelve Oaks was shut down in November when the owners of the facility, the be.group, deemed Twelve Oaks unfit to meet the safety standards of an assisted living facility.
The announcement of the closure was met with protests, including a lawsuit filed by the National Charity League. The nonprofit organization operated Twelve Oaks until 2002 when control was transferred to the be.group, then called Southern California Presbyterian Homes. The lawsuit is challenging the be.group’s ability to remake the property into something that strays from its original purpose as a home for seniors.
Gabriel Mendham of the NCL said she could not reveal too many details about the lawsuit, but that the NCL has been in contact with be.group officials. The be.group is expected to file a response within the next month.
Until then, the be.group has said it is employing a caretaker to live at Twelve Oaks and maintain the property, while sheriffs also patrol regularly to keep trespassers away.
Mendham also said that the NCL has been in contact with two healthcare providers as potential management companies to take on the task of running Twelve Oaks as an assisted living facility.
“I don’t see a resolution in the short term, but you never know,” said Mendham.
The saga of the 710 Freeway has been similarly plagued by a lack of any foreseeable resolution.
“When the draft comes out (sometime this spring), we are forming groups to respond to it appropriately,” said Susan Bolan of the No 710 Action Committee.
For over 60 years, residents and transportation officials have butted heads over traffic and health concerns, a long process that has produced a number of proposed projects, now whittled down to five.
Out of the proposed alternatives for extending the 710 Freeway, Bolan said that the committee believes that the tunnel proposal will be the “preferred alternative.”
The No 710 Action Committee has recently created a blog to provide background for those unfamiliar with the history and controversy surrounding the 710 extension, as well as an online petition that will automatically contact a number of representatives from Gov. Jerry Brown to members of the Metro Board and CALTRANS.
“We continue to meet, attend every meeting we can, speak to elected officials, everything we possibly can do to kill this project,” said Bolan.
The renovation of the former Rockhaven Sanitarium is another project that has been many years in the making, but without garnering the attention or controversy of the 710 Freeway extension.
Michael Lawler of the Friends of Rockhaven and the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley detailed current efforts to maintain Rockhaven and possibly convert the site into one that will preserve the historical significance while serving a new purpose altogether.
Rockhaven, located in the 2700 block of Honolulu Avenue, served as a sanitarium for women beginning in the 1920s. In 2001, the property was sold and in 2006 closed down entirely. The buildings remain as they were. The City of Glendale has been unable to revamp the property due to a lack of funding. In the meantime, the Friends of Rockhaven has provided tours of the site, as well as organized clean-up days to move out some of the remaining unclaimed possessions.
According to Lawler, “the money is finally starting to flow,” indicating long awaited movement upon actual renovation of the property. Though it is still unclear what exactly may result from a renovated Rockhaven (ideas for a community center, library and a museum among others have been discussed in past years), Lawler said that the Friends of Rockhaven has been in contact with city officials.
“We want to identify, retain or preserve the historic structures and the landscaping,” said Lawler of the desires of the Friends of Rockhaven. “We don’t want any additions or alterations to radically change the character-defining spaces. We want to get it on the Glendale Historic Register and the National Historic Register. And no matter what it eventually becomes, we want it to be accessible to the public and have part of the property be a public space such as a park.”
Lawler characterized the talks with the city as positive.
“I think we’re finally going to see something moving after five or six years of nothing.”
New Crescenta Valley Town Council President Robbyn Battles also announced the approval from the L.A. County board of supervisors for the big rig parking ban throughout La Crescenta. The CV Town Council had previously voted unanimously to recommend a parking ordinance to the board of supervisors after persistent complaints from residents about big rig trucks parked overnight at freeway overpasses.
Battles said that it will take two to three weeks to get the signage ready to be posted at the overpasses, which will inform truckers of the ban. Sheriffs and CHP officials will also give warnings to violators during this initial period. The ban will restrict trucks from parking in the designated locations between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The CVCA meets the last Thursday of the month. All are welcome to attend.