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Goodbye Van Nuys, hello Sherman Oaks: L.A. Council OKs neighborhood switch

July 14, 2009 |  1:43 pm

A group of Van Nuys residents won approval today from the Los Angeles City Council to break off from Van Nuys and join the more upscale community of Sherman Oaks.

The council's 10-2 vote -- with Councilmen Tony Cardenas and Jose Huizar standing in opposition -- will redraw neighborhood boundaries to redesignate some 1,800 homes in an area bounded by Sepulveda, Oxnard and Burbank boulevards and Hazeltine Avenue. The group favoring the change gathered more than 600 signatures supporting its efforts. They argued they are isolated from Van Nuys by an industrial stretch and that their residents strongly identify with Sherman Oaks, in part because they shop Sherman Oaks businesses and children in the neighborhood attend Sherman Oaks schools.

It was just the latest in a string of San Fernando Valley name changes approved by the Council in recent years. But tempers ran hot during today's debate in council chambers. Cardenas, who represents part of Van Nuys, suggested the change was motivated by racism based on reported comments of one of the proponents at a neighborhood meeting. Other opponents of the move told council members the effort was an unabashed effort to boost property values.

The neighborhood councils of Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks opposed the proposal. Members of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, whose members voted 13 to 4 against the plan in January, said the move would cause “irreparable harm” to a community that has seen hundreds of residents sever ties with Van Nuys to join communities such as Valley Glen and Lake Balboa.

-- Maeve Reston at L.A. City Hall