Jay Geisenheimer  EQUESTRIAN ESTATES DIRECTOR  for  RODEO REALTY  #01301526 
Jay Geisenheimer
phone: 818-469-5473
fax: 818-841-7618


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Contents

THE WHOLE FOODS PROJECT
 
 
In June ,2006 I was appointed to the newly formed Rancho Review Board. 10 neighbors spread throughout the Rancho were also appointed to complete the Board. Our job was and is to review any and all projects that were and are applying to build a project adjacent or in the Burbank Rancho. The first project was the Whole Foods Market.
 
 
This turned out to be the most controversial proposal to ever hit the city of Burbank. Articles for and against this Market  appeared in all the local papers many times as well as The New York Times.  The location for this market  was to be the corner of Main and Alameda,  an already high traffic area. The developer and Whole Foods wanted to put a 60,000 square foot store on a 72,000 square foot lot with 2 levels of underground parking. Quite an enormous undertaking for a neighbor to horse zoned streets. Why did they want to put such a huge store in  Burbank when the neighboring cities of Studio City and Glendale had smaller stores [19,000 and 45,000 sq ft respectively] was a major concern.
 
Many Rancho Review Board members had gatherings on their street so that neighbors could see the project and voice their opinion. It was never a question that this was a beautiful building and architecturally would fit into the charm and aura of the Burbank Rancho. And that is where it ended for many people. The Burbank Rancho is laid out in 3 sections: The area between Victory and Main, the area between Mariposa and Parish/Keystone, and Bob Hope Dr to California Street. Of course the area between Main and Victory would be the MOST impacted by this project as traffic would cut thru streets such as Spazier, Elm, and Chavez.  This would be very dangerous to the equestrians  riding their horses to the LAEC or the trails. And of course the 2 day care centers on Main and the children walking to Jordan Middle School across Oak, and lastly Mckinley on Valencia.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
The neighbors against this project organized and went to City Council numerous times to express their concern about the negative impact to the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the developer and his associate decided to take their own course of action. Instead of meeting with the naysayers and trying to work out a system that could soften the edges of this project [ such as calming devices at the entrance to 6 affected streets] they decided to have little gatherings at the homes of neighbors in the less impacted area of the Rancho. .This only stirred up “neighbor against neighbor”  in a usually unified and cohesive neighborhood.  That was the ugliest part of this project.
In the end, 4 City Council sessions had the Whole Foods Project  on the agenda. The first session went from 6:30 PM to 2:50 AM as neighbors expressed their feelings to the Council. At 3 AM Council voted 3-2 to uphold the Planning Board’s denial of this project. However the Council did move the project to the following week to review a smaller store. On February 20, 2006 again with a full Chamber this project was then reopened and again upheld the Planning Board’s decision to deny this project 3-2. 2 more sessions followed as the developer asked for reconsideration and in the end the project was 4-1 to deny this project with an implied  “with prejudice “.
 
At this time many neighbors have appeared before City Council to ask for the reinstatement of the Rancho Master Plan, that plan which protects the horsekeeping and prevents this kind of scenario from happening again. Basically we have 1 year to get this incorporated because in 1 year the developer WILL be back. It seems he has had an option on this corner registered with the state for 10 years. So they have not left as gracefully as one would think.  To be continued!
                                                
 
  
MY REVIEW FOR THE RANCHO REVIEW BOARD submitted to Planning Office August 2006
 

I have spoken to many neighbors about the Whole Foods coming to the corner of Main & Alameda. There is an overwhelming positive reaction to this development. At the same time there is an overwhelming concern about the traffic it will bring. In the last 3 weeks there have been 2 big car accidents on this corner. In addition there have been 3 deaths as a result of traffic on this corner in the last 2 years.. Probably this market will draw customers from a 35 mile radius as does Empire Mall. There is a huge traffic concern for this corner.


Entrances: The entrance to the market from Main Street is a horrific idea. Main Street is one lane in each direction and cars trying to enter this entrance from the North and South will completely tie up the traffic to a stand still. My solution is to have the exit from the store in its present location, with a right hand turn only, and the entrance to the store will be in the middle of the Alameda side. The entrance will have one lane entering from the west and one lane entering form the east. All market deliveries thru the alley way will be confined to a 7AM to 1PM delivery schedule something every major clothing retailer in the Los Angeles area adheres to. Having a separate entrance and exit and only on to a 5 lane street – Alameda – could help the ensuing traffic issues. Even a traffic light on Main at Valencia cannot help because there is no room for a left hand turn lane in either direction on Main.In addition there is the issue of the horse traffic on Main to the trails. My suggestion for Valencia is restricted parking and a defined horse path preferably on the sidewalk between Valencia and Alameda. In addition a defined light for horse traffic to cross Alameda like at the corner of Western and Riverside will be helpful. And last is a flashing red light on Alameda on the North side just before the curve to slow the traffic heading into the blind spot created by the curve before the light at Alameda and Main. 31-2417, 31-2425

Variance: Although I don’t agree with it I am willing to bend on this issue to have more cooperation on the traffic issue. I think 20 feet rather than 25 feet is tolerable.31-2417

Landscape: Not enough native plants are being used in this plan. The hedges are awful. There are many types of grasses that will grow and soften the sides of the building and help give it a softer more rural and country feeling that is the aura of the Rancho. Grasses like giant feather grass, star grass, fountain grass, lavender and agapanthus. And there are many more of these perennials that flourish year round to soften the monolith feeling. 31-2425 Architectural: 2 sides of this building are not to code 31-2419. This needs to be corrected.

Other concerns: The landscape is not wide enough and needs to be at least 5 feet wide. There shall be no ticketing or gate in the underground parking as this will just slow up traffic.


IS   THE REAL ESTATE MARKET IN BUBBLE TROUBLE?

 
 
 
You can’t go anywhere without hearing people talk about “the real estate bubble.” Such talk drives me to distraction, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because there is no real estate
bubble. Bubbles are for bathtubs.
 
Despite a thousand articles in Sunday newspaper real estate sections, the bubble is a myth. The real estate markets in many areas are going through a normal correction cycle. I’m going to tell you how to recognize the signs of a correction in your market, how you can avoid getting sucked into “bubble trouble”, and how you can even benefit from the current environment.
 
POP GOES THE MARKET?
A bubble is a market in which the value of the key asset is inflated based on speculation and psychology. Because of this, true bubble markets can burst overnight when something happens to shatter the perception of value. That’s why the internet boom of the late 1990’s was a true bubble: people suddenly realized that 90% of the dotcoms were companies with no way to make money. Talking about a bubble implies a sudden burst, and real estate does not work that way. You don’t go to sleep one night with your house worth half a million dollars and wake up to find it’s lost half it’s value. Also the real estate market is a regional phenomenon based on all kinds of factor’s: migration to and from an area, job growth and local economies. So while there is no bubble, there are areas in the U.S. that are experiencing corrections that will continue over the next 6 – 24 months. There are also markets that will appreciate over that same period. The trick is
keeping your cool and taking advantage of the opportunities.
 
A BUBBLE IS A MATTER OF PERCEPTION
Take the Southern California real estate market. It’s reached a median price of well over half a million dollars after three years of 30, 40, and 50 per cent appreciation. That’s unsustainable. There are enough people with the income to keep buying homes in that market now that the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates. Before buyers could slip into a $500,000 home with a 5.25% mortgage, but the cost of the money has gone up so those people can’t buy.
 
The result? The L.A. metro market is coming back to a more realistic level where homes appreciate more slowly and sell for less. This is where perception comes in. If you haven’t gotten the memo that the market is changing, this will appear like a reason for panic. If you’re still thinking you can buy a house, hold it for a year and “flip” it for a 30% profit, you’re in for a reality check. But if you can spot the signs in your area that the market is slowing, you can stay calm and even profit.
 
SIGNS OF A CORRECTING MARKET:
More inventory on the market.
Houses stay on the market longer.
Sellers are forced to drop their prices, often multiple times
 
 
Real Estate is cyclical, and the cycles last for years. It’s a mistake to react based on what has happened in the last six months. Speculation throws everything out of whack because it is a short term strategy. Real estate investing must be for the long term.
 
THE HOT MARKETS
Because real estate is regional there are many “secondary markets” that remain promising. These are usually smaller cities with attractive lifestyles or “feeder” cities that serve larger, overpriced metro areas:
    Tucson, Az, Orlando, Fl., Wilmington, NC. Ashville, NC Santa Fe, NM, Boise, Idaho
 
These areas are still affordable, which makes them very attractive. They have healthy economies and are good opportunities to get into now. That’s the question you should ask as an investor: “What markets should I be getting out of, and what markets should I be getting into?” Even when the hottest markets are in correction mode, there are always high value markets for the smart investor, as long as you look at price point and the potential for appreciation.
 
STAY COOL FOR THE LONG HAUL
 
The most important thing you can do in this real estate environment is avoid panic selling. Real Estate is not like the stock market. It’s like a drive through the Rocky Mountains. You will have rises and dips. Hold tight and wait it out, especially if you live in a market that has strong fundamentals, like lots of people still moving to the area. Over the long term, the value in real estate will stabilize and you’ll profit. Now is not the time to sell. But it is a great time to buy.
 
 
 
Written by: Kendra Todd on September 26, 2006
The result? The L.A. metro market is coming back to a more realistic level where homes appreciate more slowly and sell for less. This is where perception comes in. If you haven’t gotten the memo that the market is changing, this will appear like a reason for panic. If you’re still thinking you can buy a house, hold it for a year and “flip” it for a 30% profit, you’re in for a reality check. But if you can spot the signs in your area that the market is slowing, you can stay calm and even profit.
 
SIGNS OF A CORRECTING MARKET:
More inventory on the market.
Houses stay on the market longer.
Sellers are forced to drop their prices, often multiple times
 
 
Real Estate is cyclical, and the cycles last for years. It’s a mistake to react based on what has happened in the last six months. Speculation throws everything out of whack because it is a short term strategy. Real estate investing must be for the long term.
 
THE HOT MARKETS
Because real estate is regional there are many “secondary markets” that remain promising. These are usually smaller cities with attractive lifestyles or “feeder” cities that serve larger, overpriced metro areas:
    Tucson, Az, Orlando, Fl., Wilmington, NC. Ashville, NC Santa Fe, NM, Boise, Idaho
 
These areas are still affordable, which makes them very attractive. They have healthy economies and are good opportunities to get into now. That’s the question you should ask as an investor: “What markets should I be getting out of, and what markets should I be getting into?” Even when the hottest markets are in correction mode, there are always high value markets for the smart investor, as long as you look at price point and the potential for appreciation.
 
STAY COOL FOR THE LONG HAUL
 
The most important thing you can do in this real estate environment is avoid panic selling. Real Estate is not like the stock market. It’s like a drive through the Rocky Mountains. You will have rises and dips. Hold tight and wait it out, especially if you live in a market that has strong fundamentals, like lots of people still moving to the area. Over the long term, the value in real estate will stabilize and you’ll profit. Now is not the time to sell. But it is a great time to buy.
 
Written by: Kendra Todd on September 26, 2006