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20121 Ventura Blvd,
Ste. 309

Woodland Hills, Ca. 91364
(818) 347-4737

Federation of Hillside & Canyon Associations

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TPOA History

(See also the TPOA Accomplishments Link for additional historical information)

TPOA PRESIDENTS

Dates and sequence are developed from best available data.

Ernest Frankel 1962-1963 Irma Dobbyn 1979-1983
Lovell McCauley 1963-1964 Elizabeth Bowers 1983-1984
John Randolf 1964-1965 Joel Palmer 1984-1989
Louise Frankel 1965-1968 Al Margolin  1989-1991
Robert Finkel 1968-1971 Joel Palmer 1991-1992
Louise Frankel 1971-1972 Greg Nelson 1993-1998
Irma Dobbyn 1972-1978 Helen Itria Norman 1998-2005
Regis Kennedy 1978 David Garfinkle 2006-present
                      

A LETTER FROM HELEN ITRIA NORMAN , TPOA PRESIDENT 1998 – 2005

Our History

The Tarzana Property Owners Association, which today numbers about 600 households, was formed in 1962 (incorporated in 1965) after residents rallied to combat a large non-residential project from landing smack in the heart of an established hillside neighborhood of homes.

Spearheaded by Louise and Ernie Frankel, they learned quickly about planning and zoning regulations and became familiar with the workings of City Hall. And City Hall became very aware of TPOA. They learned to protect the quiet, residential quality of their community. Through vigilance, for example, there are no apartments, condos or duplexes south of Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana, nor are there any businesses beyond 300 feet south of the boulevard.  They fought to get strict hillside grading and density ordinances passed, and stood up to developers --- not just fighting them but working with them, convincing them to modify their plans and reduce their impact.

A recent example: Braemar Country Club planned a Sports Club addition, a square, glaring white boxlike structure with no architectural relationship to the existing clubhouse – a visible eyesore to neighbors. Many meetings – on site with neighbors, downtown at City Hall with our then Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski’s deputies – spanned more than two years. Eventually, Braemar complied. They changed architects and presented a totally new design. . .which we nitpicked some more until they reduced the height, planned for trees, muted outdoor lighting, softer color tone, etc.

Continuing south on Reseda Blvd . . . Many of you have walked or picnicked at the top, at Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park . You probably take it for granted. Well, it took TPOA 30 years to get that land  -- with the support of Marvin Braude, his chief deputy, Cindy Miscikowski, plus trips to Sacramento and the state’s finance committee, and appearances before City Council. Finally, Louise Frankel told our own Robert Philibosian, who had been California ’s Attorney General, about the land becoming available from the developer – but we had only a week to come up with the money. He discussed it with Governor George Deukmejian and by the end of the week, state funds were made available for the purchase.

Then, Cindy flew in a helicopter with Councilwoman Rita Walters, pointing out all the access routes into the park, to convince her that closing off “Reseda to the Sea” would not bar her constituents or the general public from enjoying the park. That plan for a freeway is now permanently “off the map”.

Also, Corbin Canyon will always remain a wildlife/nature haven because TPOA directed Tarzana’s million dollars in Quimby funds towards its purchase in 1994. It took a lot of convincing and salesmanship (builders were drooling at the prospect of filling that beautiful canyon with row houses) but TPOA did it. In the fall of 2002, those 80 acres were officially dedicated by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy as the start of the Big Wild. With the addition of adjacent properties – Avatar and 21000 Mulholland – parkland stretches almost solidly from Corbin beyond Canoga Avenue , and south to Mulholland.

There’s more – so much more:  the Tarzana post office. . . the Snoopy footbridge over Wilbur Avenue to protect schoolchildren from floodwaters . . . storm drains along Vanalden and Wilbur avenues are all the direct result of TPOA involvement, ideas, pressure, cajoling. Even El Caballero Country Club has TPOA to thank. Without our intercession, they would have lost a good portion of their golf course to a building tract.

Louise Frankel and Irma Dobbyn spent 3 years on the Encino/Tarzana Community Plan – and many more on the Mulholland Scenic Corridor committee.

Our main purpose is to protect and enhance the quality of life for our residents. But we concern ourselves with Tarzana as a whole. We not only want nice residential areas, we want an attractive, successful business district as well. So we work with all groups to make this happen. Seven years ago, Tarzana became the first Ventura Blvd. community to qualify for Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) status – a movement spearheaded by then- TPOA President, Greg Nelson. We started with a Streetscape committee. The aim: to upgrade the business district and create a special identity for Tarzana. This was followed by winning a grant from Public Works for 5 “pocket parks” with brick paving, plantings and special Tipu trees. The section of Ventura Blvd. between Reseda Blvd. and Crebs is now officially titled “Safari Walk” in recognition of our community’s namesake “Tarzan” and his creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The Tarzana Improvement Association (TIA) is an offshoot of TPOA and is expanding on this identity with jungle animal topiaries on the sidewalks, and metal cutouts of jungle animals on lampposts – and, of course, more trees.

The latest major endeavor: rescuing the corner of Vanalden and Ventura . So many businesses wanted to buy it and cut down all those wonderful old trees and build to the limit. For example: Save-on Drugs wanted to locate there, possibly with underground parking, and have a prescription pick-up service off the alley! Public Storage did buy it from the original Garden Statuary people, and their plans were okayed by the city, but we appealed . . . and we won. Our appeal was based not on their right to build, but upon the traffic glut that would be created by their huge trucks, storage bins, etc. Public Storage realized it would not be profitable to proceed, so they leased the corner to another garden statuary outfit.  But eventually, we knew, someone would move in and Tarzana would lose what is essentially a landmark. We hated that thought – but what could work at this difficult location?? What would be good for our town??

I thought about it and sat down and wrote a letter – the President’s Letter for TPOA’s newsletter. In effect, I wrote, wouldn’t it be nice if some corporation….or person….would donate the money for a much-needed Community Center and, in the process, save that corner. Six months passed with little reaction except some gentle teasing. Then my phone rang. This wonderful Tarzana homeowner offered to contribute “seed money” toward a community center. That “seed money” amounted to one million dollars! You know the rest: The Tarzana Community & Cultural Center Foundation was formed. The city and the state pitched in, adding $500,000 to contributions from the community and, on April 30 of 2002, the purchase from Public Storage cleared escrow. The Foundation is thriving with dedicated, active members who have pitched in to make it work. The Spanish-style house that’s been there from the beginning has been restored. . . the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce and TIA have their offices there . . . and TPOA is now holding its board meetings there through the courtesy of the Foundation.

This is what we do. We attend planning and zoning hearings; we fight ruthless invaders, unsightly intrusions; we try to help the good guys. Above all, we work for the community. We do our homework. We believe that if we want things to work, we have to work . . . it starts with us. We get the attention of City Hall without being shrill or petulant. As one zoning administrator told a group at a recent meeting; “See? That’s why they win their cases; they’re prepared.” We’re proud of that.

We’re also proud of our annual Town Hall meetings. Held each spring at El Caballero Country Club, we attract crowds from 150 to 300 people to hear and interact with the panelists which range from top city officials to political candidates. (We are non-political, but folks in leadership positions vie for our approval.) We have had candidates for mayor, city council, state assembly, U.S. Congress debate at our Town Hall meetings. Police Chief Daryl Gates and Warren Christopher faced off at their only one-on-one encounter. (The next day, the riots erupted.)

Our Board meets the second Monday of every month except July and August, in the Tarzana Community & Cultural Center at 7:30 p.m. Our meetings are open to everybody and we wish more people would attend.

We are all volunteers.  And we need more hardworking volunteers like us – or simply members to help support this work. If interested, call TPOA’s number: (818) 344-2137 and let us know. Our dues are just $15 a year. We think you get your money’s worth!

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