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Groups to Receive Hearing on Best Buy Project

Sherman Oaks residents and neighborhood groups, who have been nervously awaiting the construction of a Best Buy electronics store, are getting at least one more chance to convince the city that more traffic improvements are needed before the retailer should be able to open its doors. After pressuring the city and councilmember Wendy Greuel’s office, the city has tentatively scheduled an appeal for Thursday March 10 at 4:30 p.m. at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center. Ellen Vukovich, who has been coordinating committees working on development projects for the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Associations, said SOHA and 32 co-appellants filed an appeal to ask the city to make more efforts to mitigate traffic concerns than it first proposed. “When you see what the requirements are for mitigation, it’s a joke,” Vukovich said. “Best Buy is required to only re-stripe and widen Milbank and have a sidewalk dedication. That’s it. That’s what they have been legally required to do.” The Best Buy will be built on the lot that was formerly home to a movie complex. The plan was approved by the neighborhood council, which has joined with SOHA in trying to get Best Buy to pay for more traffic improvements. Officials at Best Buy did not return calls seeking comments. Residents are waiting for the Department of Transportation to issue its report concerning traffic mitigation for the neighborhood. The planned Best Buy is situated next to the Sherman Oaks Library and a residential neighborhood called Library Square, which lies directly to the east. Vukovich said the fact that the store is planned so close to the 101/405 Freeway interchange makes SOHA and nearby residents worried that traffic will be worse than the developer expects. Calls to a consultant representing the developer were not returned. Earlier this month, Best Buy announced that it was planning to open an additional 75 stores in the United States and Canada under its Best Buy and Future Shop brands during its current fiscal year. Before the March 10 hearing at the Braude Center, Vukovich said that Greuel is planning to organize a community meeting to hear residents’ concerns about Best Buy.

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