One Story Town is Sepulveda Bl., from Oxnard St. north to Victory Bl.
It is 2,569 feet long, almost a half a mile. It encompasses the Orange Line Metro Busway, LA Fitness, Costco, Wendy’s, Chef’s Table, The Barn, CVS, Dunn Edwards, Bellagio Car Wash, Wells Fargo Bank, Enterprise, Jiffy Lube and other small businesses selling used cars, folding doors, RV rentals, Chinese food, hair cutting, and ceramic tile.
The Southern Pacific freight trains once ran through the present day Orange Line, and they fashioned the district into a lumber- oriented, light industrial area. Such behemoths as Builder’s Emporium were located here, and the stretch of Oxnard that borders the old rail line has retained an industrial use.
The zoning designations for almost all the parcels along Sepulveda are commercial. They prohibit residential within walking distance of the Orange Line, and they prohibit it even though buses run up and down Sepulveda!
Available online for public research, is the Los Angeles’ ZIMAS, a website run by the Department of City Planning. Here one can select a parcel, for example, 6206 Sepulveda Blvd., where The Barn furniture store is located, and see that it occupies two parcels totaling 44,250 SF. It is not, according to ZIMAS, in a transit-oriented area, nor is it designated as a pedestrian oriented one, nor is it part of a community redevelopment one.
Someday the owners of The Barn, which has sold, since 1945, brown stained furniture in heavy wood to seemingly nobody, may choose to sell their business. And here there is enormous potential to develop a first-class residential and commercial building just steps from the Orange Line.
Residents of Halbrent St. just east of The Barn and other businesses, are on the ass-end of parking lots, illegally parked homeless RVs, and are subject to the use of their street as a speedway for cars entering and exiting Costco. Maybe, just for once, Halbrent St. might see a better development on its west side.
Every single one of the businesses, up and down Sepulveda, between Oxnard and Victory, is located, by observation, in a transit- oriented area. Yet ZIMAS states they are not.
Perhaps that will change as Los Angeles reviews its zoning, and permits taller, denser, more walkable development within a 5-minute walk from public transit.
At dusk, with the early October sun hitting the one-story buildings, there is a homely, lowbrow, neat banality to the structures along this stretch.
This is not the worst of Van Nuys. It is generally tidy. But nobody living nearby, some residing in million-dollar homes, would come here to mingle, to socialize, to sit and drink coffee, eat cake, shop or walk with their kids after dark.
Studio City has Tujunga Village.
And we, in Van Nuys, have, this:
The One Story Town: what is it and what could it be? Might this district, one day, contain vibrant restaurants, outdoor cafes, beer gardens, garden apartments, parks, trees, flowers, fountains? Why not?
In planning for 2027, 2037, 2047 and beyond why would we keep the preferences of car-oriented, suburban dreaming, 1975 Van Nuys, in place? Why are thousands of parking spaces at the Orange Line Busway used to store cars for Keyes Van Nuys? Is this the best we can do?
Could not a group of architects, developers, urban planners, government leaders and vocal citizens devise a Sepulveda Plan to transform this wasted opportunity into something better, or even ennobling?
Where is our vision? And why are we so starved for it when we live inside Los Angeles, the greatest factory of imagination, illusion and improvisation the world has ever seen?