LAWSUIT: National Charity League in Glendale files complaint against be.group
Twelve Oaks Lodge, which has operated for decades, is set to close on Nov. 1, displacing about 50 seniors. The facility's operator, be.group, wants to close the facility because it says it's too expensive to keep open, much to the chagrin of community members and residents.
If the council designates the woodsy campus in the 2800 block of Sycamore Avenue as a landmark without be.group's consent, it would be the first use of a provision they approved last year. A historic register property, which is protected by an extra layer of design rules, must meet certain criteria, such as be connected to a historic moment or person or an architectural style defined by the era. The council would need a supermajority vote to landmark the property.
Grant Michals, president of the Montrose Verdugo City Sparr Heights Neighborhood Assn., said his group didn't want to see Twelve Oaks turned into single-family homes, something that would be required by the area's zoning if the property was torn down.
“There is an attachment to that property and many people understand the history of it going back to the 1930s and would like to see that continue,” Michals said, referring to when the original owners of the site dedicated it to senior housing nearly eight decades ago.
Be.group, a nonprofit that operates other senior facilities throughout the state, was working on a deal to sell Twelve Oaks to a Santa Monica developer, but that fell through last month. A developer could, at most, build 30 single-family homes at the site.
Earlier this month, the council said it could not legally block be.group from closing its facility, but there could be other options such as buying the facility to operate it as affordable housing.
Officials are set to discuss those other options, as well as the plausibility of tapping the historic landmark provision, next week.
Dan Hutson, spokesman for be.group, said the organization plans to withhold comment on the proposal until the council actually begins discussing the provision.
The Glendale chapter of the National Charity League, which has long been dedicated to volunteering at Twelve Oaks, has also tried to block the closure of the facility by filing a complaint with the Attorney General's office, asking it to investigate whether be.group can lawfully sell the property for use as a noncharitable entity since it operates under a charitable trust.
The National Charity League ran Twelve Oaks from the 1970s until a decade ago, when it handed over operations of the charitable trust that controls the facility — with no money changing hands — to be.group.
Michals said the homeowners association hopes that by designating the property as historic, the council can help stall the sale or demolition of Twelve Oaks.
“We're looking to try and save it and to have it reopened hopefully under the leadership of the National Charity League,” Michals said.