The Hollywood Commission passed on first reading an ordinance to create the Emerald Hills Safety Enhancement District. The district will include the section west of 46th Avenue and includes 512 single-family homes. It will come back before the Commission for a second reading likely in April. The Commission wants to ensure enough time so that everyone who lives in that section of Emerald Hills receives proper notification that their community will become a taxing district.
Residents of western Emerald Hills spoke at the meeting in favor of creating the district. For about seven years, a group of about 200 residents have been paying an off-duty Hollywood police officer to patrol their neighborhood during daytime hours. Emerald Hills is considered a pleasant neighborhood and therefore a good target for burglars, according to people who spoke during the meeting. The households who participate in this effort pay $700 per residence per year for the protection. Under the taxing district, all households in the western portion of Emerald Hills would be charged $250 per residence per year for the enhanced protection.
“This is something we need for western Emerald Hills,” said Andrew Sossin, who is leading the effort for the taxing district. “Since we started this policing program, crime in our community has gone down by 90 percent. This is not only good for our community but for the entire area, because by us paying extra we are adding more police on the street. We polled the people who would be part of this taxing district and 93 percent of the responses we got were in favor of creating the taxing district.”
Sandra Veszi Einhorn, an Emerald Hills resident, said she believes the district is needed to reduce or eliminate crime in the community. “We need to band together to protect our neighborhood,” she said.
Members of the Commission expressed some concern and asked whether a new taxing district was really needed. They also hope to hear from more residents and want to make sure everyone in western Emerald Hills knows that this taxing district is set to become a reality.
Commissioner Kevin Biederman said, “I am not convinced the majority of the property want it. But If we have a sufficient number of property owners that want it I think I could support it,” he said.