Verdugo preservation effort scores victory in new park

first_imgNearby, the conservancy already owns the 1,100-acre La Tuna Canyon Park. That’s right next to Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon Park and hundreds of acres of open space. Los Angeles has been piecing together parcels to enlarge Verdugo Mountain Park. In 2005, the city used local and state park bond funds to buy 145 acres that was the missing link need to join other parcels into one 485-acre park. The 80-acre parcel dedicated today will expand the park and provide easier access to fire-road trails. The city was able to buy the property after the landowner was denied a request to subdivide his property for homes. While he could have tried again, Greuel said, her office persuaded the owner to sell the land for open space. Because of high land prices and demand for housing, steep property once considered too expensive to develop is now being proposed for housing. Bill Eick with the Shadow Hills Property Owners Association said residents along the Verdugos know they have to act now to keep the mountains untouched. “It’s probably easier to save these parcels in big chunks, before it gets developed and we have to do it piece by piece,” he said. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The range of hills sandwiched between the Golden State and Foothill freeways has long been home to small ranches and open space, providing residents a semirural lifestyle. Greuel initiated a Verdugo Mountains open space task force last year with residents and officials from Glendale, Burbank, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Congressman Adam Schiff’s office. The group aims to pool money, purchase parcels that could be developed and coordinate trails and public space in the hills. Swaths of land already have been saved from development. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is going to take over 610 acres of open space set aside by the Canyon Hills development. That will connect to 490 acres purchased by the private Fondland Preservation Foundation. An 80-acre parcel in the Verdugo Mountains once proposed for a housing subdivision will be dedicated today as a public park. The $2.1 million land purchase curves around an existing housing tract and halts development’s creep into the hills. It’s part of a quiet campaign by conservancy groups and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel to buy land in the Verdugos that has been eyed for development. “When we saw the soaring home prices and the development in the community, we realized we had to start thinking about saving the Verdugo Mountains,” Greuel said. “We don’t want to look back and say, `If only we had purchased that land and preserved the Verdugo Mountains.”‘ last_img

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