Owners of Goss Canyon property are ready to sell, preserving the space for CV community.
By Mary O’KEEFE
With assistance from Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, the land set aside as the Rosemont Preserve is closer to a reality.
Antonovich has committed $350,000 of the $450,000 needed to purchase the 7.75-acre property at the top of Rosemont Avenue in Goss Canyon.
The land was purchased in 2005 by Terri Villanueva, the owner of The Learning Castle and La Cañada Preparatory, and was, at first, slated as a school site. Villanueva’s son Justin Whalin spoke at a CV Town Council meeting about his proposal, however neighbors were concerned about the school project.
“When we first purchased [the property] our intention was to build a school,” Whalin said. “But the community was not completely behind [that choice].”
The Whalin family has been part of the community for 20 years. They love the area, respect the community and loved the property.
“Particularly my mother loves that valley,” Whalin said.
“The property had been on [Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy] for about four years,” said La Crescenta resident Paul Rabinov, a Conservancy board member.
However the price of the land was too high at that time so the idea of purchasing was put on the back burner. Then the owners and Conservancy representatives spoke and the price was lowered. The owners were prepared to work with a non-profit.
“We were lucky that the owners were so willing to work with us,” said John Howell, AFC executive director.
The Conservancy felt they could move forward with exploring a purchase.
Representatives from the Conservancy met with representatives from Antonovich’s office in September.
“We presented the idea,” Rabinov said. “[Antonovich] wanted to make certain that [the preserve] was a community priority.”
The Conservancy representatives then began meeting with community members and neighbors adjacent to property. They brought the proposal to the Crescenta Valley Town Council and Land Use Committee.
Howell said it was important to both Antonovich and the Conservancy that the community be involved with not only the decision to purchase but also to determine what the preserve will look like after the purchase.
“The idea [from the start] was that we would work with the community and see what they wanted,” Howell said. “[Community support] came in loud and clear.”
The Conservancy went back to Antonovich with community support and the commitment of funds was made. Now the Conservancy is working with community members to meet the remainder of the costs and continue their outreach.
At this point, the only thing certain is the area will not be developed but as far as what the open space will look like after the purchase is completed is still up to the community.
The Conservancy is committed to get input from the community as to what they want to see done with the land, whether it be completely left alone or brought back to a more natural habitat by clearing invasive plants and opening it for tours.
Howell said he and other members of the Conservancy are continuing to speak with nearby neighbors, community leaders and members before moving forward.
“We will have a booth at Harvest Market [on Sundays in Montrose],” said Steve Pierce, a community member who will be helping the Conservancy’s outreach.
There will also be a town hall meeting that is in the planning process. Pierce expects that to be scheduled for February.
There is still funding that is needed to complete the sale. Those donations can be made at community meetings or through the Conservancy website www.arroyosfoothills.org
“Now it will be there for everybody, forever,” Whalin said.