Meeting held to discuss Rosemont Preserve, potential land purchase.
At the peak of Rosemont Avenue sits eight acres of land purchased in 2005 by Terry Villanueva and her son Justin Whalin in the hopes of opening a private school on the land. However, concerns of nearby neighbors led them to try to preserve the land as an alternative, something the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy – the AFC, a nonprofit conservation group – is continuing to do today.
The AFC hosted a meeting at Rosemont Middle School Monday night concerning their intended purchase of the land. The agreed deadline between the AFC and the landowners is April 30 at a price of about $450,000, which is a large discount from the original purchase price of the land. A sizable amount of that purchase price has already been raised – about $350,000 – through a grant from L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
La Crescenta resident Paul Rabinov, an AFC board member, spoke about what could happen with the land should the AFC not meet their April 30 goal.
“Our understanding is that, at present, the property could be developed with perhaps as many as eight homes,” said Rabinov.
Rabinov noted that despite the numerous mountains in the La Crescenta area, there was little access to these areas.
“It struck me that having an opportunity to potentially have access to open space was something that would be extremely beneficial, not just to me but to my kids and the community at large.”
Rabinov further spoke of the AFC’s opportunity to preserve this open space indefinitely.
“One of the important aspects of this specific property is that with the AFC’s purchase of this property, this property is taken off the market forever and will be prevented from any sort of development.”
The AFC’s plan would leave the land largely as open space. The land would be accessible for a series of docent led tours and might otherwise be gated off and not wide open to the public at large.
A series of tours of the property are being held by the AFC before April 30 to gauge what other uses for the property members of the community may foresee.
Monday night, the AFC also took time to thank those who helped them raise money, including Supervisor Antonovich and the efforts of others, including the work of several school children to raise money via T-shirt sales, and Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who aided the AFC in conserving other properties and also attended the meeting.
“I’m a big supporter of open space and this is a great parcel of land,” said Portantino. “The beauty of community activism is you make things happen. The beauty of a meeting like this is to involve everybody, get it all out, figure out what’s going on and how do we work together to preserve the foothills for our children and grandchildren.”
The need for donations to make up the remaining $85,000 to $100,000 was noted, although AFC Executive Director John Howell expressed confidence in reaching the goal.
“We’re certain we’re going to make this acquisition,” Howell said.
For more information on the Rosemont Preserve or the AFC, visit www.arroyosfoothills.org.