By Jason KUROSU
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian visited with the citizens of Sunland and Tujunga on Monday, informing them of the latest developments in the retention of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course. The course is currently threatened by a proposed development of 229 condominium units.
Krekorian believes he can retain the course using funds from Proposition O, a bond measure signed in 2004 for projects that clean up pollution or, in this case, improve water quality and increase water conservation.
“We might – emphasis on might – have an opportunity to provide a funding source that can be used to preserve the golf course,” said Krekorian.
Krekorian was excited about the potential for Prop O funds, but remained cautious. The funds have yet to be approved, although Krekorian did meet with the Proposition O Oversight Committee, a meeting which he felt was “reasonably well received.”
In order for a project to be funded by Prop O, it must fall under some distinct criteria. Projects must satisfy three major criteria: make water quality improvements, achieve multiple objectives and be considered feasible, both structurally and financially.
“The Verdugo Hills Golf Course fits the criteria for Prop O funding,” said Rich Toyon, president of V.O.I.C.E. (Volunteers Organized In Conserving the Environment), a nonprofit organization interested in conservation of open spaces. Toyon also presented multiple aspects of the project, including how the Verdugo Hills course satisfies each of the criteria and sub-criteria for Prop O funding.
With a drawing of the proposed golf course project, Toyon showed the Volunteer Land Use Committee and residents in attendance the environmentally conscious additions to the golf course. Toyon described additional native vegetation which would be used to filter and slow down water that runs off from the hills and through the golf course, a cistern system which captures this water for irrigation use later on and other additions that make the course environmentally sound. Toyon also described other embellishments such as an expanded parking lot, walking trail and perhaps even a tennis court.
“[V.O.I.C.E.] has been trying to preserve this course for six, seven years. It is a recreational and environmental resource,” said Toyon.
Krekorian also spoke of the golf course as a precious resource, calling it “a cultural treasure of this area which people have grown up with for generations” and “scarce open space under the threat of development.
“For a variety of reasons, it is important to protect this open space property,” said Krekorian.
While remaining realistic, the councilman was still positive.
“Not one single project in CD2 (Council District 2) has been funded by Prop O. Only three have been funded in all of San Fernando Valley,” said Krekorian.
“If we can pull this off, it will be a huge victory for this region.”