By Jason KUROSU
As residents continue to protest a proposed 224-unit housing development on the grounds of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, recently revealed information about the site’s historical significance has added new dimensions to the debate. Recently released records indicate that the site was formerly the Tuna Canyon Detention Center, which housed Japanese American citizens, as well as Germans and Italians during World War II.
L.A. City Councilmember Richard Alarcon made a motion on Oct. 12, moving to include the site on the city’s list of Historic-Cultural monuments.
In the motion, Alarcon states, “In recent years, the proposed redevelopment of the site (commonly known by local residents as ‘the Verdugo Hills Golf Course’) with a residential subdivision has threatened to degrade the site’s historic value, remove natural open space and eliminate an opportunity to commemorate a significant historical resource.”
Historic-Cultural status would prevent any historic buildings or structures from any adverse impacts which would degrade the site’s historical significance. However, this status would not necessarily prevent the development from taking place.
Since no physical structures of the Tuna Canyon Detention Center still exist, a plaque noting the site’s historical significance would likely be erected, should the site achieve Historic-Cultural Status.
Residents discussed whether they believe the site’s historical significance should be preserved at a Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council Meeting Monday night.
“Is the history of this site worthy of recognition?” said Lloyd Hitt, former president of the Little Landers Historical Society. “I know the Little Landers Historical Society and the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley and the children and grandchildren of the Japanese that I have talked to believe it is.”
Currently, the developers are still in the process of recirculating the draft EIR for public comment.