NEWS FROM THE CVCA » Charon Weisman

The new proposal for the Verdugo Hills Golf Course property presented to the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee on Oct. 20 by Snowball West, the current owners, is a 221-unit small lot development. Each home, planned to range from 1700 to 2400 square feet, will have a two-car garage. The buildings would be built mostly on the current golf course and driving range area, leaving a small segment for a monument to those interned on the property immediately after Pearl Harbor. The developer said it has not yet been decided if the community will be gated or not but if it is restricted the public will have access to the monument. Two entrances to the complex are planned along La Tuna Canyon Road.

One string of homes is slated for the northern part of the property along Tujunga Canyon Boulevard, currently “Bandito Park” where a volunteer cleans up trash and creates rock cairn sculptures. These few homes would have separate driveways onto Tujunga Canyon Boulevard. This is a very dangerous design in my opinion, given the nearly bumper-to-bumper speeding traffic along that stretch during rush hours.

Snowball West architect Janek Dombrowa said he based the design of the denser housing along La Tuna Canyon Road on Venice, California with the homes facing sidewalks and the garages in the back on narrow streets without any parking. The total development, including the small public monument, is planned with only 75 guest parking spots.

There are approximately 111 trees on the property and the developer said they plan to retain 75 of them, presumably the protected oaks and sycamores. The large old oaks on the parcel designated as historically significant because of its use as a WWII internment site are expected to be saved. This is the area that will become a monument.

Snowball West is suggesting a public-private partnership between the eventual homeowners association and the city of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks for a walkway or trail along the upper edge of the developed portions of the property. This would separate the homes from the hillside open space and have amenities such as exercise spots and benches. The developers envision small parking lots at either end of the trail, one on Tujunga Canyon Boulevard on the north and the other on La Tuna Canyon Road at the southwest side for the public. It wasn’t specified if these two lots are part of the 75 guest parking spaces.

The original draft EIR noted that the impacts of developing the property in the areas of Aesthetics and Loss of Recreational Open Space could not be mitigated to a level of insignificance. As the Save the Verdugo Hills Golf Course Facebook group points out, this new proposal still fails to mitigate these areas. I feel the increased traffic from this project on top of the prior approved Canyon Hills project, 220-plus homes planned a bit to the west, will also be an unmitigatable negative impact. The Snowball West traffic engineer admitted that the revised EIR would need to have updated traffic elements as well.

I saw no support for the project among the residents packing the meeting room on Oct. 20. If you share concern for keeping this massive, poorly planned project from coming to fruition, please join Crescenta Cañada VOICE in its efforts.

And the development pressure continues. Another large project is being presented to the STNC Land Use Committee this week, Canyon Park, 242 homes proposed for currently vacant land in Big Tujunga Canyon. Join the Facebook page Stop the Canyon Park Development to find out how you can help.

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