Court Denies Snowball Rezoning

The proposed development of the former site of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course by Snowball West Investments was denied this week by the Supreme Court of California.
File photo


The Supreme Court of California has denied the petition for the review and de-publication request in the case of Snowball West Investments vs. City of Los Angeles.

This was a case that has gone from community meetings to the courts and finally ended with a decision by the Supreme Court of California on Jan. 24. And it all has to do with an old golf course and community activists who want to protect the nearby hills from over development and fire risks.

The property that once housed the Verdugo Hills Golf Course has been in flux for almost two decades.

In 2019, a rezoning ordinance request was denied by the City of Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee.

“We [went] to the [Los Angeles] City Council [on Wednesday] and made sure the council voted to approve the PLUM denial,” Yvonne Columbaro, a member of Protecting Our Foothill Community committee, told CVW at the time. “Good news: the vote was 14 to 0 in favor of PLUM denial of rezone.”

But then that decision was appealed to the state’s Supreme Court.

As reported in CVW in December 2019, the question before the PLUM committee was whether it would approve the rezoning, thereby changing a portion of the proposed development. The proposed plan for the land would be to develop the currently open space into 211 single-family homes with an additional 18 homes to be built farther to the north, between the Verdugo Wash right-of-way on the west and Tujunga Canyon Road to the east.

For many years, the fight to save the land has called upon its historic significance. The site was most famously Tuna Canyon Detention Station (TCDS), a clearinghouse for Japanese and other male immigrants whose countries of origin were determined as U.S. enemies from 1941-1943 during World War II. These men, from all over Southern California as well as immigrants shipped in from around the country, were deemed “enemy aliens.”

Prior to the TCDS, the land was reportedly a Native American village. As stated on the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition website, which in turn quotes “The First Angelinos” by William McCawley, “The Tongva village of Wiqangna was located at the west end of the Verdugo Mountains.” This area more likely refers to the area of Las Barras Canyon and La Tuna Canyon approximately where the closed Verdugo Hills Golf Course is presently located, and is the site of Vernal Springs.

In May 2019, the LA City Planning Commission voted to approve the housing project on the property. The Commission was met with about 80 opponents to the project, many of whom spoke. At that time the project was approved to have 215 housing lots and would include 30 acres of public space.

It is hoped this will now end Snowball West Investment’s push for rezoning, and the nearby residents can now rest knowing at least this threat to their hillsides is done.