Link to the most up-to-date information for the Sunland-Tujunga community.

Link to Land Use Commitee Library

Link to DWP MOU Page

Link to Kmart Property Page

Link to Verdugo Golf Course Page

Link to Angeles National Golf Club Page

Link to Election Page

Link to Education Committee Page

Our Community

Zoning, Land Use & Development

Early Notification System (ENS) Sign up to receive agendas for City Council and all City commissions, boards, and neighborhood councils. Follow the links to the subscriptions that interests you. STNC now sends their agendas through the City's ENS.


STNC Website



for PDFs
on this site


Canyon Hills Committee - This committee meets regarding the proposed 280 home development along the 210 Freeway. This proposal has the largest number of homes to be built on the Tujunga side of the freeway. Contact the STNC at (818) 951-7411 or for more information on the committee.

Posted 12/2006

Final tract maps are still in progress. Questions regarding the final tract maps have not been answered as yet.A notice of grading at the Duke Development was recently posted near 7201 La Tuna Canyon Rd. Check DAC meetings for latest updates.

Posted October 15, 2005

Full City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 – link to agenda is below: (starts on page 18)

TITLE: Los Angeles City Council Agenda
        DATE: 10/19/2005
        TIME: 10:00 AM


Summary of PLUM hearing held October 3, 2005

Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Hearing  October 3, 2005  re: "Canyon Hills" In Room 350 of City Hall, with standing room only, the latest decision in the  Canyon Hills development proposal was reached. The final decision will  be before the Full City Council  soon (date and time to be confirmed). The Decision: Appeals to the February 2005 Planning Commission decision were partially  denied, and partially granted when the PLUM Committee unanimously  approved a modified project granting the General Plan Amendment and  Zone Changes. Approved and sent to the full City Council was a  project consisting of 221 dwelling units all North of the 210 Freeway on  what is known as "Site A". The land South of the 210 Freeway, known as  "Site B" is offered to the SMMC as a donation. Still pending is a final  disposition regarding the "open space" on the Northern "Site A". Some  MAY be donated to the SMMC and some may be required to have what  is known as a "conservation easement" placed on the land. Deferment  of this aspect of the decision was recommended by PLUM member Weiss. Click here for the continuation of the above summary: Canyon_Hills_100305_PLUM.pdf

Posted 9/6/06

An ordinance authorizing the execution of the Development Agreement by and between the City of Los Angeles and Whitebird, Inc., doing business in California as California Whitebird, Inc., relating to real property in the Sunland-Tujunga-Lake View Terrace-Shadow Hills-East La Tuna Canyon Community Plan area located at 7000-8000 La Tuna Canyon Road.

The Canyon Hills Development Agreement, L.A. City Council File No. 05-1388-S1, Ordinance No.177701 was signed by the Mayor on 7-20-06. Click here for a PDF copy (25 pages).

Department of Transportation
2006 LOCAL DEVELOPMENT REPORT (LDR) dated 8-24-2006
Since its inception in 1992, the Department of Transportation (DOT), as assigned by the City Council, has been the lead in ensuring City compliance with the state-mandated Congestion Management Program (CMP). It includes the requirement for a countywiden Deficiency Plan, which was incorporated into the CMP in 1993. The CMP requires local jurisdictions to submit to MTA an annual Local Implementation Report (LlR) enumerating all development activity and all traffic mitigation projects/programs benefitting the CMP transportation network. Since 1994, the City of Los Angeles has maintained a positive balance of transportation improvement "credits” over new development "debits” to preserve compliance with the CMP. To date, the City has accumulated 2,107,508 in net credit points. Click to download a PDF of the full report.

Posted 8/2/05

PLUM Hearing for Canyon Hills will be Wednesday, September 14, 2005 at 2 PM.

Response to a recent Sunland-Tujunga Stakeholder inquiry:

Dear Ms. Herbel,

I can't seem to find an update on STNC web since the May 1, 2005 posting. Has there been an EIR on this project? If not, can't we require it according to CA state law. Does the committee agree with Ms. Greuel's desire for 230 homes on the north side? How does the committee feel about the 169 ranchettes? Who on City Planning agrees with this Low Density approval?  Is there a published vote somewhere so we can see who might be getting something from Whitebird?

Thank you kindly.

Dear Stakeholder,

Thanks for your inquiry. I'll try to be as brief as possible, but this is all quite complicated.

First, let me tell you that the latest information we have is that this project will come before the City of Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Management Committee on September 14, 2005. To answer one of your questions directly, at the February 24, 2005 planning commission hearing during which the Vesting Tentative Tract Map and the General Plan Amendment with Zone Change was approved by the commission, the votes were as follows:

  • Moved: Burg
  • Seconded: Mindlin (tract map) and Mahdesian (GPA and ZC)
  • Absent: Cardenes, George
  • Ayes (combination of the Tract Map and GPA/ZC): Atkinson, Chang, Cline, Mahdesian, Mindlin

The ONLY "NO" vote was from Commissioner Schiff.   He was the only commissioner who seemed to take notice of questions about the slope density ordinance

Now, the history:

The EIR on the project was circulated from October 1 to December 31, 2003. That was the period of time during which anyone could submit comments to City Planning about the EIR. There were roughly 200 comment letters on the EIR. You can find the EIR and comments on the city of Los Angeles planning website

(it's huge, so we don't copy it elsewhere)

During 2004, during the same time where the project applicant was preparing their responses to the comments on the EIR through the official city planning process, there were regular meetings on the subject of this project through a special committee that had been formed in STNC called the Residential Land Use Committee or "RLUC". The committee attempted to acquire more detailed information about a wide range of issues, including the actual current land use entitlements of the land in question, how the city interpreted and applied the existing land use, and numerous other questions that had been raised in comment letters on the EIR. The STNC board voted on and approved an official position about the project in November 2004. The position expressed numerous concerns about the land use plan amendments requested. In a nutshell, the position indicated that it had not been demonstrated to the committee's satisfaction that all the changes were actually necessary in order for the applicant to proceed with a reasonable development plan in accordance with all the existing land use plans and ordinances and respecting our community's wishes to retain horse keeping privileges, minimizing impact to the hillside and natural areas, and not create an unsafe or nuisance situation with regard to circulation. In essence, except for the horse keeping issue, the concerns seemed to be all the types of things that the slope density ordinance had been designed to address.

At the crux of the issue seems to be essentially these two main arguments: 1) Is the city of los angeles planning department properly interpreting the city-wide slope density ordinance or have they effectively nullified or side-stepped it? 2) Is clustering an essential and reasonable element of the existing land use plan, or something to be bartered in exchange for more entitlements?

First, regarding Slope Density:
What has been revealed through persistent inquiry is that the city claims it is appropriate for them to calculate entitlements on a 500-foot grid basis as an alternative to calculating it over the entire ownership. They claim that this method is reasonable particularly when dealing with such a large piece of land. The actual ordinance says that "slope" may be calculated in 500-foot increments, but it does not say that "density" can be determined on that basis; it indicates that density is determined by the product of the calculation over the entire land ownership. Now, common sense would tell you that whether you slice it up into 500-foot grids, or you calculate it over the entire "map", it should come out reasonably close. Some members of the community had engaged an independent engineer to verify calculations using the map which produced the 169 homes. This is how the issue of the minimum units per grid was revealed because the calculation came out with something like 66 units. Nobody will explain the basis for the original calculation of the 87 homes as published in the EIR and in responses to the comments on the EIR. The calculation of 169 emerged after responses to comments on the EIR and just a couple of days prior to the first public hearing on the project in December 2004, but there has never been an explanation of the 87. In response to criticism over how the City has handled the slope density ordinance, they have said that they have to be consistent now, even if they might have done a poor job of interpreting it over the years, otherwise they will be sued for treating one applicant different than another under the ordinance. This is in direct contrast to original responses on the question of "setting a precedent or practice" where Councilmember Greuel was advised that each hillside project stands on its own and there is no such thing as precedent. Councilmember Greuel seems to be favorable to an effort to "clean up" the slope density ordinance "for the future", but has not indicated that anything can be done about the current issue.

Another point on slope density to note is that our "community plan" (the land use plan in Los Angeles is broken into separate community plan areas) provides that the slope density ordinance applies not only in areas of "minimum" which are generally zones A1 and RE40, but all the way down to RE-11. This is rather unique because some other areas in the city do not extend the application beyond "minimum". This has been part of our community plan for decades. The project applicant has argued publicly that "slope density is moot" because they are asking for the change in the land use designation so that it will no longer apply.

Second, regarding the Clustering:
It's a widely recognized planning measure for lessening the impact of development on natural open spaces and hillside areas; to cluster the development to minimize the footprint. Clustering has been called for in our community plan for many years, and it's reiterated in the "Scenic Plan" recently passed to augment our community plan. There is a lot of implied legal theory with regard to whether or not someone can be compelled to cluster (meaning specifically not exercise development rights on a particular parcel of land because you're being told to exercise the right on another parcel of land that you own). The city seems to be taking the position that they are afraid they will get sued if they try to tell somebody exactly where and how to exercise the development rights. I'm sure opinions will vary about this subject.

BOTTOM LINE: Some people have argued that if the proper "slope density" was used (which is probably something between 66 and 169 homes) and clustered in accordance with our community plan and scenic plan, everything could be done in a way to respect our community's plan and still respect the basic development rights of the landowner. The project applicant claims that the 169 is the minimum result under slope density and their engineers claim this is not possible to cluster in the existing footprint. If they were to change the footprint to something that had not been analyzed already under the EIR, they'd have to change the EIR. Thus, the impasse. It should also be noted that the planning commission voted to grant the 230 entitlements on the North, but also (quite important) they did NOT change the land use designation on the South. This means that the project applicant technically would retain development rights on the South in addition to the 230 on the North if no further specific provisions are finalized in the process.

There are numerous other details that I have not addressed. I've tried to summarize the main points. There is also the question of how the open space will be conveyed, maintained, etc. There is a "development agreement" that the project applicant and the city would execute in order to set forth certain details including the transfer and maintenance of open space. There are other items in the development agreement that should be reviewed for any questions. For example, one thing that caught my attention is a provision in the development agreement where they could sell off a certain number of lots in groups of either 4 or 5 as a "bulk sale" and then none of the terms of the development agreement will apply to those lots. If you can picture a situation where certain lots are large or designated as "open space" but not transferred to a third party conservancy, retained as private ownership, then what might be possible to do if they are sold off and no longer subject to the "deal"? It's just a question that needs to be clarified, in my opinion. Some of these documents are enormous.  If you signed in at the last public hearing, the city should have sent you a package of the latest set of documents. I will try to get a scan of some of it posted on the STNC site, but as I said, some of it is just too enormous. You should be able to review a copy of the documents at the CD2 office on Foothill. The STNC office also has copies of various Canyon Hills information. If you think of other questions, let me know and I'll see if I can point you to more information.

Best regards,
Rhonda Herbel
Chair of the STNC's Ad-Hoc committee on Canyon Hills

Posted 5/1/05

Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 00:28:37 -0700
Subject: What is going on with Whitebird Canyon Hills
From: CAP Views <>
To: Canyon Area Preservation - 1 Whitebird Alert!

Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since you heard from me about Canyon Hills. A lot is happening, to be sure, but many of the most active people have had to tend to personal business (like work and family!) since the February Planning Commission meeting. We're coming up on another hearing, so it's time to get busy again. Here is an update:

PLUM Committee Meeting - The City Council's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee is the next stop for Canyon Hills. Before this meeting is scheduled, the Planning Commission will issue a report detailing their recommendations. We're waiting for the report and for a date to be set for PLUM (probably around the end of June). The PLUM decision will then go to the full City Council, who usually accept the committee's findings. PLUM will be a VERY IMPORTANT meeting to attend. It will be held at City Hall on a Thursday afternoon when it is eventually scheduled.

Wendy Greuel Position on Canyon Hills - It is rare for a City Council Member to appear before the Planning Commission on any issue in their district. Wendy Greuel came to the February meeting and read a statement but did not stay for the deliberations. Her position is: she opposes Whitebird's 280 home proposal with development on both sides of the 210; she wants no development on the south side; she supports the building of 230 homes on the north side of the 210; she fears if Canyon Hills is denied or reduced below 230 homes that the developer would put in 169 "ranchettes" over the whole property (their claim to what they could do by legal right); her idea of a compromise is to support the General Plan Amendment allowing high density development on the north "Area A" so the developer will donate the remaining land.

LA City Planning Commission Evades A City Law - The Slope Density Ordinance is a City-wide law that limits the amount of development in steep hillside areas (designated Minimum Density in the General Plan and Community Plan). The February Planning Commission decision determined that Whitebird wouldn't have to follow this law by changing the land use designation of the development area to Low Density. The land is no less steep now than when it was designated Minimum Density to control the very kind of development that Canyon Hills represents. This decision may now be used as a precedent by any developer that wants to build in hillside areas.

Slope Density Facts - If the standard approved maps were used to calculate slope density, the number of homes allowed to be built on Whitebird's 887 acres would be 45 (according to a study by retired engineer Don Keene). The Planning Department allowed Whitebird to use an inappropriate map and wrong calculations to claim they are allowed 169 homes by right. However, even if the wrong map is used but the correct calculations are made the number of allowed homes is 65 (according to a study by Shadow Hills land use attorney Bill Eick). In any case, it's no where near 230! How did the Planning Department come up with such a different number? They admitted in February they might be using the wrong interpretation of the formula, but said they've been doing it the same way for 18 years so they feel they should be allowed to continue the same way! Aren't they saying they follow their own precedents? But Wendy Greuel says she is convinced that Whitebird's General Plan Amendment will not be a precedent that other developers will use to avoid following the Slope Density Ordinance.

Legal Threats - Whitebird wants to build at least 230 homes on any part of their property (yes, even the south side of the 210), and they use the threat of a "takings" lawsuit to bully the City (read, Councilmember Greuel) into accepting their position. The City Attorney's office hates to be threatened by developers so they have a history of giving in to their demands. Developers sue for "damages" (whether justified or not). However, the land use attorneys we hired to represent us have clearly shown Wendy Greuel that there is no "takings" issue here. If she simply required Whitebird to follow existing laws they would have no grounds to sue. Other groups are deciding whether to sue the City if the Planning Commission's decision is allowed to stand.

Community Opposition Grows - Every major community organization in our area has come out strongly against Canyon Hills - the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council, Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council, La Tuna Canyon Community Association, Shadow Hills Property Owners Association, the Sierra Club, Tujunga Watershed Council, and the list goes on. Hundreds of individuals have written letters to Wendy Greuel, the City Council, the Planning Department, and others. Hundreds more have attended every official meeting regarding Canyon Hills. The new Foothills Paper and the Daily News have covered the issue extensively and written editorials opposing Canyon Hills. What more does Wendy Greuel need to know about what people think of this project?

Political Issues - Residents of La Tuna Canyon and Shadow Hills may think their worries are over because Wendy Greuel has requested no development on the south side of the 210, but it's not that simple. Whitebird managed to retain certain designations of the south side lots so they can be developed in the future or sold off to another developer. And while 230 homes is less than 280, the same traffic issues on La Tuna Canyon Road remain. And the lots on the north side of the 210 would be even smaller than they are now (higher density in a Scenic Corridor). And horsekeeping requirements for our area are abandoned. And by evading the Slope Density Ordinance, Whitebird has shown other developers that land use laws can be avoided which puts all hillside land in all of Los Angeles in danger of being developed. The recent rains and landslides underscore the problem of building in unstable hillside areas. This is a public safety issue.

Action Items -
1. Plan to attend the PLUM meeting in June.
2. Write Wendy Greuel another letter (emails can be avoided by deleting them!) restating your position on Whitebird and asking her to oppose the Planning Commission's decision and enforce the Slope Density Ordinance.
3. Tell your neighbors, your civic groups, your schools to get involved. Expand the number of people involved in this.
4. Donate to GC-V.O.I.C.E. (the non-profit collecting money on our behalf) to provide us with the funds for the probable legal fight ahead.
5. Get involved with your Neighborhood Council to educate everyone about the issues.

Steve Crouch
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation

Posted 4/21/05

Posted 3/23/05

Posted 3/4/05
Posted 2/25/05

Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005
Subject: Canyon Hills: Win some, Lose Some
From: CAP Views
To: Canyon Area Preservation - 1 Whitebird Alert!

Good People,

I went to bed early last night. I am exhausted after months - years! - of dealing with Whitebird and their lawyers and supporters/excusers/enablers. Then I woke up at 4:00AM agitated, irritated, yes even ANGRY!

Because I sat through yesterday’s Planning Commission meeting where the Whitebird Canyon Hills decision was made.

Over 250 people turned out to witness our civic leaders in action and to go on record themselves. By a 4-to-1 margin, the people were against giving Canyon Hills any breaks from our land use laws. Representatives from major groups in the area such as Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council, the new leaders of the Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council, Shadow Hills Property Owners Association, La Tuna Canyon Community Association, Glendale-Crescenta VOICE, Foothill Area League of Conservation Organizations and Neighbors, the Sierra Club, and the Tujunga Watershed Council all spoke eloquently against letting Whitebird ignore the laws that previously guided all development in the foothills. A few real estate people wanted Whitebird to build as many homes as they could.

We were basically ignored. The Planning Commission approved the General Plan Amendment to change the land use designation to Low Density (from Minimum) so now Whitebird will not have to worry about the restrictions of the Slope Density Ordinance. They are free to build high density clustered housing in our foothills to their heart’s content. In an interesting but disturbing twist, our Councilmember Wendy Greuel actually recommended that the General Plan Amendment be granted for Canyon Hills.

There was one bright spot in yesterday’s proceedings - Whitebird’s plan to build homes on the south of the 210 Freeway on the hill between the 210 and La Tuna Canyon Road has tentatively been denied. All grading and construction was recommended for the north side of the 210 - Wendy Greuel recommended this and the Planning Commission agreed (although not unanimously). The number of homes was set at 230, down from the 280 request but nearly 400% more than the Slope Density calculations would allow. Will that action mollify Whitebird’s critics in La Tuna Canyon and Shadow Hills? I hope not.

I’ll have more details later for you. I shouldn’t write when I’m this upset - I may make a mistake and start making wild accusations. Best to step back and see what happens. It will be clear what needs to be done as events unfold. Whitebird’s lawyers will probably appeal yesterday’s rulings because they didn’t get all 280 homes approved.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Whitebird lawyer Jack Rubens from the Daily News article below:

“You would get more open space from this project for free than any other project,” with the exception of Playa Vista, project attorney Jack Rubens told the planning commission. [if they lifted the restrictions of the General Plan and the Slope Density Ordinance to give Whitebird whatever they wanted].

Have you seen Playa Vista lately? It’s hard to get to the open space because of the constant traffic jam from the project’s apartments and houses. I guess Whitebird wants us to be just like Playa Vista. Screw the native habitat - give us a ChuckECheese restaurant within walking distance instead (you had to be there to hear this comment from a Whitebird supporter - it was hilarious).

Stay tuned for more developments. Canyon Hills now goes to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, then the full City Council. It ain’t over until it’s over!

Steve Crouch
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation

Los Angeles Daily News

230-home hillside tract approved by planning panel

By Kerry Cavanaugh
Staff Writer

Thursday, February 24, 2005 - The city's Planning Commission recommended Thursday that Canyon Hills developer Rick Percell be able to build a 230-home gated community in the Verdugo Mountains.

That's 50 homes fewer than Percell sought. The commission also advised that all lots should be clustered north of the Foothill Freeway, instead of building on the more environmentally sensitive south side.

The Project now goes to the City Council for approval.

Both the developer and project opponents expect to continue fighting over the number of hillside homes permitted in the subdivision.

"I am pleased that we have preserved the south side," said Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. "I'm reserving judgment on the north side proposal to review whether or not that is the lowest number we can legally have."

But Percell and his associate said they still have the right to build on the south side of the freeway. And the developer is still determined to get his 280 homes.

"We cut it down as much as we could. You would get more open space from this project for free than any other project," with the exception of Playa Vista, project attorney Jack Rubens told the planning commission.

However, project opponents were disturbed that the commission endorsed 230 homes. They believed roughly 70 homes can be built under current zoning, and they argued the commission should not allow a zone change that would permit more than three times as many homes on the steep hillsides.

"The recent rains and the (landslide) events in La Conchita show what happens when you build homes on extremely steep slopes," said Mary Benson, a Shadow Hills resident and member of the Tujunga Watershed Stakeholders.

Canyon Hills would be one of the largest single-family home developments the city has approved in recent years. The project includes 887 acres straddling the Foothill Freeway, of which the developer has proposed keeping 700 acres as open space.

Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746

Los Angeles Daily News Editorial
Hillside moratorium

It's time the region rethinks its approach to developing on steep land

Thursday, February 24, 2005 - On a normal day, the shenanigans pulled by city planners and developers to increase the density of the proposed Canyon Hills subdivision on steep hillsides would be questionable.

But during a week when people all across Southern California have lost their homes, their livelihoods and even their lives in mudslides from crumbling, unstable hills, such an act seems dangerously negligent.

On steep hillsides like those that have collapsed in Woodland Hills, Malibu, Highland Park and Orange County, Los Angeles planners have given the developers of Canyon Hills approval to build 175 homes -- more than twice the amount developers originally thought they could build on the land next to the Foothill Freewa

Had it not been for a few concerned residents, this situation might have never come to light. As it is, a Planning Department official said she will review the density of the development and reconsider the approval. While she's at it, perhaps she ought to review the density of all hillside developments in the city.

Considering the millions in property damage accrued in the past week, it's appropriate that city and county officials put an immediate halt to all new hillside development until it can be re-evaluated.

Such a moratorium would allow time for the region to rethink its entire approach to development of the fragile hillsides that all too often disintegrate under houses. The cost to the public and to homeowners is tremendous.

It's easy to write off the recent tragedies as a result of freak weather. But the truth is mudslides and land failures aren't aberrations in Southern California. They happen with regularity nearly every year, often caused by the common coupling of autumn brush fires and winter storms.

Like the residents themselves, our landscape is in constant motion, with earthquakes and mudslides only hastening the constant downward creep of our hillsides. The rules for permitting new building -- and rebuilding -- on steep hills must reflect this reality.

Posted 2/25/05

Canyon Hills Moves Through City Planning Department Approval Process

Whitebird Canyon Hills is a proposal for 280 homes on 887 acres to be clustered on hillsides and canyons north and south of the 210 Freeway near La Tuna Canyon Road and extending to the cross on Verdugo Crestline Drive in Tujunga. Whitebird is a Nevada developer using investment money from a group in Texas.

The City Planning Commission held a hearing on February 24, 2005 regarding the General Plan Amendment and Zone Changes necessary for final Los Angeles City Council approval of the project. The proposal will now go to the City's Planning and Land Use Management committee for review before being sent to the full Council sometime in late Spring 2005.

City Planning Department Staff recommended approving 230 clustered homes. The area's Community Plan and current land use laws only allow 87 or fewer homes. Some studies have said only 65 homes could be built. If Whitebird succeeds in winning approval of the General Plan Amendment from the Planning Commission, they will NOT have to follow the Slope Density Ordinance, the law that limits the number of homes that can be built due to the steep topography.

Most of the project's 887 acres are designated Minimum Density in the General and Community Plans, but the developer is seeking a General Plan Amendment to change the land use designation to Low Density. The higher density designation will enable the developer to cluster the homes in a 362.5 acre section of the property on mostly 7,200 and 8,800 square foot lots instead of the 40,000 square foot to 5 acre lots under the Minimum Density designation. The entire area consists of extremely steep hillsides and ridges along the recently designated scenic corridor of the 210 Freeway.

There are many other issues of concern presented by hundreds of community members at hearings over the past three years: increased traffic on La Tuna Canyon Road, loss of wildlife habitat, sound walls in a Scenic Corridor, loss of horsekeeping areas, and more - all are reasons to limit the density of new construction in the area as outlined in the Sunland-Tujunga/Shadow Hills/Lake View Terrace/East La Tuna Canyon Community Plan.

For more information visit or contact Canyon Area Preservation at

Posted 2/17/05

A listing of events where concerned citizens can publically express their opinions about the Canyon Hills Project, or can obtain more information about it.

Posted 2/17/05


The Whitebird Canyon Hills proposal to build 280 homes on land that is zoned for 87 (or less) is coming up for approval at the Planning Commission on February 24 at 8:30PM.

This is such an important meeting that I cannot tell you! This Planning Commission meeting will determine the very future of our area. If Whitebird is approved, all of the protections we have fought for over the past 20 years will be thrown out the window. It's as simple as that!

I sent you the Planning Commission agenda a couple of days ago. I just found out tonight that it describes a project that we have not even seen before in all the years of studying Whitebird's proposals. It's worse than we ever imagined. It's really completely different than has been described before, and this is typical of how the Planning Department and developer's friends inside City Hall and the Planning Department work to put one over on the community.

I wrote the enclosed newsletter (CAP Views – Volume 1, Issue 15 – Getting Late For Us 2005 - PDF Format *) couple of days ago, and the information is still basically valid. So read it and take the actions I endorse. But I will send out updates in the next few days that will reveal why I am so concerned about what's going on.

Please copy the newsletter and pass it out to your neighbors. For all the groups on the CAP mailing list, please send it to your members. WE MUST HAVE 300 OR 400 PEOPLE SHOW UP AT THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING ON FEBRUARY 24! You have to see for yourself what will happen, and speak out against it. That's all there is to it.

Take care, people.

Steve Crouch
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation

Posted 2/15/05
February 16, 2005 Next Community Advisory Meeting with Dale Thrush
6pm muni building. Items of discussion to include design standards and trail access
AT ISSUE – Ongoing discussions, debate, appeals:
CAP Views – Volume 1, Issue 14 – Mid Winter 2005 - PDF Format *
Planning To Decide Canyon Hills Feb. 24
The Deputy Advisory Agency's decision on the Subdivision:
175 dwelling units over the entire property based on additional slope
density calculation after the DEIR (87) (Document to be Posted)
The Planning Staff recommendation on the request for a General Plan
Amendment and Zone Change: No More than 230 dwelling units clustered with approval of plan amendment and zone change (Document to be Posted)
STNC Ad-Hoc Committee - PDF Format *
Posted 2/15/05:

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 21:37:55 -0800
Subject: New Canyon Area Preservation Views Newsletter
From: CAP Views <>
To: Canyon Area Preservation - 1 Whitebird Alert!

Hello Foothillians (is that a word?),

You have all been so very good over the past few years about this Whitebird Canyon Hills development. Faced with a complicated proposal from a Nevada/Texas developer who's not even building the homes, just trying to gain entitlements to sell off most of the development rights, you've paid attention to the issues, written letters, attended meetings, and participated in what this democracy is all about - you are an informed electorate. Thomas Jefferson would be proud!

Now, Canyon Hills is coming to a head. They are up for approval at the Planning Commission meeting on February 24. And we're asking you to come to ONE MORE meeting to let your voice be heard!

Many of you have contacted me and said, "Why are they holding an important meeting like this all the way in Van Nuys during the work day, when I can't make it?", or "I have family obligations and I just can't take the time to drive all the way to Van Nuys. How can I get my opinion heard?". These are good questions. When the Deputy Advisory Agency held their meeting at the Sunland Tujunga North Valley City Hall on Dec. 9, over 200 people showed up to register their opinions.

The fact is, democracy is a messy business. It's hard. And when our elected and appointed officials make it hard for us to participate, it hurts deep down in our souls. But you must try as hard as you can to participate as much as you can.

You can also write letters and make phone calls. I sent out a list of City Council phone numbers and email addresses in my last message. Organize your neighborhood to write a letter from your street telling them to follow the law, don't give special favors to developers who don't care about what they leave behind, protect our open spaces, keep housing tracts off our hillsides, whatever the issue is you care about. Letters do work.

Wendy Greuel, the Planning Department, and others have heard a LOT from you in the past few years. You would think that 200 letters about the Canyon Hills Environmental Impact Report, over 200 speakers at the Dec. 9 DAA meeting, 90 comments at the very first scoping meeting on Canyon Hills, a resolution from the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council, position papers by many homeowner and neighborhood associations, and countless other input would have been heard by now. But you have to try again, until they do hear us.

If everyone on the CAP email list told two friends about the upcoming meeting and asked them to come, we would have over 3000 people at the meeting! And if all the groups who receive these messages got their memberships to join in there would be 10,000 people at the meeting! That's a force to be reckoned with.

Take care, everyone, and see you on February 24.

Steve Crouch
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation
Posted 2/10/05:

Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2005
Subject: Canyon Hills Cont. Until Feb. 27 Planning Commission Meeting
From: CAP Views
To: Canyon Area Preservation - 1 Whitebird Alert!

Hello folks,

We have ONE more chance to affect the Planning Commission's decision regarding Whitebird Canyon Hills before it goes to the Planning and Land Use Management Subcommittee. Please take it upon yourself to come to this meeting and tell all your neighbors.

Planning Commission Meeting
Thursday February 24, "After 10:00AM"
Marvin Braude Building at the Valley Government Center
First Floor Conference Room
6262 Van Nuys Boulevard, Van Nuys, CA
Case No. CPC 2004-4344 GPA/ZC
(time & location may change - keep in the loop to hear the latest)

You say you think that everything is being handled by the "regulars"?

There was a very low turnout at the January 27 hearing. The Planning Commission, CD2 Planning Deputy Dale Thrush, Councilmember Wendy Greuel, and Whitebird all take that to mean that no one cares about Canyon Hills. Dale Thrush actually made a comment to us about the low turnout, hinting it proves that no one cares, it's only a few "activists" stirring things up.

People, it's all up to you! I know it's difficult to go all the way to Van Nuys to sit in a meeting most of the day. I've been doing this for over 3 years! So have many others. Democracy is difficult, there's no doubt about it.

But if you don't show up, here's what will happen:

  • The Planning Commission will approve 230 homes on both the north and south sides of the 210 Freeway.
  • A precedent will be set that land use laws can be avoided by asking a City agency to change the rules (for big corporations but not for you, the average Joe/Jane that has to follow the law).
  • There will be sound walls erected on the 210 Freeway to protect the homes from freeway noise, but will block the view in a Scenic Corridor.
  • The 69 homes on the south side Area B hill at La Tuna Canyon will loom over the freeway forever.
  • Significant riparian and wildlife areas will be permanently paved over, eliminating critical habitat for our wildlife.
  • Adam Schiff's Rim of the Valley conservation efforts will be wasted as the link to the Verdugos will be severed.
  • Traffic will double on La Tuna Canyon Road (contrary to the developer's claims that there will be only a minor increase).
  • There will be construction on ridges and steep hills, something currently not allowed by the Community Plan, the Slope Density Ordinance, and the Scenic Plan. This will be the first such construction in our area since the Slope Density Ordinance was passed.
  • Real estate developers and speculators will descend on our area and fill every open space with tightly packed houses, because there will be nothing to stop them (certainly not our elected leaders or those people hired to enforce the laws on our books).

But hey, don't sweat the messy details. Once Whitebird is approved, Dale Thrush will organize a committee so you can express your opinion about the color of the roof tiles, or what materials the picket fences should be made of. (notice my sarcasm?)

Look for more messages from me in the next couple of weeks with useful information. In the meantime, use this excel spreadsheet to easily access the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of our City Council members to contact them as often as you can. They need to know you care about what's being done in CD2. They will all eventually vote on this matter, and then the deal is done. Don't let them be persuaded by Whitebird's PR and legal machine. Take matters into your own hands.

Please email me back if you can attend the February 24 meeting. Our goal is to have 300 people attend. Thanks for your support.

Steve Crouch
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation

Posted 1/8/05:

Posted 1/5/05:

The Department of City Planning Advisory Agency has approved Vesting Tentative Tract No. 61672, located at 7000-8000 La Tuna Canyon Road for a maximum 175 single family lots. A revised Vesting Map will be required. This unit density is based on the A1-1, A1-K and RE11 Zones and Ordinance No. 162,144. The Advisory Agency has approved a unit recording of the final map. The Advisory Agency's approval is subject to conditions. (Download entire 75 page decision document in PDF format *). A limited number of copies will be available at the STNC office.

Posted 12/13/04:

STNC Board Approves Formation of Canyon Hills Committee
Canyon Hills Committee Motion - PDF Format *

At the December 8, 2004 board meeting the STNC voted to further the STNC's work regarding the proposed Canyon Hills Development by forming the Canyon Hills Committee. This committee will be chaired by Rhonda Herbel who has been active in the Residential Land Use Committee (RLUC) and drafted the STNC Position Paper recently approved by the STNC board.

The STNC is an active neighborhood council with forward thinking ideas and plans to improve the quality of life in Sunland Tujunga and looks forward to working with developers who will work with the community.

Posted 12/8/04:


BACKGROUND: Canyon Hills is a proposed housing development located at 8000 West La Tuna Canyon Road. The site is comprised of 887 acres of land situated in the Verdugo Mountains and bounded by Verdugo Crestline Drive on the north and La Tuna Canyon Road on the south. The Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) bisects the project site into two areas. The proposed 280 single-family homes would be clustered on approximately 194 acres (22 percent) of the 887-acre site. Approximately 211 homes would be constructed on 142 acres north of the freeway, and 69 homes would be constructed on 52 acres south of the freeway. RLUC MEETING MINUTES: June 24, 2004 *

Whitebird / Canyon Hills (Developer) Info

Letter from Councilmember Wendy Greuel: Issues Related to the Proposed Canyon Hills Project in the Verdugo Mountains (dated September 13, 2004) - PDF Format *

Canyon Hills Project - PDF Format *

Draft Environmental Impact Report available from STNC. Due to the size of the DEIR, it is available from the STNC in CD format.

A copy of the Canyon Hills Draft EIR is available to view at the following locations:
• The Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library, 7771 Foothill Blvd. (Sunland)
• The Council District Field Office, 7747 Foothill Blvd. (Tujunga)
• STNC Office, 7747 Foothill Blvd (Tujunga)

Canyon Area Preservation (CAP) Views

CAP Views – Volume 1, Issue 14 – Mid Winter 2005 - PDF Format *
Planning To Decide Canyon Hills Feb. 24

Verdugo Hills Conservation Group Website for additional material on Canyon Hills.

Our goal here at Canyon Area Preservation is to get the word out about Canyon Hills BEFORE it gets approved so as many people as possible can let their voice be heard by Councilmember Wendy Greuel, the Planning Department, the full City Council, and Mayor Hahn – and by the owners of Whitebird, Inc. (located somewhere in Nevada or Texas, we’re not quite sure).

Canyon Area Preservation, Glendale-Crescenta V.O.I.C.E., and the Sierra Club are offering the only information about this project that does not come from the developer or its public relations agency!

For more info contact:
Steve Crouch, CAP Views Editor
E-mail: CAPViews@comcast.netCanyon Hills/Whitebird

Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council © 2007
7747 Foothill Blvd, Room 101, Tujunga, CA • (818) 951-7411 •
Report website comments, broken links and problems opening PDF documents to