CANYON HILLS INFORMATION PAGE
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
(818) 951-7411 or firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information on the committee.
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
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
TIME: 10:00 AM
Summary of PLUM hearing held October
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
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
Department of Transportation
CONGESTION MANAGEMENT PROGRAM (CMP)
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
PLUM Hearing for Canyon Hills will be Wednesday,
September 14, 2005 at 2 PM.
Response to a recent Sunland-Tujunga Stakeholder
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
Thank you kindly.
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:
Seconded: Mindlin (tract
map) and Mahdesian (GPA and ZC)
Ayes (combination of
the Tract Map and GPA/ZC): Atkinson, Chang, Cline, Mahdesian,
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 http://cityplanning.lacity.org/EIR/CanyonHillsProject/CanyonHills_coverpg.htm
(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
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
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
Chair of the STNC's Ad-Hoc committee on Canyon Hills
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 00:28:37 -0700
Subject: What is going on with Whitebird Canyon Hills
From: CAP Views <CAPViews@comcast.net>
To: Canyon Area Preservation - 1 Whitebird Alert!
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
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
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.
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005
Subject: Canyon Hills: Win some, Lose Some
From: CAP Views
To: Canyon Area Preservation - 1 Whitebird Alert!
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 yesterdays Planning
Commission meeting where the Whitebird Canyon Hills decision
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 hearts 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 yesterdays
proceedings - Whitebirds 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 Whitebirds critics in La Tuna Canyon
and Shadow Hills? I hope not.
Ill have more details later for you. I
shouldnt write when Im 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. Whitebirds lawyers will probably
appeal yesterdays rulings because they didnt get
all 280 homes approved.
Ill 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
Have you seen Playa Vista lately? Its
hard to get to the open space because of the constant traffic
jam from the projects 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 aint over until its
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation
230-home hillside tract approved by planning
By Kerry Cavanaugh
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
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
Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746 email@example.com
Los Angeles Daily News Editorial
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.
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.
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
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
- 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.
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation
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,
The Deputy Advisory Agency's decision on the
175 dwelling units over the entire property based on additional
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
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 21:37:55 -0800
Subject: New Canyon Area Preservation Views Newsletter
From: CAP Views <CAPViews@comcast.net>
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
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
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
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
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
Take care, everyone, and see you on February 24.
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation
Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2005
Subject: Canyon Hills Cont. Until Feb. 27 Planning Commission
From: CAP Views
To: Canyon Area Preservation - 1 Whitebird Alert!
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
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
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).
YOUR VOICE WILL BE COMPLETELY
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
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.
CAP Views Editor
Canyon Area Preservation
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.
entire 75 page decision document in PDF format *). A limited
number of copies will be available at the STNC office.
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.
RESIDENTIAL LAND USE COMMITTEE (RLUC)
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)
A copy of the Canyon Hills Draft EIR is
available to view at the following locations:
The Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library, 7771 Foothill Blvd.
The Council District Field Office, 7747 Foothill Blvd.
STNC Office, 7747 Foothill Blvd (Tujunga)
Canyon Area Preservation (CAP) Views
BLOCK CAPTAIN MEETINGS
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, were 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
For more info contact:
Steve Crouch, CAP Views Editor
E-mail: CAPViews@comcast.netCanyon Hills/Whitebird