The environmentally destructive Hidden Creeks Estates gated housing development proposed by a Texas land and oil field developer, Forestar Group Inc., was recently approved by an Advisory Agency of the City of Los Angeles Planning Department. The developers plan to build 188 large homes on 245 acres in a currently unincorporated area that lies between Brown and Mormon canyons in the Santa Susan Mountain foothills. SFVAS has filed its own independent Appeal of this decision, as have at least four other important groups. The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), the Sierra Club and the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association also oppose its approval.
The reasons for our vehement opposition go beyond a simple desire to slow the out-of-control growth that Los Angeles continues to experience, taking wildlife habitat with it. Access to this development site will mean the construction of a major road through the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage facility, the source of a serious gas leak affecting the health and well being of thousands of residents in the Porter Ranch area, forcing evacuations and school closures. (Check out this KCAL 9 YouTube video regarding the connection between the gas leak and the development.) Additional adverse impacts include outright destruction of the habitat — and public enjoyment — provided by more than 400 oak trees, damage to the surrounding riparian and upland landscape, disruption of existing wildlife corridors, degradation of two perennial tributaries of the Los Angeles River (Browns and Mormon creeks), increased erosion, interference with public access, a new major road fragmenting some of the finest remaining open space in the area, and the re-grading of an estimated 7.5 million yards of soil in a seismically unstable area.
There is a need for aggressive condemnation of this development by the public. Its construction will mean annexation of a vast site by the City, necessitating a vote of the full City Council. Tell your council representative you are appalled that this Texas-based money-grab has gotten so far in the planning process and that annexation by the City must not occur. It is especially important that Mitchell Englander, who represents the council district that includes Porter Ranch and who supports the development, is told in no uncertain terms that it is bad for the environment and bad for the City. While, from the City Council point of view this development, with its attendant addition of land, homes and property tax income, is going to be difficult to resist, if they hear from their constituents that our priorities matter and must be taken into account, it’s still possible to stop a group of out-of-state investors from tearing up our open space to build gated mansions that Los Angeles doesn’t need. Make that call, write that email. Thank you.
For additional information, please contact Mark Osokow or Dave Weeshoff through the Contact menu on this website.
Posted by Mark Osokow, 12/21/15
(Full Disclosure: Featured image is not from this development, which has not yet been permitted, but is indicative of the activity it proposes.)