County moves to stop ‘unrestrained’ development in Santa Monica Mountains
The proposed Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area would run from the Simi Hills, the Verdugo Hills, the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Fernando Valley and into the western part of the Angeles National Forest. Here, a hiker and her dogs make their way along a trail in the hills above Simi Valley Ca January 23, 2014.
By Christina Villacorte, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 04/21/14, 7:28 PM PDT | Updated: on 04/21/2014
The proposed Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area would run from the Simi Hills, the Verdugo Hills, the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Fernando Valley and into the western part of the Angeles National Forest. This view shows a trail area in the hills above Simi Valley Ca January 23, 2014.
Within months, Los Angeles County will have the power — for the first time — to enforce tougher restrictions on development in its scenic Santa Monica Mountains, including banning the building of mansions on ridgelines and vineyards on hillsides.
Under a land-use plan debated for decades but now approaching final approval, the county would become the primary guardian of an 80-square-mile area with gorgeous landscapes and fragile ecosystems that impacted by multimillion-dollar construction projects.
Previously, such development had to go through both the county and California Coastal Commission. The latter, however, is expected to hand over its responsibility to the county sometime near the end of summer, once a land-use plan is in place that meets state guidelines.
Testifying before the commission earlier this month, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the county has written a “blueprint for environmental stewardship” of the Santa Monica Mountains that has wide support from both local residents and environmental groups.
“We want to preserve and protect this area for future generations,” the outgoing supervisor told the commission. “We shouldn’t be the last generation to have the opportunity to experience what the Santa Monica Mountains represents.”
The proposed land-use plan — a component of what is formally called a Local Coastal Program — won approval from the board on February 18…