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Bills to Extend Mountain Conservancy, Buy Burbank Parkland Pass State Senate

September 05, 1985

Two bills, one to extend the life of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and another to give $3 million to the City of Burbank to help purchase 240 acres of hillside property for parkland, have passed the state Senate.

The conservancy, which buys open land, is due to go out of business July 1 next year. Under the bill by Assemblyman Gray Davis (D-Los Angeles), the agency would stay in business until July, 1990.

The conservancy measure, which passed the Senate on a 28-5 vote, was approved by the Assembly in April by a 60-7 margin. But the Assembly must reconsider the proposal because of changes made in the Senate.

The key change would set aside $3 million toward the purchase of 973 acres in Lower Zuma Canyon, about two miles north of Point Dume in Malibu.

The Burbank bill, co-authored by Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles), passed the Senate by a 39-0 vote and must still go before the Assembly. Under the bill, Burbank would pay half the cost of buying the privately owned property in the Verdugo Mountains and the state would cover the rest with tidelands oil revenue.

Burbank officials said they want to preserve the property, designated as a mountain reserve in the city's general plan, as a greenbelt for public recreation. Burbank has twice rejected residential development proposals submitted by Sherman Whitmore, who owns 185 acres of the land.

Whitmore and city officials have yet to agree on a price for the land. An independent appraiser hired by the city said the land is worth $6 million, but Whitmore said his appraiser placed the value of his property at nearly $38 million.

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