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Road Cost May Decide Fate of Hill Project

September 12, 1985|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

The cost of building a road for a proposed subdivision in the San Rafael Hills is likely to be the deciding factor in the development's fate, City Council members said this week. If built, the subdivision would be the largest hillside development in Glendale.

The council postponed until Oct. 1 a decision on a proposal by developer Hensler-MacDonald Inc. to build a combination of 588 town homes, duplexes and single-family houses on 66 acres of a hillside tract. The rest of the 316-acre parcel would be given to the city for open space.

Council members on Tuesday asked the developer and city staff members to estimate how much the city will be asked to pay for extending Mountain Street east of the Glendale Freeway to connect the development to a street in Chevy Chase Canyon. Preliminary estimates by the developer indicate that the road may cost up to $8 million, and the city may be asked to bear at least half of the cost.

Several council members indicated that, if the city's share of the cost is exorbitant, it may opt to buy the entire parcel from the developer rather than approve the subdivision.

Mayor Jerold F. Milner said: "I want to know within some pretty decent numbers what the roadway is going to cost the city . . . and how much more it would cost us to buy the whole thing."

Developer's consultant Marlene Roth of Pasadena said the city must help finance the road because it would benefit residents in Chevy Chase Canyon. She also said the cost would be too high to be borne by developer alone. The developer has agreed to pay Glendale Community College more than $1.1 million for a 2.8-acre parcel that blocks access to the subdivision site and is crucial for building the road.

Several routes are possible, and the council asked that local homeowner groups poll their memberships to determine whether residents want Mountain Street extended to Bouquete Street, Camino San Rafael, both or neither.

Residents have fought development of the rugged hills and canyons for more than 20 years. But community open-space advocates have never been able to raise money to buy the site, owned by Richard R. Hensler of Sun Valley and the S. T. MacDonald family of Montrose. The owners will not say what they believe the property is worth.

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