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Panel Kills Bill to Aid Wetlands Property Deal

August 16, 1986|From a Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — A hastily drafted bill to remove about 225 acres of land east of Marina del Rey from the state coastal zone and thus circumvent an environmental lawsuit was rejected Friday by the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

The legislation was sought by retiring Controller Kenneth Cory in an attempt to speed up the sale of 75 acres that the state received in trust from the estate of Howard Hughes as payment of the late billionaire's inheritance taxes.

After October, 1987, the state will be able to sell the land back to Hughes' Summa Corp. for at least $75 million, or sell it to another buyer.

A representative of Cory, whose office was involved in negotiating a settlement of the Hughes will, maintained that the value of the land had been clouded by a lawsuit filed by the environmentalist Friends of Ballona Wetlands against the state Coastal Commission over a development plan for the area.

The environmental group's suit charges that the commission's land-use plan, which would permit Summa to build hotels, homes and a yacht basin on a total of more than 900 acres next to Marina del Rey, would allow too much development and not save enough of the Ballona wetlands.

Cory's proposal, carried by Assemblyman Frank Hill (R-Whittier), died for lack of a motion for approval after members of the committee objected to taking land out of the protected coastal zone and interfering with a pending lawsuit.

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