Efforts to save the Renaissance Pleasure Faire site from development advanced Tuesday when Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich told fair supporters that he would help them obtain the property for parkland if they met financial conditions.
Antonovich met late Tuesday afternoon with Renaissance Faire supporters who brought him almost 15,000 letters urging the Board of Supervisors to deny permission to build a proposed housing development on the Agoura property.
Antonovich said he would support the parkland proposal if he could obtain assurances that the owner would be paid a fair price.
Antonovich also said he wanted written proof that the National Park Service and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy have money available to purchase the 320 acres of rolling hills and centuries-old oak trees. The Park Service and the conservancy have been trying to raise $14 million for the purchase.
"Mike Antonovich has stated that he feels this land is incredibly valuable as parkland, and as long as the developer can be adequately compensated he will support it remaining parkland," said Kevin Patterson of the Living History Center, the Northern California-based group that stages the Renaissance Faire.
Antonovich would not admit reporters to the meeting or watch as fair supporters carried about two dozen plastic bags of letters into his office. He was not available for questions after the meeting.
The park backers had hoped to deliver the letters to Antonovich at the board's meeting last Thursday, but he was at the Republican National Convention. Fair supporters, some wearing Elizabethan costumes, kept a 24-hour vigil outside the county's Hall of Administration, reading the letters aloud, until the supervisor met with them.
Art Whizin, who owns the fair site, wants to build 160 single-family homes there. The county's Regional Planning Commission tentatively approved his project earlier in the year, but the Board of Supervisors has final jurisdiction.
Fair supporters said they wanted to extract promises from Antonovich before the Nov. 8 election. Forced into a runoff in June, Antonovich is facing former Supervisor Baxter Ward in what is expected to be a hotly contested race. Ward favors converting the property into parkland.
"We are delivering to him the message there are a significant number of voters in the Valley who are watching him on this issue," Patterson said.
"I think Mike wants to have this resolved before then so it will reflect as positively as possible on his bid for reelection."