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Developers' Reply to Warner Ridge Criticism

December 24, 1988

We are compelled to respond to the distortions contained in the letters to the editor from Michael Gutell and R.J. Gross, which appeared on Nov. 30.

Mr. Gutell accuses us of "selectively presenting facts" and suggests that the support of the Warner Ridge project by Pierce College, Warner Hill town homes and the adjacent single-family homeowners was ill-gotten through "incentives." The truth, as Mr. Gutell knows, is that we earned the support of our immediate neighbors through fair play and compromise. Pierce College, Warner Hill and the adjacent single-family homeowners had specific concerns with our initial development plans. We changed the project in response to these concerns. They now like our plans and view us as a compatible neighbor. If this kind of responsiveness is what Mr. Gutell is referring to as "incentives," we're proud of it.

Mr. Gutell also implies that we naively hold the position that single-family residential development is an infeasible land use for Warner Ridge. The truth, as Mr. Gutell also knows, is that single-family residential was determined to be an infeasible use for Warner Ridge by the Canoga Park-Winnetka-Woodland Hills District Plan and the environmental impact reports prepared by the city of Los Angeles for the district plan as well as for Warner Ridge. We invite Mr. Gutell to consult any credible expert in the field of single-family residential development as to its feasibility on Warner Ridge.

Mr. Gross opened his letter by describing ours as an "attempt to mislead" and then launched into a series of points whose innuendoes demonstrate his abilities as a master manipulator of the truth. In response to Mr. Gross' letter, we offer the following:

1. Every perimeter property owner who is most impacted supports the project.

2. Three consecutive Pierce College administrations and presidents over a period of 5 years have supported office use on the property subject to appropriate buffers and other protections to which we have agreed.

3. While the agricultural department may be less than 3% of the overall faculty, its programs are most impacted by what happens on our property. It was the agricultural department's concerns about residential use that prompted the change in the district plan designation for Warner Ridge from multifamily residential to office use in 1984.

4. This so-called "monstrous" project, with 50% open space, is among the lowest density office projects for its land area built in the Woodland Hills/Warner Center area in years. It also meets all the tests called for in the district plan for protecting and buffering Pierce College.

5. The endorsement of the project by the Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce suggested no new restrictions on our proposed development but recognized ours as the most comprehensive and far-reaching traffic mitigation plan over proffered in Warner Center. Mr. Gross' dismissal of the chamber's endorsement denigrates the chamber's credibility and importance to this community.

Messrs. Gutell's and Gross' continued dismissal of other legitimate voices in the community (Pierce College, Warner Hill Town Homes, Concerned Carlton Terrace Residents and other homeowners) as insignificant is an insult to their integrity. Further, by refusing to come forward with the other members of the community to attempt to reach consensus on a mutually acceptable office project, they have again divided the community on an issue that was resolved in 1984.

It is unfortunate when the leadership of an organization like WHHO strives to undermine the efforts of the business, residential and academic communities instead of supporting the fundamental values of harmony, compromise and fair play.

JONATHAN A. SPOUND

EUGENE A. SPINDLER II

Warner Ridge Associates

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