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Council OKs $1.4 Million for Carson Land


Attempting to add to Glendale's open space, the City Council on Tuesday allocated $1.4 million to buy 36 acres of undeveloped land owned by television personality Johnny Carson in the Verdugo Mountains.

The action almost brings to a close the city's longtime quest to preserve Deadhorse Canyon, located off Greenbriar Drive and replete with oak and sycamore trees and a stream, said Nello Iacono, director of parks, recreation and community services.

"From my knowledge, the city has had some interest in this property for years," Iacono said.

The city owns about 4,500 acres of open space, of which about 2,000 acres have been purchased for more than $11 million over the last 10 years, he said. Under city ownership, Deadhorse Canyon will remain undeveloped. It may be included in a trails network being planned for the Verdugo Mountains, he said.

The City Council in December voted to purchase Deadhorse Canyon for $1.7 million after Robert Smithers, a Dana Point developer who has an option to buy the land from Carson, offered to sell it to the city, Councilman Jerold Milner said.

This week, council members agreed to use $1.4 million in unappropriated funds to acquire the canyon. The remaining $300,000 will come from an account earmarked for buying open space, Iacono said.

The council in 1984 rejected a proposal by Carson and Smithers to build a 17-house subdivision in the canyon, citing a lack of access to the property and other problems, said Jim Glaser, principal city planner.

The land was tied up in the courts during Carson's divorce, Milner said. Afterward, the talk-show host agreed to sell Deadhorse Canyon to Smithers, who in turn offered it to the city, the councilman said.

Milner said Smithers decided to sell rather than develop the land because he thought that solving access and other problems would take too much time and money.

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