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SIMI VALLEY : Mayor to Meet With Head of Park Service

Ventura County News Roundup

March 12, 1991|CARLOS V. LOZANO

Simi Valley Mayor Greg Stratton is scheduled to meet today with the director of the National Park Service to express support for swapping federal parkland to acquire property owned by entertainer Bob Hope in eastern Ventura County, officials said.

Stratton and three other City Council members are in Washington this week attending the annual conference of the National League of Cities.

The mayor, who is to meet with Park Service Director James Ridenour, expressed appreciation to Gov. Pete Wilson for his efforts in bringing about a compromise involving the related land-swap proposal and Jordan Ranch housing development.

Last week, Wilson met with officials of Ventura County, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, National Park Service and an attorney for Hope to discuss the issue.

Wilson said he supports a land exchange because it would allow state and federal park agencies to acquire large parcels for the Santa Monica National Recreation Area at little or no cost.

A land swap is necessary to provide an access road to a 750--unit housing development and golf course planned for Hope's Jordan Ranch south of Simi Valley.

Under the land-swap proposal, the National Park Service would exchange 59 acres needed for the road for 864 acres of the 2,308-acre Jordan Ranch. Hope has sweetened the deal by offering to sell and donate an additional 4,836 acres in the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountains for a below-market price of $10 million.

Hope's offer is dependent on approval of the land swap and the Jordan Ranch development, which is pending before the Board of Supervisors.

Fearing that the board will reject the housing development, Hope has asked Simi Valley to annex his property.

The city is exploring the possibility because officials said such a move would prevent Blind Canyon--a nearby Hope property that is part of the Jordan Ranch deal--from becoming a landfill.

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