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Warner Ridge's Planning History

February 03, 1992|LORNA FERNANDES

Oct. 24, 1984: Woodland Hills Community Plan adopted by the Los Angeles City Council. The plan designates the Warner Ridge site for commercial use.

Jan. 25, 1985: The Spound Co. and Johnson Wax Development Co. form Warner Ridge Associates and purchase 21.5 acres near Pierce College to build a $150-million office complex.

Nov. 8, 1988: Councilwoman Joy Picus, responding to pleas of Woodland Hills homeowners, announces her opposition to the project and says she will try to rezone the property for single-family houses.

May 11, 1989: The Los Angeles Planning Commission approves the proposal in a 3-2 vote, praising the proposed 810,000-square-foot project as a "quality development." "I will really have to work at it," Picus says of the fight against Warner Ridge. "It won't be easy."

Jan. 24, 1990: The Los Angeles City Council rejects the Warner Ridge project and approves zoning allowing only 65 single-family residences on the site. Angry developers vow to sue.

April 17, 1990: Spound and Johnson Wax file a $100-million lawsuit, alleging that the rezoning illegally deprived them of the value of their property.

June 22, 1990: A Superior Court judge sides with the developers and orders the City Council to zone Warner Ridge for commercial use.

May 29, 1991: Developers offer to build a scaled-down project of 650,000 square feet, but the City Council rejects it.

Dec. 31, 1991: A three-judge state Court of Appeal panel unanimously upholds the lower court ruling, saying the council illegally rezoned the Warner Ridge site.

Jan. 7, 1992: A Superior Court judge rules that the rezoning stripped the Warner Ridge property of all economically viable use. The only remaining legal issue before the trial court--how much money the city will have to pay in damages.

Jan. 10, 1992: Undeterred, the City Council votes to appeal to the state Supreme Court, despite a warning from the city attorney that the city probably will lose again.

Jan. 17, 1992: It is revealed that secret talks are under way to settle the suit.

Jan. 29, 1992: The City Council, voting 11 to 2, agrees to a 690,000-square-foot commercial project and 125 condominiums. It also waives at least $20 million in various city fees. Picus accuses the council of giving in to "greedy developers." Says developer Jack Spound: "I'm going to build some buildings now."

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