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CALABASAS : Land-Use Update Due for Freeway Corridor

July 28, 1993|JILL LEOVY

Los Angeles County officials this month will embark on an ambitious two-year planning process to draft land-use policies for the Ventura Freeway Corridor--an area encompassing the rolling hills and mountains stretching from Calabasas west to the county line.

"We are trying to establish what our long-term vision of this area will be," said David Anderson, community development director in Calabasas, one of four cities that have joined the planning effort. Officials from the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, Las Virgenes Unified School District and National Park Service will also take part.

The corridor plan update is expected to produce the first comprehensive land-use plan for the region since 1981 and will set the tone for future cooperation between sometimes competing jurisdictions along the freeway, said Lee Stark, supervising regional planner for the county.

The planning area encompasses virtually all the terrain visible from the freeway, extending south to the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains and north to the county line, he said.

For the last decade, the grassy hillsides have been both a focus of environmental concerns and a hotbed of new development. Stark said population along the corridor has increased at four times the rate of the rest of the county over the last decade.

"Just driving out there, you see all the urban growth on the freeway and the potential proliferation of signs that could go in, and the natural areas that could be eaten up by sprawl," Stark said. "That whole part of the county is one of the great natural resources of Southern California."

Stark said the two-year planning process is designed to help forge consensus on how the area should grow. The county has retained Planning Network, a Rancho Cucamonga firm, to conduct the first year of the process at a cost of $240,000, partly funded through the office of County Supervisor Ed Edelman. Participating cities, which also include Agoura Hills, Hidden Hills and Westlake Village, are selecting nominees to technical, advisory and policy committees to review drafts of the plan, which will then be submitted to the county for approval.

The plan is intended to form the basis of zoning, sign and traffic ordinances throughout the region, Stark said.

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