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ROLLING HILLS ESTATES : Land Donors Argue Against Rezoning Plan

October 20, 1994|JEFF KASS

It may be a technical, legal matter, but to the grandchildren of gravel magnate Linden H. Chandler, it could mean millions of dollars.

Rolling Hills Estates wants to rezone about 20 acres owned by the Chandler trustees from residential to open space or parkland. But trustees say the bureaucratic tuneup could reduce their tax write-offs.

The trustees have agreed to donate the acreage, to be used as parkland, to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy over the next 20 years. The Chandlers will receive an estimated $3.6 million in tax benefits.

The trustees have argued against the zone change because land zoned residential is worth more because it is easier to develop than land zoned open space.

The city attorney, however, says the Chandler rezoning should not affect land values because the December, 1993, agreement calls for the acreage to be used as parkland anyway.

On Monday, the Planning Commission deadlocked 3 to 3 on whether to rezone the land. The commission has one vacant seat.

Half the commissioners said that private property should not be rezoned against the wishes of the owners, while other commissioners said rezoning would make it clear the land cannot be developed.

The commission will reconsider the issue Nov. 14. The City Council, which has the final say, plans to vote on the issue by January, said Planning Director Richard Thompson.

The land borders the Dapplegray school site and the Empty Saddle Club. The original Chandler parcel was 27 1/2 acres, but the city bought 7 1/2 acres, also to be used as parkland, for $1.4 million. The trustees then donated 6.8 acres and $100,000 to the conservancy.

The conservancy says it has no plans to develop the land, but supports the Chandlers because it does not want to upset current, or potential, donors.

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