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CALABASAS : Public Hearing Set on General Plan

November 18, 1994|FRANK MANNING

The city of Calabasas will hold the first of several public hearings Dec. 1 on a long-awaited final version of the community's first General Plan.

The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall. Copies of the plan are available for public review, city officials said.

The city, which incorporated in 1991, began work on the plan in the fall of 1992. The initial draft invoked the wrath of some local landowners, who objected to a provision that would have allowed for the construction of one house for each 160-acre, undeveloped, undivided parcel of land.

The revised version allows one house for each 40-acre parcel that has not been subdivided. The revised plan also allows up to one house for each 10 acres, as long as the parcel is not in hazardous areas that are prone to fires or mudslides, city officials said.

The latest version allows for the construction of 900 more homes than was originally called for, or a total of 2,400 new homes over the next 20 years.

According to city officials, the plan also recognizes the danger of developing near hilltops and in other areas where landslides could occur and endanger lives and property. "The whole philosophy is to avoid the areas that are expensive to build on, or that are environmentally sensitive," said Steve Harris, the city's community development director.

The plan also attempts to ease the concerns of residents who fear that the area is becoming overdeveloped. The plan, for example, suggests that Las Virgenes Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard--both designated as feeder roads for the Ahmanson Ranch project--be left as they are.

Ahmanson Land Co., which plans to build a 3,050-home development in the Simi Hills, wants to extend Las Virgenes Road 15 feet to the Ventura County line and widen Thousands Oaks Boulevard from two to four lanes. The project, approved by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, is vehemently opposed by many Calabasas residents.

The General Plan is vague when it comes to the proposed Calabasas Park Centre, a 1.5-million-square-foot office and retail center at Calabasas Road and Parkway Calabasas, which had already been approved by Los Angeles County when Calabasas incorporated. The developer wants to revise the project to include more retail space, a move that must be approved by the Calabasas City Council.

While some opponents say the project is far too large, the General Plan makes no mention of acceptable scale.

"We're going to try to get them to reconsider on the Park Centre," said Ted Rosenquist, a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee. "We would like the Planning Commission to scale back the size of the project."

The General Plan stresses preserving the character of Old Town, and calls for keeping Calabasas Road two lanes, instead of four lanes as suggested to ease traffic in the area. The plan does not discuss parking, which has been a problem in the Old Town area.

"I'm generally comfortable with the plan," said David Brown, an environmentalist and a member of the Planning Commission. "We have fixed a lot of problems with it."

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