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CALABASAS : Builder Considers Dropping Tract Plan

West Valley Focus

June 03, 1995|FRANK MANNING

The developer of a proposed housing tract near Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas is considering abandoning the idea, saying the project appears to have little community support.

"We're trying to be cooperative with what we perceive to be the community interest in how that property should be developed," said Nick Gorely, a senior vice president for the Baldwin Co.

The 124-home tract was to have been part of a joint project with developer Pam Azar of the Calabasas Promenade, which also includes a Home Depot store, a Hughes Market, a church and a school. The two developers say they will move forward with those components of their plan.

Gorely and Azar say that without the housing, there will be more room for the rest of the project.

"It's a much better concept," said Azar.

Under the proposal, Baldwin would develop the church and school, while Azar would develop the Home Depot and Hughes Market. The two developers worked together to draft a master plan for the project, which would be situated on about 175 acres on the east side of Las Virgenes Road near the Ventura Freeway.

To come up with a mutually agreeable master plan, the two had to drastically revise their original plans.

Baldwin won entitlement in 1991 from Los Angeles County for a church and shopping center at the site.

That same year, after Calabasas was incorporated as a city, Azar was allowed to build a shopping center, movie theater and day care center.

Some people, including neighbors, have been critical of the proposed master plan.

They complain it would cram too much into a small space, bring noise and traffic and spoil the beauty of the Las Virgenes area.

Calabasas Planning Commissioner Dave Brown said he believes the Calabasas Promenade would be better off without the housing.

Under the master plan, he said, the church would have been squeezed into a narrow canyon at the rear of the property, making it vulnerable to mudslides.

Without the housing, the church could be moved away from the hillsides.

Nearby, the Baldwin Co. reportedly plans to try to amend a development agreement with the city for a 550-home subdivision at the end of Parkway Calabasas.

According to the developer, the current zoning allows for 660 homes.

Calabasas City Manager Charles Cate said Baldwin has contacted the city to talk informally about the idea.

Cate said city officials would never approve such a plan without the support of the Calabasas Park Homeowners Assn.

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