The city of Agoura Hills has put a stop-work order on a permit it issued for a road construction project that has residents questioning whether any of it should be allowed in a protected open space.
The road, designed to be a secondary access road to a private home, was to be completed by next week, but after hearing residents' complaints at last week's City Council meeting, City Manager Dave Adams put a stop to construction until it can be determined whether the work is within city regulations.
"It will allow us to find out what happened," he said. "There shouldn't be any building out there or activity until we can figure this out."
Dean Rasmussen, owner of C.A. Rasmussen Inc. and the house to which to road would lead, drew fire from local residents in Old Agoura for creating a road out of what they said had been a much smaller pathway in hills off Balkins Drive.
Rasmussen declined to comment Monday, other than to say through a spokesman that it was premature to discuss the situation. The spokesman noted that grading had stopped per the city's order.
The residents, including members of the local Save Open Space activist group, said they were concerned that the construction would impact a portion of a creek that crosses the road, as well as the century-old oak trees along the creek bed.
Rasmussen does hold permits to do the work, including a grading permit, an oak tree permit and a permit from the state Department of Fish and Game, which was necessary because of the wildlife living in the area.
But residents said they questioned whether the permits were issued in good faith and whether they should have been issued at all.
"At least half of our issue is with the city," said neighbor John Perry. "We're concerned how this managed to get through the city, considering the restrictions. This is a protected area. There are a lot of restrictions before you do anything."
Adams said the investigation of the situation will include meetings with Fish and Game representatives, the owner and residents in coming weeks.