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City Closes Sale on 80 Acres of Parkland

VALLEY FOCUS | Sherman Oaks

June 23, 1998|MICHAEL BAKER

The city of Los Angeles has successfully closed the sale on 80 acres of pristine land in the Santa Monica Mountains, effectively ending a 20-year controversy concerning its development.

The area, known as the Deervale-Stone Canyon land, will initially be managed by the city's Department of Recreation and Parks.

As public land, the area is now open for recreational activities such as hiking.

City officials are negotiating a contract with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which could take over management of the parkland if an agreement is reached, said Joe Edmiston, executive director of the conservancy.

"It's very gratifying to be able to protect this precious open space in the middle of the city," said Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Feuer, whose district includes the Deervale land. "The developers who owned the land were planning to grade it and build 24 homes. Now it will be available to all the residents of Los Angeles for outdoor recreation."

In February, the City Council approved spending nearly $4.5 million to purchase the land. On Thursday, the city closed escrow on the rocky, tree-lined area west of Beverly Glen Boulevard and east of Stone Canyon Avenue, between Mulholland Drive and Valley Vista Boulevard.

The money came from funds made available through Proposition K, a city bond measure approved by voters in 1996 to allocate $25 million annually for 30 years to acquire parkland and expand recreational facilities throughout the city.

Since 1978, developers have tried to develop Deervale, only to be met with intense opposition from nearby homeowners and conservation groups determined to preserve the land and make it a park.

As recently as 1996, a proposal to develop the area was submitted by then-owner Kenneth Kai Chang. The plan was later denied.

Under current city management, there are no new programs or facilities planned for the land.

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