A state Senate committee has approved a bill designed to give several Valley cities a stronger voice on land preservation issues for the Santa Monica Mountains.
The natural resources and wildlife committee unanimously approved the bill Tuesday. It would increase the number of cities represented on the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Committee from 17 to 23.
The committee advises the Santa Monica Conservancy Board, which is responsible for preserving undeveloped land and natural habitats in the Los Angeles area.
The bill, which must be approved by the full Senate, the Assembly and Gov. Gray Davis, would allow Agoura Hills, Burbank, Calabasas, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, Malibu and Westlake Village to each have a representative on the advisory committee.
Currently, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village share a representative between them, as do Calabasas and Malibu, said Paul Hubler, spokesman for state Sen. Adam B. Schiff, (D-Burbank) who sponsored the bill. Burbank, Glendale and La Canada Flintridge now have no representation.
"I want to make sure we have a stronger representation and use that position to get resources to protect our valuable hillsides," Schiff said Thursday.
If the bill is passed, it would take effect in January, Schiff said. The new committee members would be appointed by their respective city councils. They would serve without compensation.
Schiff said he decided to sponsor the bill after being approached last year by Glendale-La Crescenta VOICE, a group fighting a large housing development in Glendale.
"We're very pleased to be part of this," said Max Hobbs, VOICE's vice president. "We will know what is going on all the time regarding having land preserved in the region."