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Preservation Policies OKd for Santa Monica Mountains

August 24, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Seeking to preserve some of the area's most important natural features, Los Angeles County planning officials voted to approve updated land-use policies for a 32-square-mile area of the Santa Monica Mountains Wednesday.

The Los Angeles County Planning Board voted 3-0 to approve the North Area Plan and final Environmental Impact Report.

The action will affect unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County stretching from the city of Los Angeles to the Ventura County line surrounding the cities Hidden Hills, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Calabasas.

The measures emphasize protection and preservation of scenic vistas, watersheds, natural vegetation and wildlife corridors in the Santa Monica Mountains region, said regional planner Lee Stark.

"It helps to protect the interface between development and public open space areas," Stark said. "It helps to ensure that any development that's permitted is sensitively located."

The new plan limits the number of housing units to a maximum of 3,900. The old plan permitted as many as 5,400.

But it also includes a controversial provision that would increase dwelling density on eight mountainous properties. Those revisions will allow as many as 228 houses overall.

The North Area Plan and impact report will be taken up by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The board is expected to convene public hearings in late October, Stark said.

Over the last decade, the Ventura Freeway Corridor--which includes the cities Hidden Hills, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Calabasas--has seen growth explode at four times the pace of the county as a whole.

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