To preserve more open space in the Santa Monica Mountains, a Los Angeles City Council committee on Monday recommended allowing a conservation agency to collect a special tax on homeowners from Griffith Park to Topanga Canyon.
Under the proposed tax, which requires further approvals, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority would collect money from 40,000 to 50,000 mountain-area homeowners.
The proposal calls for homeowners to pay up to $40 a year, while business owners could pay more depending on the size of their property. The money would go to a land-buying trust fund.
The proposed assessment districts run roughly from the Golden State Freeway in the east to Topanga Canyon Boulevard in the west, and from Ventura Boulevard in the north to Sunset Boulevard in the south.
"We are rapidly running out of open space in the Los Angeles area," said Councilman Jack Weiss, chairman of the Arts, Health and Humanities Committee, which oversees park issues. "This is a means that will allow us to preserve open space in the Santa Monica Mountains to ensure it's not overdeveloped."
Other California communities that have used assessment districts as a way to preserve open space include Marin and Santa Clara counties, according to the conservation authority.
On Monday, about 50 area residents attended the committee meeting to support the tax.
Many "are thrilled with this idea," said Jerry Daniel, the authority's chairman. "Once we lose a piece of open space, it's lost forever."