Developer and environmentalists face off over the Great Wall of Silver Lake condos *

A Silver Lake development that has been on-again and off-again for more than 20 years is the subject of another city hearing Thursday *. The Planning Commission is scheduled to review an appeal by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy over last year’s approval of 120 hillside condominiums on the Meno Property near Riverside and Fletcher drives, said Diane Edwardson of the Corralitas Red Car Property blog. The Menlo Propety is now best known for a pair of giant retaining walls that run for hundreds of feet above Riverside Drive on the northern edge of Silver Lake. But this same hillside is part of a lesser known path – the El Pueblo de Los Angeles to Griffith Park Trail Corridor – that environmentalists says serves as an important connection between Griffith Park and Elysian Park. If the project is built as proposed without room for a trail at the top of the hill, the link will be broken, said conservancy planning chief Paul Edelman. “We don’t want to forever leave Elysian Park a biological island,” Edelman said.

The developers have refused to set aside land for a walking and wildlife trail as called for in a community plan that guides development in the area, Edelman said. The conservancy would also like the trail extend north of the undeveloped Menlo Property behind the large apartment complexes that line Riverside Drive. These buildings are owned by the same landowner as the vacant land to the south

The Planning Department staff has advised the Planning Commission to approve the 120 condos as proposed over the objections of the conservancy.

* Update: The hearing was called off and the matter will be rescheduled.

Related item:
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy appeal. SMMC


  1. Per LA Municipal Code Section 17.12 the Planning Department could have required the developer to dedicate part of their property for a public park (or trail) as a condition of approval of this subdivision. However, the City Planning Department opted to require this developer to pay a fee in-lieu of the required land dedication (the so called "Quimby" fee).Why the City would require a developer to pay a small fee (which will be quickly spent) versus requiring them to dedicate open space (which will last forever) is beyond me.

  2. It is a shame that as this land is deveoloped that the planning commission and the developers can't make the changes necessary to accomodate the walkway. This would definately be a great asset to the property, the owners of the new condos and the community. I would definateley would want to be an owner with access to the beautiful natural areas within walking distance.

  3. I'm curious to see the research showing that the wildlife uses that path as a corridor between Griffith Park and Elysian Park. It would seem like the river would be a much better corridor as the creatures wouldn't have to cross Fletcher or the 2.

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