Saturday, October 22, 2016

Montecito Heights hilltop to become parkland

Map of parkland purchase | Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority

MONTECITO HEIGHTS –  A large parcel of  undeveloped hillside will become public parkland instead of a private housing project after government officials pledged $1.4 million to buy the the hill known as Flat Top.

The purchase of about 37 acres is expected to be completed next month, said Megan Moret, press deputy for County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who agreed to use her office’s allocation of Prop A funds to finance the deal. The funds will allow North East Trees, an environmental group,  to purchase the property but the City of Los Angeles will eventually take control of the property, Moret said.

The $1.4 million, which will be granted to Northeast Trees through the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority,  will not cover the costs of turning the property into parkland or funding its upkeep. It also does not include acquisition of seven acres that includes cell phone and radio towers.

The purchase of the Flat Top, which is owned by The Foursquare Church of Echo Park, is a big victory for residents and community groups that had opposed its commercial development. The church in 2012 notified neighbors that it was preparing to develop Flat Top,  a popular neighborhood gathering spot and view point. A development consultant working with the church unveiled plans for about three dozen homes on new streets that would loop around existing transmission towers. That proposal generated heated opposition from nearby residents, many of whom consider the privately-owned land a shared space.

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  1. This is fantastic! We need to preserve as much open space as we can. Humans were not meant to be crammed together like sardines.

  2. Great news!

  3. What about all the small vacant lots south of it?

  4. $1.4 mil for 37 acres is a good deal.

  5. Very cool!

  6. Excellent news! Hopefully the Red Car property is next!!!!

  7. Montecito Heights Improvement Association President Roy Payan never gave up on this effort. He stayed in touch with the developer, keeping the lines of communication open and ultimately convincing him and the Church that the land would not give them the big payoff they hoped for if it was developed. Why not do the right thing and sell it to an entity to create parkland for the community? They agreed. Great thanks to Supervisor Gloria Molina and Mark Kenyon of North East Trees for believing in Roy’s vision and making it happen. MHIA will be celebrating this Thursday October 16 at their regular monthly meeting at the Montecito Heights Senior Center. Supervisor Molina will attend.

    • We should string lights between Montecito Heights and Mount Washington to celebrate.

      Thank goodness it’s an election year coming up. Molina looking for votes means things are getting done.

  8. I hope this is good news, for the sake of the community I truly do, but I just can’t shake the concern that if this park isn’t properly managed and maintained it could very well draw the wrong element which could lead to unsafe conditions and lowered property values.

  9. Woooohoooo! This is the LA we all want to live in. More open spaces. Thank you to all the citizens who spent countless hours volunteering to make this happen.

  10. Thank you Roy!

  11. Good news, but this city needs homes too. I wish folks would get as fired up about finding land for affordable housing as they do about preserving open space.

  12. Could not agree more, Fakey McF. Low-income and affordable housing always seem to be the lowest priority.

  13. Well the scary thing is that even Silver Lake, where the population is way uber-sophisticated and way uber-involved, has trouble with taking care of our “nice things” and in dysfunctional Los Angeles communities are very much left to their own devices in these matters.

  14. Uber-sophisticated ? come on Ghetto dweller

  15. @Fakey McFakename, @Normal Nora: I agree about the need for affordable housing in Los Angeles… but there’s more than enough room for infill development in the flats of central LA.

    And that way we’re not paving over nature, and poor people have the option to get around on foot, by bike, via mass transit or in a car (instead of housing more people in the hills where you need a car for virtually all trips.)

  16. Perhaps it’s not that we have too little affordable housing, but rather that we have too many low income and unemployed people. We currently have somewhere between 10-20% unemployment. Imagine if the unemployed folks relinquished the housing they are currently occupying … instant 20% boost in supply. Couple that with removing subsidies for all but the truly needy .. imagine what this huge increase in supply would do to prices…

  17. Yes, that’s right. We are all very dysfunctional over here east of downtown. In fact, we are so disfunctional common citizens can’t figure out ways to secure large lots of privately owned lands and have them designated as open spaces for future generations. One day we will learn how to function correctly.

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