City moves forward to take over Flat Top hill

Flat Top hill | Martha Benedict

City officials have approved taking ownership of more than 36 acres of undeveloped land on the border of Lincoln Heights and Montecito Heights and spending $225,000 to maintain the property as open space.

City ownership of the property known as Flat Top will help resolve many of the complaints that arose after neighborhood activists were successful in blocking a proposed housing development and preserving the hill as public open space. Community leaders complained that Northeast Trees, an environmental group that had taken temporary ownership of the property, was failing to deal with vandalism and maintenance problems. Northeast Trees, for its part, said that the property was becoming a financial burden and turning it over to the city had proven more complicated and time consuming than expected.

The city will get the land for free but will have to pay for upkeep and future improvements. (Seven acres of Flat Top that includes cell phone and radio towers will remain privately owned.)

Last week, the city’s Recreation and Parks commission voted to accept ownership of Flat Top after the City Council voted in favor of Councilman Gil Cedillo’s motion to transfer $225,000 to cover two years of maintenance. The sale of the land still has to be finalized.

So, what happens to Flat Top now?

The property with sweeping views of the city will remain open space. But, according to a Recreation and Parks report, no plans have been developed or funds secured for any amenities, such as trails and restrooms.

The Eastsider’s Daily email digest includes all new content published on The Eastsider during the last 24 hours. Expect the digest to land in your in email in box around 7 p.m. It’s free to sign up!

Once you submit your information, please check your email box to confirm your subscription.


  1. hooray!! Nice work, surprised the motion was approved by 1-bill-Gil

  2. I hope they never develop it. The only way Flat Top can belong to everyone is if no one is allowed to build up there. There doesn’t need to be a park either. We used to walk up there when we were kids to try to find all the rusted out cars and other hidden treasures urban stories assured us were there. Later we would ride up with dirt bikes, only to get chased out by the cops. Good times.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly that the hill should remain undeveloped and remain as one of the hidden treasures in this great city. Is it really that hard to put a trash can or two at the top of the hill and remove it every month? I’d gladly take the job of managing it for 225k over the next two years (I will work for even less actually) Sadly I see recent development of a fairly boring and cheap looking property breaking ground right by the entrance. Although it’s a new development this property hardly meets the style established in this HPOZ area. I believe this is also Native American Land, perhaps there is some protection that could be put in place?

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *