A city councilman Wednesday proposed that the Bothwell Ranch, whose owners are looking to sell, be added to Los Angeles’ Historic-Cultural Monuments list.
“For nearly a century, the Bothwell Ranch, which straddles Tarzana and Woodland Hills, has been a family-operated enterprise that has captured the spirit of the West Valley,” Councilman Bob Blumenfield said. “As a representative of our Valley community, it is my duty to help retain our Valley identity. That starts by holding on to our special landmarks like the Bothwell Ranch.”
The nearly 14-acre ranch, located at 5300 N. Oakdale Ave., was put on the market in April at an asking price of $13.9 million, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The listing by San Diego real estate firm Collier International in partnership with Coldwell Banker, describes it as “an incredibly rare infill development opportunity.”
Marketing materials from Coldwell include a site plan that would, by zoning right, split the property into 26 half-acre lots for development into single-family homes in a neighborhood of residences that sell between $2.4 million and $3.3 million.
Blumenfield’s aides said the effort to place the ranch on the Historic-Cultural Monuments list is not to restrict any development and that the councilman’s office makes it a point not to weigh in on properties whose owners haven’t formally applied to build or develop something. What the proposed listing would do, however, is require any application to go through a more rigorous planning process.
Calls to Bothwell Ranch and real estate agents associated with the property listing were not immediately returned.
A petition to preserve the ranch and its orchard as “green space” has been posted on Petition.org since it was disclosed that the property was for sale. As of Wednesday, it had garnered 973 signatures.
According to the councilman’s office, the ranch has been part of the West San Fernando Valley since owner Lindley Bothwell purchased the lot in 1926 to grow Valencia and Navel oranges. His wife oversaw the cultivation of the roughly 1,500 orange trees until she died in 2016.
Blumenfield said much has changed since then, as Los Angeles’ agricultural parcels have disappeared due to housing booms that swallowed up farm land. The Bothwell Ranch has survived decades of rising property values and has shrunk to nearly 10 percent of its original size, the councilman said.
“If the city does not take steps today to preserve the last remaining citrus grove, it will likely be lost forever,” Blumenfield said.
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