Amid concerns about the risk of wildfires, traffic congestion and the remains of a historic detention camp, a Los Angeles City Council committee rejected a proposed 200-home development in eastern San Fernando Valley.
Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez sent a representative to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee meeting to speak in opposition to the development, saying the plan has gone through many iterations in the last 12 years at its location between La Tuna Canyon Road and Tujunga Canyon Boulevard.
“While I understand the need for new units to address our state’s housing crisis, I do not believe that the requested zone change is consistent with good zoning practices, and I have serious concerns regarding the potential public health and safety risks posed by the increased density being proposed at this site,” Rodriguez stated in a letter to the committee.
Lots for the subdivision were planned to be between 2,768 and 10,530 square feet within about 57 acres. People who spoke against the project at the committee meeting said a wildlife corridor would also be lost if the homes were to be constructed.
The Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council and Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council both filed statements of opposition to the project.
Rodriguez said the project’s location within the city’s Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone “raises real concerns about fire and life safety that need to be placed paramount.”
Committee Chairman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said the project needs more review of its potential environmental impacts.
Committee members expressed concern about possible legal action by the applicant, Howard Einberg of Snowball West Investments LP, and whether the committee’s actions would be out of compliance with state law.
A state law that goes in effect Jan. 1 would not let the city decrease the density of housing projects without increasing density on other projects in the city.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, The Tuna Canyon Detention Station, which was located in the planned housing site, kept more than 2,000 primarily Japanese American individuals captive during World War II from 1941 until 1943. All that remains are large trees as a natural memorial to the site.
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