If you would like to voice your opinion on Rich Toyon's commentary, please email the NewsPress at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. Your input would be appreciated. Include your name, address, & phone number (for verification purposes only). Community Commentary:
Officials should pursue park
By Richard Toyon
Aug 22, 2007
On July 19, the Verdugo Hills Golf Course Committee learned that MWH Development filed an application with the city of Los Angeles to build 229 houses on the Verdugo Hills Golf Course (“Developer wants to close course,” July 13).
This plan is completely different from one the developer portrayed more than a year ago when he claimed he was “working with the community.” The fact remains that this current plan will forever destroy this precious recreational resource that has been a mainstay in our community for over a half century.
In March, the Verdugo Hills Golf Course Committee met with Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich; Paul Edelman, of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy; then-mayor Dave Weaver of the city of Glendale and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel (in whose district the golf course sits) to discuss the idea of a cross-jurisdictional purchase and the creation of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course and Regional Park (“Group hopes to buy public golf course,” March 28 ). It was a bit of a feat to get the four parties in the same room, but now it is up to those individual agencies to determine the worth and importance of the golf course to their respective constituencies or the deleterious price of inactivity.
Here are three reasons the city of Glendale should participate in a joint purchase of the golf course.
Reason 1: The Crescenta Valley is one community.
The loss of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course will surely impact the city of Glendale. In case anyone was not paying attention in City Hall, the last City Council election was decided directly by issues dealing with the Crescenta Valley.
The Crescenta Valley is a community and a community does not stop at a postal zone or city border. Most Glendale residents in La Crescenta residents consider themselves La Crescentans, no matter the jurisdiction, and most Crescenta Valley residents consider Montrose as part of the Crescenta Valley first and the city of Glendale, second.
The bottom line is that Glendale is part of this greater community called the Crescenta Valley and the loss of the golf course is a blow to the entire community.
Moreover, Glendale residents have been enjoying the golf course just beyond their border for 50 years. To shy away from the Verdugo Hills Golf Course battle because it is in another city is short-sighted, hasty and enabling of irresponsible development. So, if the golf course is saved without the help of the city of Glendale, should Glendalians be barred from playing there? Obviously not. But by the same token, it seems only fair and sensible that the city of Glendale participate in the purchase of a facility that has been enjoyed by her citizens and has served the greater community for decades.
Reason 2: Glendale has a right and a duty to be involved.
The idea that the golf course could be shared as a regional park is entirely supported by the Glendale city charter It reads:
“Parks, playgrounds, auditoriums, museums, gymnasiums, etc.: “To acquire, construct, operate and maintain parks, playgrounds, markets, baths, public halls, auditoriums, libraries, museums, art galleries, gymnasiums and any and all buildings, establishments, institutions and places whether situated inside or outside of the city limits, which are necessary or convenient for the transaction of public business or for promoting the health, morals, education, care of the indigent or welfare of the inhabitants of the city or for their amusement, recreation, entertainment or benefit.”
Could it be any plainer? Glendale city residents continue to use the golf course and have used it since the day it was opened. The golf course was laid out more than 50 years ago and the potential of it has still to be realized with the specter of future hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, exercise courses and even senior activities. All of this potential is extant without infringing upon the existing golf course and driving range. Our elected council members must take a leadership position in the saving of the golf course along with the city manager, planning director and Parks and Recreation Director. If we lose this existing recreational resource, where will we replace it?
Reason 3: What happens at the golf course doesn’t stay at the golf course.
The city of Glendale is very close to the Verdugo Hills Golf Course. The proposed 229-house development will produce all of the significant and unavoidable adverse impacts that a project of this size inevitably has on traffic, noise, air quality, biological resources, recreational resources, visual resources, historical resources, schools and public services. These impacts will be inflicted upon the residents of Glendale, a mere chip shot away.
It is unfortunate, but the city of Los Angeles has a history of avoiding the use of a full Environmental Impact Report on projects like this one. Instead, Los Angeles often relies on a much less thorough document known as a Mitigated Negative Declaration.
As an example, in an accepted declaration, it would be like saying that this project will have absolutely no effect on traffic that cannot be handled by other means. Tell that to the citizens who live near the golf course.
There is simply no question that this project, similar in size to the neighboring Canyon Hills development, will have large-scale impacts on the entire surrounding community. The city of Glendale must respond by formally requesting to the city of Los Angeles that a full Environmental Impact Report be performed on this project. A full report is the only way that the public and the decision-makers will ever get a complete analysis of the project’s impacts.
But there is an even better way of protecting Glendale residents from these impacts. The city of Glendale should participate in the purchase of the golf course and turn it into the Verdugo Hills Golf Course and Regional Park for the benefit of the entire community.
There are at least three good reasons why, and tens of thousands of Crescenta Valley residents who await your decision.