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Long Oakmont road nears its end

December 18, 2002

Karen S. Kim

It was exactly 10 years ago this month that Glendale was

introduced to the Oakmont View V hillside development project, which

few at the time could have guessed would spawn controversy and

community division for a decade.

As it turned out, Oakmont was not unlike disputes other cities all

over the country dealt with: Developers wanted to build on a parcel

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that homeowners hoped to preserve as open space.

The initial dispute ballooned into a full-fledged crusade by

homeowners, and finally ended on the City Council dais last week,

when Glendale agreed to purchase 238 acres of hillside land to

protect it from development. Glendale, along with the Santa Monica

Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation

Authority will, pay Gregg's Artistic Homes $25.25 million for the

land.

By Tuesday afternoon, city officials were still finalizing the

deal.

Meanwhile, homeowners were breathing long-held sighs of relief.

"I think we will all look back on the 5 1/2 years and all the work

we did and be able to say -- when someone asks 'What did you ever do

to make a difference?' -- that we saved this beautiful hillside,"

said Marc Stirdivant, president of the Glendale-Crescenta Volunteers

Organized in Conserving the Environment (VOICE).

The road to a resolution for Oakmont was a long and rocky one,

pockmarked by expensive legal battles, community petitions and

extensive discussions by several different City Councils.

Problems first began when John Gregg and Salvatore Gangi,

developers who built the first four phases of Oakmont (about 311

homes), submitted plans for Oakmont V to the city Dec. 4, 1992. The

proposal was to build 572 single-family homes, or 623 single-family

homes, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, on 238 acres of the

Verdugo Mountains.

"We've always thought that this project would be good for

Glendale," Lee Gregg said Tuesday. "There's a terrible shortage of

owner-occupied homes in Glendale. Glendale's completely stopped the

development of them."

But the project was poorly received by the public. Residents and

council members said Oakmont View V would be too big and too dense,

and would compromise Glendale's hillsides.

"It was the most environmentally insensitive project ever proposed

for Glendale," Stirdivant said, adding the project would have

destroyed 2,300 trees and hillside ridgelines and negatively affected

air quality, traffic and schools in the area.

At the time Oakmont View V's plans were submitted to the city,

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