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Water could change Verdugo's course

Funds from a Proposition O could help protect the land currently in the sight of developers.

July 22, 2011|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com
  • Golfers look on at the Verdugo Hills Golf. (File photo)
Golfers look on at the Verdugo Hills Golf. (File photo)

Verdugo Hills Golf Course, threatened for years by residential development, could be saved if funds from a Los Angeles clean-water bond are used to construct a stormwater treatment facility on the site, officials said.

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who is proposing the idea, told a group of about 60 people during a meeting of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council’s land-use committee earlier this week that if signed off on by his colleagues, about $20 million in Proposition O funds would be allocated to the project.

It was the most promising possibility yet that a government agency could hobble together the millions needed to buy the golf course from a firm that has pushed to build more than 200 homes on the site — a plan that a coalition of community stakeholders has staunchly opposed. Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has also committed $1.7 million to help buy the golf course.

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Tomi Lyn Bowling, chairwoman of the land-use committee, said the golf course and surrounding area are a huge resource for underground water. “I think the golf course and Prop. O are a marriage made in heaven,” she said. “They’re made for each other.”

Krekorian said the 25-acre golf course — located near Glendale and Burbank at 6433 La Tuna Canyon Road — and surrounding 33 acres of open space should be preserved, pointing out that the experience of golfing there has been passed down through the generations.

“It’s a cultural treasure,” he said.

MWH Development/Snowball West Investment purchased the 58-acre site in 2004 and has, so far, heeded the community’s wishes to not move forward with plans to build 229 homes on the property, which would have to be rezoned.

Opponents to the plan argue the development would erase open green space and increase traffic, putting added pressure on local streets, such as La Tuna Canyon and Tujunga Canyon Blvd. .

Under Krekorian’s proposal, about $20 million from Proposition O — approved about seven years ago by Los Angeles voters to improve local water quality — would be allocated to the project.

But because there are surplus Proposition O funds, Krekorian acknowledged that other L.A. City Council members will be vying to have money directed to their own projects.

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