by J. Jason Amodeo
Like many ranchos, Sunland-Tujunga passed through a few transitions over the decades since the first settlers, the Native American Tongva tribe arrived. This area has a rich history behind it having several of its historical landmarks listed in the California register.
Eighty years ago in order to attract settlers to the area , the advertisement went like this: COME TO TUJUNGA BUILD YOUR OWN HOUSE And indeed Angelinos came.
That was back then, today it appears housing developers are sending out that same message only they’re the ones who are going to build your house in north Big Tujunga Canyon and Verdugo Hills Golf Course areas.
Many local residents may feel as though they are a single voice up against something much bigger than they are. Permit me to say you’re not a single voice but one of thousands of other voices who feel the same way you do. And as a large group together we can make a difference in the community by attending city council meetings, and establishing a good public relations campaign.
It’s a known fact that communities who have used social media, informational mailings and meetings, and have had dialogue with project developers have in fact altered a planned project , sometimes even stopped it.
This isn’t about what city council wants . This is about what the community wants and council members as well as city officials would do well to heed the voice of the people since it’s the voters who give meaning to the word constituency.
Let that vacant Home Depot on Foothill Blvd. be a reminder not only to council members but to developers alike that what amounts to nothing more than watered down gentrification is not acceptable nor does it work in this historic community. That vacant building is like a monument eye sore that seemingly calls out to everyone passing by , “you see I told you so.”
We can learn from past mistakes . Developers can’t understand or they don’t want to understand how disruptive major building projects are to a small town not to mention disrespect for historical significance. They just don’t get it! And wanting to build 200 homes in Big Tujunga Canyon typifies their vision of a cash register.
So what other recourse is available if developers continue to push us? Firstly, development of this type in this area violates community planning, zoning, open blending and transitional Secondly it violates the scenic preservation plan. Just because there’s an open space that doesn’t justify changing the structure of community by building on it.
Thirdly, it violates equestrian ordinance intended
The developer Snowball who currently owns the Verdugo Hills golf course will be permanently closing the doors of the place on Dec. 31 with the high expectations of getting the property re-zoned so the developer get present his sob story of lack of business to the city in hopes of convincing the need to rezone the property which would allow the developer to build 200 homes in this area as well .
These people are serious, they don’t have a problem playing the waiting game until the ball eventually gets into their court. Investors/developers are notorious for having a wait and see attitude. Now it’s time for us to join forces as a community and get more serious than they are.