October 18, 2021

Conservancy Grants Funds for Purchase of Phase 4, the Last Parcel of the Triangle Ranch

At its October 18 meeting, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) awarded a grant of nearly $10 million to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, (MRCA), for the purchase of the last phase of the Triangle Ranch.The Triangle Ranch is located directly south of the City of Agoura Hills in unincorporated Los Angeles County and straddles Kanan Road. It has long been identified as a crucial linkage for habitat preservation, watershed protection, and wildlife movement in the area. Acquisition of the property has been a long-term objective of the Conservancy and MRCA. 

In 2018, the MRCA, with funding from the Conservancy and other public entities, successfully acquired roughly 170 acres of the privately held land. At that time, the MRCA was unable to secure funding for the fourth and final phase of the property as contemplated in the purchase agreement. Over the last several months, as the prospects of an improved State budget became likely, Conservancy and MRCA staff continued to work with the owner's on a revised, lower, purchase price for Phase 4 if funds became available. The MRCA has recently entered into a purchase agreement for this final 155+/- acre phase with the property owners. 

The County of Los Angeles will soon be considering the MRCA's request for $1,428,149 from a mitigation fund established by fees from the Calabasas Landfill. The balance of the purchase price of over $11 million is being provided to the MRCA from the Conservancy's state budget allocation and an $8,000,000 set aside in the state budget requested by State Senator Henry Stern specifically for the acquisition of this final phase of the Triangle Ranch.  Special thanks are owed to Senator Stern for doggedly keeping this issue alive in Sacramento during prior periods of budget uncertainty..

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this acquisition to Agoura Hills and, really, to all of this part of Southern California. Putting the entire Triangle Ranch into permanent protected status preserves over 320 acres of habitat, keeps open a vital east/west wildlife corridor and pathway to the soon to be built Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing, protects the Malibu Creek watershed from further degradation, prevents further sprawl into a very high fire hazard severity zone, maintains the carbon sequestration provided by the undisturbed oak and chaparral woodlands and preserves the mountain views that constitute the gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains.

September 2, 2021

We are sharing this reposted message with Agoura Hills Tomorrow Readers.

(posted Sept. 2, 2021)

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California WCB Grants $20 Million for the Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon!

Funding Matches $25 Million Conservation Challenge Grant from Annenberg Foundation, Leaving Campaign with $6.5 Million to Raise to Start Construction on Schedule



LOS ANGELES (September 2, 2021) — The California Wildlife Conservation Board has granted the National Wildlife Federation $20 million for the construction of the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon in the Los Angeles area. Combined with a $5 million dollar grant awarded by the board in 2020, the WCB has now matched the $25 million Conservation Challenge grant from Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation. This leaves the #SaveLACougars campaign with $6.5 million to raise in order to start construction on the landmark conservation project before the end of this year. 

“I am so gratified that the Wildlife Conservation Board is joining in making a major contribution to the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon, which is so needed in our region,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman, President, and CEO of Annenberg Foundation. “Wildlife crossings restore ecosystems that had been fractured and disrupted. They reconnect lands and species that are aching to be whole. I believe these crossings go beyond mere conservation, toward a kind of environmental rejuvenation that is long overdue. It's a model for the kind of public-private partnerships that can heal our environment for the long haul. Thanks to this extraordinary commitment, California is now in the vanguard of that change. And, of course, I am so proud to be helping the animals and ecosystem to address a global biodiversity hotspot with what is believed to be the largest urban wildlife crossing in the world.” 


“This is a huge step forward,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. “Not only will Liberty Crossing be the largest wildlife crossing of its kind in the world, it is emblematic of the bold and creative solutions we need to protect California’s wildlife as our state continues to grow. Nature-based solutions like Liberty Crossing are also essential for combatting the climate crisis and our work to conserve 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030. The National Wildlife Federation and all local leaders and groups working together on this effort deserve great credit. We need more of these landmark collaborations to tackle the challenges we now face together.”




 

“Wildlife are facing unprecedented challenges in California from the impacts of climate change such as historic drought, heat and fires,” noted John Donnelly, director of the Wildlife Conservation Board. “One of the main strategic priorities for the Wildlife Conservation Board is enhancing connectivity throughout the state to increase the resiliency of both flora and fauna to these challenges. We are pleased to provide this grant to a project that will connect an entire regional ecosystem and help ensure we preserve the incredible biodiversity of the Santa Monica Mountains.” 


“The wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon will be the largest in the world, and we cannot thank California Governor Gavin Newsom, and the state legislature enough — especially Senator Henry Stern, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Laura Friedman and California Natural Resources Secretary, Wade Crowfoot — as well as the California Wildlife Conservation Board director John Donnelly and California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham, for working to match the historic private investment by Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “As the National Wildlife Federation works to restore wildlife corridors across the nation, the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon is the absolute best example in the world of how we can reconnect fragmented wildlife habitat even in the most dense urban areas.”


“Time is running out for these mountain lions,” said Beth Pratt, California Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation and leader of the #SaveLACougars campaign. “All that stands between us and groundbreaking is $6.5 million — we hope other philanthropists will step up and get us past the finish line so these remarkable cats can have a future in the Los Angeles area.” 


The wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon is a project for the next century, and the structure will endure for decades, providing a lasting benefit to wildlife for generations to come. Two decades of study by the National Park Service in the Los Angeles area has shown roads and development are not only proving deadly for animals trying to cross, but have also created islands of habitat that can genetically isolate all wildlife — from bobcats to birds and lizards. This visionary wildlife crossing will preserve biodiversity across the region by re-connecting an integral wildlife corridor, and most critically, help save a threatened local population of mountain lions from extinction. Without intervention, they could vanish from the area within our lifetime. In April of 2020, the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously voted to advance a petition to declare this population of cougars as threatened under the state’s Endangered Species Act for final consideration.


When complete, the crossing will be the largest in the world, the first of its kind in California, and will serve as a global model for urban wildlife conservation. As evidenced from decades of wildlife crossing projects across the world, such as the successful structures in Banff National Park, and the array of animals seen using an overpass in Utah in a recent viral video, wildlife crossings work. As a major green infrastructure project for the state of California, construction for the crossing will generate jobs in the region and economic benefits into the future. 

The wildlife crossing is a public-private partnership of monumental scope that has leveraged the expertise and leadership of dozens of organizations and institutions. The core partners include Caltrans, the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy/Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, and the National Wildlife Federation. The project partners also added a world-renowned design team led by a landscape architectural practice, Living Habitats LLC, that collaborates with Caltrans and coordinates with a broad team of wildlife crossing experts in the planning and design development of the wildlife crossing.


To learn more about the #SaveLACougars campaign and its efforts to build the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon visit https://savelacougars.org/


August 24, 2021

AVE Project Appeal to City Council is Scheduled for September 8th


CITY OF AGOURA HILLS
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
CASE NO. AVDP-01161-2015 and VTTM No. 73881


NOTE: This meeting is being conducted utilizing video conferencing and electronic means consistent with the Governor’s State of California Executive Order N-29-20, dated March 17, 2020, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The live stream video and indexed archive of the meeting(s) are available on the City’s website at agourahillscity.org by clicking on the “Watch Meetings Online” button. In accordance with Executive Order N-29- 20, the public may only view the meeting online and/or by television; public attendance in the Council Chambers will not be permitted. The live stream video can be viewed the night of the meeting via Zoom or on the City’s website (link above).


THE CITY OF AGOURA HILLS HAS SCHEDULED A PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE CITY COUNCIL TO CONSIDER AN APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S DECISION TO DENY THE AVE PROJECT APPLICATION. YOUR ATTENDANCE AND COMMENTS ARE WELCOME AT THE HEARING.


APPLICANT: California Commercial Investment Companies


CASE NO: AVDP-01161-2015 and VTTM No. 73881


LOCATION: Southeast Corner of Agoura and Kanan Roads

(AIN 2061-031-020)


ZONING DESIGNATION: Planned Development (PD) (Agoura Village Specific Plan)


REQUEST: Consideration of Appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of
the AVE Project, involving an application for an Agoura Village Development Permit (AVDP), including an Oak Tree Permit, to construct a mixed-use development of 45,235 square feet of retail/restaurant space, 3,765 square feet of office space, a 70,000 square-foot 120-room hotel, 1,370 square-foot residential community building/clubhouse, and 118 dwelling units for multi-family residential use with associated amenities, parking and landscaping; and appeal of the Planning Commission denial of a Vesting Tentative Tract Map to subdivide a single parcel into seven parcels.


ENVIRONMENTAL
DETERMINATION: Exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) per Public Resources Code §21080(b)(5) and CEQA Guidelines
§15270 (Projects Which Are Disapproved).


REVIEWING BODY: City Council (by Video Conference)


DATE OF HEARING: Wednesday, September 8, 2021


TIME OF HEARING: 6:30 P.M., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard


LOCATION OF HEARING: Note: In-person attendance will not be permitted

City of Agoura Hills
Civic Center - Council Chambers 30001 Ladyface Court
Agoura Hills, California 91301


PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: All interested parties are cordially invited to participate in a Public Hearing either by submitting written public comments by email or participating live at the meeting using Zoom. To submit written public comments, please include “Public Hearing” in the subject line and email to
comments@agourahillscity.org by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, and your comments will be distributed to the City Council prior to the meeting. To participate live at the meeting, access the meeting remotely via Zoom. To access the live Zoom meeting, use the Zoom link, Meeting ID, and Meeting Passcode listed on the agenda on the City’s website at www.agourahillscity.org. To request to speak during public comment, please click the “Raise Hand” button on the Zoom toolbar. Public testimony is limited to three (3) minutes per speaker. A speaker’s time may not be transferred to another speaker.

Information relative to the specific request is available for viewing during normal business hours at the City of Agoura Hills, Planning Division, 30001 Ladyface Court, Agoura Hills, CA 91301. The staff report for this item will be available on Friday, September 3, 2021 on the City’s website at
www.agourahillscity.org. For further information concerning this case, please contact Allison Cook, Assistant Planning Director, at (818) 597-7310 or at acook@agourahillscity.org.

Kimberly M. Rodrigues, MMC, City Clerk

City of Agoura Hills

Date Published and Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2021


In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you require special assistance to participate in this meeting, notify the City Clerk’s Office, at (818) 597-7303, at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

Project Location Map


August 23, 2021

Former Mayors Send Letter to County Clerk Regarding Redistricting for county Supervisor

 

August 19, 2021

 To:       Honorable Thai Le, Los Angeles County Clerk

              tle@lacounty.gov

 Re:      Redistricting Community of Interest

Dear County Clerk Le:

We write to you as former mayors of the City of Agoura Hills, a member city of the Las Virgenes/Malibu Council of Governments (“COG”).  This is to express our strong support for the inclusion of the COG cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Westlake Village, and the unincorporated area from Topanga to the Ventura County line in one Community of Interest (“COI”).  There are many compelling reasons which support this determination.

 1)    The five cities are entities separate and distinct from the City of Los Angeles, joined in a longstanding common COG.  These COG cities, and virtually all of the area of the Santa Monica Mountains from Topanga Canyon (Route 27) west to Ventura County, are served by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.  Not by the City of Los Angeles.

 2)    The unifying geographic feature of these five cities is their location at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  Coordination among these entities during wildfires, earthquakes, traffic challenges, and other emergencies is essential to coordinate a safe and prompt response and allow communication and evacuation to proceed in an orderly fashion.  Numerous homes through this entire COG area are rural and keep livestock.  Many of the roads are narrow or steep.  This area creates a unique set of challenges.

 3)    These COIs are served primarily by the Las Virgenes Unified School District and the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.

 4)    The area Is dependent on four major state and local highways: the 101 freeway, Pacific Coast Highway, Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Malibu/Las Virgenes Road, and Kanan Road, all with unique regional challenges.  Accordingly, it is important to underscore the geographic implications of our road configuration as a COI.

 -       Travel eastward to the City of Los Angeles involves taking the 101 freeway over the Calabasas grade.

-       Travel westward to Simi Valley is only possible by travelling east to Topanga Canyon Boulevard or west to the 23 Freeway in Thousand Oaks.

 

These are long circuitous routes, especially during peak am/pm commuter hours. Those who live in our area do not feel any more connected to Simi Valley or the City of Los Angeles than they do to Camarillo or Oxnard.  We have greater commonality with the City of Thousand Oaks and the southern part of Ventura County, all sharing the proximity to the Santa Monica Mountains NRA.

 5)    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established a district office for this area in the City of Calabasas over 30 years ago.  This was done in recognition of the need to be accessible to residents and businesses of the Las Virgenes and Conejo Valleys and their shared economic and community areas of interest.

 6)    It is noteworthy that Los Angeles County Measure W has defined our Watershed Committee to include these areas north of the Pacific Ocean in order to protect watershed and water quality from runoff into the Santa Monica Bay.

 7)    Lastly, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (National Park Service), California State Parks (Topanga, Malibu Creek State Parks, etc.), and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (“MRCA”) share a large area of land in and between these unincorporated areas and the cities in the region.  Protecting natural resources and providing public access requires ongoing communication between the various jurisdictions in western Los Angeles County.

 For these reasons and others, we feel strongly that this area is a natural Community of Interest, and, accordingly, should not have divided representation on the Board of Supervisors.

 Thank you for your consideration.

 Former Agoura Hills Mayors, Representing the city from 1982 to 2018,

 Fran Pavley 

Louise Rishoff

Joan Yacovone

Darlene McBane

Ed Corridori

Bill Koehler

Jeff Reinhardt

Dan Kuperberg

Jack Koenig

Harry Schwarz