Lawmaker Drops Bid to Aid Builder : Coastal Panel to Consider Voiding Palisades Home Deal

Times Staff Writer

Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) on Wednesday dropped her bid to help a Los Angeles development firm void a 1980 agreement with the state Coastal Commission to build moderately priced housing near its subdivision overlooking Pacific Palisades.

In exchange, the commission agreed to consider a proposal by Headland Properties Inc. to build low- and moderate-income housing elsewhere in Los Angeles.

Wright withdrew the Headland provisions from a bill requiring that the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Board include a representative from the Westlake Village-Agoura Hills area. Without the Headland amendment, the bill was approved by the Senate Natural Resources Committee on a 6-0 vote.

But Wright vowed to appeal to the Legislature on Headland's behalf in September if the commission fails to review the issue at its August meeting.

'Want to Put Pressure'

"I do want to put the pressure on the Coastal Commission, because all this time they've said they don't have the authority" to reconsider the agreement with Headland, Wright said.

Wright added amendments for Headland earlier this month after preliminary talks between the firm and the Coastal Commission reached an impasse.

Headland officials have argued that the five-acre parcel on Sunset Boulevard that the firm has set aside for the moderately priced housing is too far from jobs where the residents likely would be employed.

Instead, Headland wants to use the Sunset Boulevard site for construction of 75 condominiums that would be sold at market prices. The lower-priced housing would be built elsewhere.

Homes' Price Range

A Coastal Commission lawyer estimated that any so-called affordable homes built at Headland's Sunset Boulevard site would sell for between $60,000 and $80,000. Some of the newer homes in Headland's nearby Palisades Highlands are valued at $750,000 to $2 million.

Peter Douglas, the commission's recently appointed executive director, said the commission has the authority to review its agreement and will do so next month.

In the 1970s, the firm unsuccessfully sought to have the Palisades Highlands project removed from commission jurisdiction.

When the commission approved plans for the subdivision in 1980, it required Headland to build 100 units of affordable housing.

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