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Incorporation Mandate Fulfilled : Agoura Hills Adopts Zoning Code

Times Staff Writer

Five years after it incorporated so it could determine its own growth policies, Agoura Hills has passed a zoning ordinance implementing the strict guidelines of its general plan.

With little comment, Agoura Hills City Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to adopt the highly technical, 344-page document.

Barring unforeseen legal challenges, the ordinance will become part of the municipal code in 30 days, said Paul Williams, Agoura Hills’ director of planning and development.

The easy approval followed nearly two years of public hearings before the planning commission and City Council.

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As required by state law, the ordinance translates into law the goals and objectives of the general plan adopted by the council in June, 1985.

Will Preserve Views

Like the general plan, the ordinance limits commercial development primarily to the Ventura Freeway and Kanan Road corridors. It also seeks to preserve homeowners’ views of the hills by setting a building height limit of 35 feet, or two stories.

The ordinance culminates a process that began in November, 1982, when residents of an eight-square-mile part of Agoura incorporated as Agoura Hills, saying they wanted to maintain the area’s rural and residential flavor.

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Before passage of the ordinance, development had been controlled by far-more-liberal Los Angeles County zoning.

The most significant change made by the city’s zoning is far stricter regulation of grading and hillside development, acting City Manager Felicity Kidd said.

The plan also establishes special zoning criteria for the Ventura Freeway corridor and the city’s Old Agoura and Ladyface Mountain areas. In the mountain area, for instance, development is prohibited above 1,100 feet and developers must preserve major rock outcroppings and use landscaping to hide structures.

Moratorium OKd in ’86

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Last February, the City Council approved a six-month emergency moratorium on construction to give the young city time to draw up the zoning ordinance.

In the meantime, the city passed piecemeal ordinances regulating hillside development, signs and parking.

“It’s like an evolution of change in that many of the standards that are going to be set in stone by the ordinance are ideas that have already been required as conditions by the planning commission,” Kidd said.

Agoura Hills council members have expressed frustration in recent years as builders worked on projects approved by Los Angeles County before incorporation.

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But all projects approved before incorporation have been built or had their building permits lapse, Kidd said.


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