L.A. Planners Focus on Western Edge : County Mapping 20-Year Road Needs

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles County planners have launched a study they say will guide transportation planning in the western edge of the county through 2010.

The yearlong study by the Department of Public Works will focus on areas bordering the Ventura Freeway--Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village--and will try to predict transportation problems the communities will face as they grow, officials said.

The study is scheduled to be completed next July, when a citizens' advisory committee overseeing the study is to make recommendations for road improvements to city, county and state governments.

The 25-member committee--made up of business leaders, government officials and homeowner activists--met for the first time Wednesday and jumped into a debate over a ticklish political issue.

Committee member Nelson E. Brestoff, an attorney, urged the group to ask the county Board of Supervisors to pass a moratorium on developments that would require amendments to the area's general plan. Freezing the general plan until the study is completed would help county planners get an accurate picture of growth and transportation trends in the area, he said.

But John J. Hurford, an Agoura and Westlake Village developer, asked the committee to study Brestoff's proposal carefully before making such a controversial recommendation. "Although a moratorium might be very appropriate, this is our first meeting," Hurford said.

Hunt Braly, an aide to state Sen. Ed Davis (R-Valencia), said a moratorium is not needed because county planners can adjust their projections as new developments are approved.

"The fact that a general-plan amendment might be approved months from now will not invalidate the study," Braly said.

The committee members voted 15 to 3 to table Brestoff's motion until a later meeting.

The study, begun this month, was prompted by a request in November by the 101 Corridor Transportation Committee, an ad-hoc group created by Davis to address transportation issues along the Ventura Freeway. Some members of Davis' group were asked by the Department of Public Works to serve on the study's advisory committee.

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