After 65 years of consideration, 17 years of study and 18 hours of public debate, Los Angeles city planners were within minutes Thursday of declaring Mulholland Drive a scenic parkway.
Planning commissioners stopped short, however, after angry property owners warned that the idea may be illegal. The commissioners said they will have city lawyers review the parkway plan--but they indicated that, if it is cleared by the attorneys, the commission will recommend approval.
The landowners charged that construction controls proposed by the city to preserve views along the roadway, which runs atop the Santa Monica Mountains, violate a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that narrowed the ability of government to restrict private development.
Many in the crowd of about 200 jamming the Van Nuys Women’s Club were also angered by proposals to construct new scenic overlooks, which they fear will attract vandals.
The proposed development restrictions include a 45-foot height limit on new buildings and bans on gaudy house colors and bright lights. The controls would affect land half a mile on either side of 22-mile-long Mulholland Drive, which serves as the dividing line between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside.