R.H. Estates Weighing Tax for Open Space
The Rolling Hills Estates City Council will hold two public hearings to ask residents and business people if they would support a 5% utility users’ tax. The money would go into a fund for purchase of undeveloped land that would be kept as open space. The idea, which came out of a council retreat and a study by a blue-ribbon committee, will be on council agendas Tuesday and July 25. City Manager Ray Taylor said such a tax would raise $125,000 for each 1% collected.
The concept stems from controversy two years ago over the closed Dapplegray Intermediate School. Some residents criticized the council for not moving to acquire the site, which has a market value of $5 million, but the council said the city could not afford it. The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, which had planned to sell the land for development, later took it off the market.
Taylor said the council at an April retreat discussed ways to handle the Dapplegray purchase if it comes up again. A committee of homeowner and civic leaders and city commissioners last week concluded that although the city has enough parks, it should acquire open land and leave it in its natural state. The committee said a 5% utility tax, lasting 5 or 10 years, should be put on the November ballot to provide money for land, if there is public support for it.