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Expansion-Plan Foes in Westminster Vow to Fight On

Times Staff Writer

Westminster residents who successfully fought a proposal to expand Los Alisos Mobile Homes Estates may have earned a victory, but on Wednesday, they vowed to continue their fight.

“We know it’s a partial victory because the developer won’t stop at this point. But it’s still a victory,” said Ila Heise, one of the 175 residents who fought Lee Miller’s mobile-park expansion.

After a raucous Westminster City Council hearing Tuesday night, the council, expressing the view that Miller’s expansion plans should be scaled down, voted unanimously to allow Miller to modify his proposal. The council decided to postpone the hearing until Sept. 26.

Miller’s proposal asks the city to give him 15 feet of property by narrowing several streets near his Los Alisos Mobile Homes Estates.

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“I could not in good conscience vote on a plan that doesn’t maintain our city’s street standards,” Mayor Charles V. Smith said, in reference to Miller’s plan to cut two streets from a width of 60 feet to 45 feet.

Traffic concerns also worried Councilwoman Anita Huseth, who said that narrowing any streets in the neighborhood would create a “very dangerous area.”

“I can’t imagine having to walk children in that area. It’s scary,” Huseth said. “And I also can’t see having a sidewalk only on one side of the street, as proposed in this plan.”

Council member Lyn Gillespie said: “I believe that putting 121 mobile homes (on the property) is too high a density in this area, so I cannot approve it as proposed.”

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Miller is asking the City Council to give him a 15-foot parcel along the length of Dorothy Lane near his mobile-home park and the right to cover a flood-control channel for use as a parking lot. Miller claimed he owns the channel.

However, several council members requested that the city staff investigate who owns the channel--the city or Miller. The Miller family developed several subdivisions in the area years ago and awarded easements and additional property to the city at that time.

Under Miller’s plan, he would obtain the flood-control channel property, about half an acre.

The angry residents oppose what they consider a “giveaway” of public land, which consists of about six city lots and is valued at about $676,000.

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Resident Tim Flanagan said: “I read Mr. Miller’s proposal, and he hardly mentions that he’s requesting public land. City staff has recommended ‘no’ on this project, as did the Traffic Commission. Why is it that the professionals keep saying ‘no’ and the politicians keep saying ‘yes’?”

Don Heise, one of the neighborhood organizers, said Miller has the right to develop his property but not when it negatively affects the surrounding neighborhood.

“We’re not against Miller developing the land he owns,” Heise said. “We’re against reducing the size of the streets, eliminating sidewalks and bridging a drainage canal for private development involving a very dense development.”


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