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Pro and Con on Hope Land Swap

Why must a few individuals and the press attention they receive detract from the incredible achievements of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the benevolence of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Hope.

The recent land agreement between the Hopes and the conservancy is the biggest land acquisition in the Santa Monica Mountains in 20 years, not to mention a fine example of the conservationist working with the private landowner and developer. The public will gain 5,700 acres of prime park and open space, about 80% of Hope’s holdings in this area.

How can one criticize this? Is the opposition, Save Open Space, blinded by pride? It should be evident that a trade of 59 acres for access to a housing development on Hope’s Jordan Ranch is a minuscule price to pay for 5,700 acres. Save Open Space’s no-compromise position is ill-conceived and foolhardy. Do they really think that their pressure will persuade Hope to give away 100% of his land? I think not.

If this deal were not made, the likely scenarios would be: Jordan Ranch would be developed by Potomac Investment with a V-cut access road through Cheeseboro Canyon, not the tunneled road proposed in the deal. Also, Blind Canyon on Hope’s Runkle Ranch would be turned into a landfill by the county Sanitation District and Corral Canyon in Malibu would be filled with 5 million cubic yards of soil to make way for an 18-hole golf course and a 60-home development.

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Parkland acquisition agencies like the conservancy are doing an exemplary job given the difficult circumstances and limited funding. They are looking out for Los Angeles and Ventura county residents in conserving as much park land and open space as possible.

SUSAN PETROVSKY

Agoura


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