Council Backs Bill to Halt Reseda Blvd. Extension : Development: The proposed road would go through Topanga State Park. Supporters of the bill say it protects the mountain parkland.
The Los Angeles City Council has urged Gov. Pete Wilson to sign a bill that would block a four-lane extension of Reseda Boulevard southward to Mulholland Drive, legislation that environmentalists say is needed to curb traffic and development in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The council voted 9 to 4 Wednesday to ask Wilson to support the legislation written by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Los Angeles).
Wilson spokesman Franz Wisner said the governor has not reached a decision on the measure. Wilson has until Oct. 14 to sign or veto the bill. If he does not act by then, it will become law.
Jerry Daniels, leader of a homeowners coalition, predicted that the council vote would make it easier for Wilson to sign the Friedman bill into law.
Extending Reseda south through Topanga State Park to Mulholland would disrupt the mountain parkland with increased traffic, destabilize mountain slopes with grading and create fire hazards, Daniels and other environmental activists contended during Wednesday’s debate.
Councilman Marvin Braude, who supports the bill, told his colleagues that their “paramount consideration” must be to protect the Santa Monica Mountains park system, touted as one of the nation’s largest urban parks.
The debate took a contentious turn when several lawmakers charged that the Friedman bill is an elitist measure that would continue to limit the mountain park system’s accessibility to the San Fernando Valley and inner-city residents.
“To restrict the access of San Fernando Valley residents is unconscionable,” Councilman Hal Bernson said. “We can’t have that type of elitism.”
Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky said he rejected the “have versus have-not” argument, saying the land is accessible to the public.
The Friedman bill enables the state Department of Parks and Recreation to override part of a council-approved subdivision permit that requires developer Harlan Lee to build an 8,500-foot-long extension of Reseda as a condition of building 178 homes in the area.
The city has a street easement through the state park, which allows Lee to build the Reseda extension with city approval.
Friedman’s bill, however, gives the parks agency the right to block Lee from extending Reseda across its land.
By its vote, the council ignored its own fire and transportation agencies, which recommended the Reseda-Mulholland link for fire safety and traffic circulation reasons.
The Harlan Lee project and another development of 154 luxury houses by Dale Poe cannot be adequately protected from fires unless they have a second access road, fire officials have said.
Also, transportation planners have said, a Reseda-Mulholland link should be built as the first step toward providing an alternative route for freeway commuters traveling from the western end of the San Fernando Valley through the Sepulveda Pass.