WOODLAND HILLS : Council Vote Due on Warner Ridge

The Los Angeles City Council takes up the contentious Warner Ridge development issue today, facing a court deadline, with no recommendation from its planning committee.

The committee debated for hours Tuesday over conditions to impose on the project but could come to no decision.

A decisive vote was forestalled when Councilman Nate Holden refused to vote until he had consulted with Councilwoman Joy Picus, a vehement foe of the plan to build four mid-rise office buildings and 125 condos on the 21.5-acre Warner Ridge site in Woodland Hills.

Picus earlier had urged the committee to disapprove the project, calling it "a disaster . . . an ugly, ugly blight." But by early evening, Picus was unavailable to consult with Holden.

Holden's abstention left the committee with only one voting member--Councilman Hal Bernson, its chairman. Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, the committee's third member, had excused herself earlier, saying she had a conflicting appointment.

Bernson and Holden voted 2 to 0, however, to recommend approval of a contract that would guarantee that the city would not for 10 years amend any of the zoning entitlements it grants to the developer, Warner Ridge Associates.

Today is the deadline set under a Superior Court settlement for the city to end a long legal fight with the developer over the site. The settlement was reached after the city lost several court battles to block the project.

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