Agoura Hills : Mudslide Repair Plans Await Access Ruling

Agoura Hills' plans to repair a mudslide that threatens houses on Calle Montecillo are in limbo as the city awaits a judge's ruling on whether owners of two homes in the neighborhood must allow work crews to enter their property.

The city had hoped to resolve the access issue and complete the work before the rainy season, City Engineer Elroy Kiepke said Monday. But the property owners, he said, have continued to resist allowing access.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs is scheduled to rule Nov. 20 on the access question. Even if the judge ruled in the city's favor, Kiepke said, there would not be enough time left before winter to hire the contractors and complete the work.

The City Council will vote at a 7:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday at City Hall on whether to formally cancel the project.

The property owners, Louis and Karyn Alfonso and Einar and Anne Lanaro, want the city to take their property by eminent domain and "pay them what the property is worth," Craig Collins, their attorney, said. Both the Alfonso and Lanaro homes are still occupied.

The homeowners are among several who sued the city after the February, 1993, mudslide devastated several homes along Via Amistosa, near Calle Montecillo.

The city last May settled with the owners of two homes, agreeing to pay Richard and Elizabeth O'Linn $395,000 and William and Irene Ferber $375,000. Under the settlement, the city took possession of the houses, which were so badly damaged the occupants had moved out.

City officials are concerned that another rainy winter could cause more problems in the neighborhood, Kiepke said. Meanwhile, he said, the city will winterize the slide by putting plastic over it to keep the rain from soaking in.

"Hopefully, it will hold together," he said.

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