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Hillside property purchase approved

Laura Sturza

City Council members agreed to snap up what they consider a

bargain -- nearly three acres of hillside land at the end of Brace

Canyon Road for less than $4,000.

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“We have a policy of looking at any property in the hillside area

to buy it and preserve it as open space,” Community Development

Director Sue Georgino said.

The council approved the purchase of the property from the Santa

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Monica Mountains Conservancy at its Tuesday meeting.

The conservancy is a state agency established in 1980 with the

mission of preserving open space and providing area residents with a

respite from city sprawl.

The group is in the process of buying the tax-defaulted parcel

from the Los Angeles County Tax Collector’s office for $2,965, and

will sell it to Burbank for that price plus county fees of about

$1,000. The property was purchased in 1975 by SOCALAND Corp. of

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Anaheim, and had not paid taxes since 1993, said Sharon Perkins from

the County Treasury Tax Collector’s office.

Property can be sold after five or more years of delinquency. The

company, which could not be reached for comment, apparently did not

respond to the collector’s office’s attempts to contact it.

In the case of a corporation not paying taxes, Perkins said “maybe

they’ve gone out of business and through liquidation, forgot about

this parcel.”

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It could be almost a year before the city takes ownership of the

land because the county must process the conservancy’s purchase

plans.

The conservancy has first right of refusal to buy public surplus

land in Los Angeles and Ventura counties at the original purchase

price, said Rorie Skei, the conservancy’s chief deputy director.

Though the area is not well situated for hiking or to connect to

existing trails, the Verdugo Mountains offer the community a

“backdrop of quality, free, open space,” Georgino said.

“We’re not going to develop it in any way or put improve- ments on

it,” Georgino said.


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