Rep. Adam Schiff’s three-year effort to designate thousands of acres
of local open space as parkland got a boost this week when the Senate
approved a sister measure.
The Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s version of
the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act, a bill that would require
the federal government look into the possibility of adding 500,000
acres of open space -- including portions of the San Gabriel and
Verdugo Mountains -- to the Santa Monica Mountains National
Schiff introduced the bill in the House three years ago, but it
has stalled each time.
“For the Senate to take such quick action is a wonderful sign that
will put more pressure on the House to pass the bill,” he said.
The legislation would direct the Interior Department to conduct a
$500,000 study to help evaluate the impacts to wildlife, endangered
plant and animal species and private landowners if the land was added
to the recreation area.
The Rim of the Valley stretches from the eastern boundary of the
Santa Monica Mountains to the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, and includes
open space above Glendale, Burbank, La Canada Flintridge and La
Under the legislation, Interior Department officials will report
their recommendations to Congress within three years. The act would
require a subsequent act of Congress to designate the new addition to
the U.S. Park System, to which the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation
The move is an effort to preserve regions of open space while
urban growth gobbles up much of Southern California.
Blessed with a mild Mediterranean ecosystem, Southern California
has attracted developers and residents since the 19th century,
pinching wild areas between encroachment by developers, according to
the National Park Service.
Local city and town councils have supported the study, and both
the La Canada Flintridge City Council and the Crescenta Valley Town
Council have been vocal proponents of the study.
“This is a hot issue for people all across the foothills,” said
Sharon Raghavachary, a member of the Town Council. “People think we
have a lot of available land up here, but we see more and more that
we are losing bits and pieces. That needs to be addressed.”
The council voted in March to send a letter of support to Schiff
in favor of his legislation.
Preservation of open space and vistas was also strengthened this
week when the Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval to
limiting the size of homes property owners can build in Tujunga and
A final vote will be conducted next week to determine if the
measure will become law.
Under Los Angeles’ anti-mansionization ordinance, homeowners with
lots 8,000 square feet or less could not build homes larger than
2,400 square feet or 40% of the lot, whichever is greater.
Some opponents of the preservation study fear that private
landowners will have their rights trampled, but that is not the case,
Schiff said, adding that the study includes the needs of private
What do you think of the proposal to add the Rim of the Valley to
the Santa Monica Mountains National Conservation Area? E-mail your
responses to burbankleader @latimes.com; mail them to the Burbank
Leader, 111 W. Wilson Ave., Glendale, CA 91203. Please spell your
name and include your address and phone number for verification