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Oakmont spokesman blasts city

Tim Willert

NORTHEAST GLENDALE -- A spokesman for the owners of the Oakmont View V

property is accusing the City Council of damaging negotiations with a

prospective buyer by rejecting the project.

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But Councilman Bob Yousefian, who admitted Wednesday that he and

Councilman Frank Quintero were privy to the developer’s negotiations with

American Land Conservancy, said the council’s vote has done nothing to

damage talks.

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“It was made very clear to me [by American Land Conservancy] that it

was irrelevant whether the project was approved or denied,” Yousefian

said. “As long as Mr. Gregg is a willing participant, the conservancy

would be more than happy to negotiate a fair and equitable price to

purchase the property.”

Yousefian said American Land Conservancy officials had asked him and

Quintero not to say anything publicly in order to not harm negotiations.

The council voted unanimously early Wednesday to deny the 572-lot

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subdivision on 238 acres in the Verdugo Mountains.

Gregg spokesman Alan Brandstater said the vote was a costly one.

“Had they delayed [a decision] for one or two weeks and given ALC time

to actually make an offer to Mr. Gregg based on appraisal, there could

have been a chance that this land could have been preserved as open space

in perpetuity,” Brandstater said. “But now, because of the council’s rush

to judgment, that chance is gone.”

Yousefian said an appraisal has been completed and will be shared by

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the developers in the next few days.

“They have been working on this thing for five months,” Yousefian

said.

On Tuesday, Gregg Development Vice President Lee Gregg confirmed that

American Land Conservancy had expressed interest in purchasing the

property, but had not made an offer.

The conservancy is a national nonprofit agency that works with local

governments to try to preserve environmental resources.

Jess Stump, a project manager for the San Francisco-based conservancy,

could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“They’re interested in making an offer far below an amount that Mr.

Gregg would ever entertain,” Brandstater said. “But now they can wait a

year or two -- the urgency is alleviated.”

Both John and Lee Gregg declined comment Wednesday, preferring instead

to let Brandstater do the talking.

"[The council] has effectively denied Mr. Gregg not only the use of

his property, but its economic worth and viability,” Brandstater said.

“As long as a prospective buyer has reason to believe homes were going to

be built on this property, there is some sense of urgency for a

conservancy group to step in and buy it.”


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