Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Fine Cut

Fine Cut

Start watching
SoCal Wanderer

SoCal Wanderer

Start watching
a large damn with graffiti of a woman with a hammer on it, mountains in the background

Earth Focus Presents

Start watching
Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (Belgium)

Start watching
Emma

Emma

Start watching
Guilt

Guilt

Start watching
Line of Separation Key Art.

Line of Separation

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
Death in Paradise Series 10

Death in Paradise

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Start watching
Tending Nature
New Special Airing Nov. 14

Tending Nature

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

Development Endangers L.A. River-Adjacent Open Space in Studio City

Support Provided By
home-intro.jpg

As real estate markets start to recover, so do developer ambitions. Since 2008, Save L.A. Open Space has been working to save the last remaining unprotected open space along the 22-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River within the San Fernando Valley -- but profit motives may hamper environmental efforts.

The organization is hoping to transform Weddington Golf and Tennis, a privately-owned green space in Studio City, into a 16-acre Los Angeles River Natural Park. Before that happens however, the organization first has to build public support, gain funding, and fend off other competing offers for the property.

Weddington Golf and Tennis sits on one of the lowest points in the San Fernando Valley, says Alan Dymond, President of Save L.A. Open Space. By preserving the land's green space and adding water quality infrastructure, the city would divert at least 200 acres of surrounding urban runoff, that toxic mix of sludge that makes it way toward the Los Angeles River and eventually out into our oceans.

To help make their case, Save L.A. Open Space worked with Community Conservation Solutions on a vision plan and two technical feasibility studies, which included plans for a natural habitat park, an infiltration site, and cisterns. These developments would be incorporated to the existing tennis courts and driving range, allowing the community to still enjoy the facilities. Though the group has come a long way, their efforts might come to naught if current plans move forward.

Last week, Save L.A. Open Space learned that the property owners and their development partners have re-started the process with the city to turn this parcel into 200-unit senior residence condominium complex with six four-story buildings, 45 feet tall and with 635 parking spaces. Dymond shared that a city planner has been assigned to the project. Weddington Golf and Tennis is currently zoned agricultural. Owners are seeking a zone variance to be able to build residential units on the property.

Save L.A. Open Space's advocacy has been going on for more than ten years, as they continue to work with property owners to arrive at a suitable purchase price for the property. A community meeting several years ago attracted more than 400 interested parties, but the organization's biggest hurdle is unquestionably price. Owners have pegged the parcel's value at about $80 million. The Weddingtons, who own the property, came up with the figure when one acre of their property was sold to the city for $5 million. Dymond thinks the figure is overestimated. "That was at the height of the real estate market," he explains.

The economic downturn doesn't help matters much. "State bonds were frozen, the city, the state, the federal government all don't have money," says Dymond. "But we know there is money somewhere."

Save L.A. Open Space worked with Community Conservation Solutions to bridge a gap on the L.A. River Greenway Trail, which was awarded a $1.1 Million grant early this year. It is hoping similar fund sources would open up, especially given rising public interest for Los Angeles River in the past few years.

Save L.A. Open Space is asking the public to show their support for the project by signing a petition. The petition would be sent to public officials, appealing to preserve this open space. "Do you want open space or do you want condos?" asked Dymond, "I'd rather enjoy something green and beautiful in my backyard, rather than watch condos go up."

L.A. River Natural Park Site Concept Design
L.A. River Natural Park Site Concept Design

Images courtesy of Save L.A. Open Space

Support Provided By
Read More
Getty Images - Filibuster - Harry Reid

Kill the Senate Filibuster and Save a Bipartisan American West That Cares About the Environment

Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid along with 18 Democratic senators say the filibuster may need to be reformed or abolished to break the partisan logjam holding up legislation on the most urgent crises facing our nation, including climate change.
Promo images for Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival films

2021 Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival: Tickets and Information

The third annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival is going virtual, from April 12-23.
Kai Anderson's power map of the environmental campaigns led by Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada during his long career in Congress.

Mapping Power and Strategy for Conservation Victories: An Interview with Kai Anderson

Kai Anderson’s eye-catching, multi-colored, hand-drawn thematic maps have developed a cult following in conservation circles in the American West. He walks us through a map he created of Sen. Harry Reid's major environmental campaigns.