A Big Thank You to the Firefighters Who Battled Friday's Fire

On behalf of all of us living in Glenoaks and Chevy Chase Canyons, I would like to thank all the brave firefighters, helicopter pilots, police, and other service personnel that so efficiently and effectively put out Friday's fire. They did an incredible job and it was truly enlightening watching their efforts in saving our homes and keeping all of us safe.  

City Council Ponders Curfew Measures

UPDATE: CBS News also did a story about the curfew measure. Check out the report below.

You can also read the online CBS report here.

[Glendale News-Press] Thanks to the efforts of GOCHA, a curfew measure for Glendale fire trails has been put before City Council. The City Council will vote on the curfew measure at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, March 8 at City Hall. Read the full article at the Glendale News-Press site (via: Glendale-News-Press).


GOCHA Board Establishes Fire Prevention Committee - Needs Your Help

Irresponsible activity, including drinking and smoking, has continued in the Glenoaks Canyon hills at night.  Determined to prevent a recurrence of the kind of wildfire that struck our hills one year ago, the GOCHA Board has established a Fire Prevention Committee to study this problem and to consider various options with the assistance of officers from the Glendale Police and Fire Departments.  The Committee has concluded that the most direct and possibly most effective option is to make the hills off-limits to nighttime visitors. Believing that virtually all visitors entering the hills after 10:00 p.m. do so for purposes inconsistent with recreational uses envisioned by the City, the Committee proposes closure of the hills from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (or 5:00 a.m).  Appropriate signs would then be posted at the entrances of dirt fire roads and trails in the Canyon.

We understand that the City would like buy-in by affected residents before approving any proposal of this kind.  Consequently we are continuing to canvass Glenoaks Canyon residents about this matter.  If you have not had the opportunity to respond to a questionnaire distributed to certain residents earlier in the year, you may wish to complete the questionnaire provided below:

Hill Closure Survey

Please mail your responses to:

GOCHA P.O. Box 91226 Glendale, CA  91226

Meeting Planned for Freeway Fire Aftermath

According to The818now.com, a meeting will be held Monday night at 8pm at the Joe Bridges Club House to discuss winter weather preparations for those residents effected by the Freeway Fire.

City officials announced plans to hold a meeting for residents who live near the footprint of a brush fire that swept along the hillsides above our canyon.

The meeting will go over winter weather preparations for potential debris flows. City officials will also brief residents on plans to put up concrete barriers, known as K-rails, in the Glenoaks Canyon neighborhood and where to pick up sandbags.

The public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Joe Bridges Club House, 2531 E. Glenoaks Blvd.

For more information on the meeting, call (818) 548-3900. [the818now.com]

Speak out Against the Planned Hillside Development

Last month we posted a story about a proposed development on the ridge overlooking our canyon. While there is no imminent threat to our canyon's tranquility, GOCHA is recommending that we all send emails to the city and state officials that should hear what we think about this hillside development.

By clicking on each of the links below, you can send an email directly from your email program. The email will have a suggested message already pasted in. Please feel free to modify in any way you like. Also, please remember to sign your email at the bottom.

Councilman Jose Huizar

Senior Planner Eric Krause

Mayor Frank Quintero

Councilman John Drayman

Councilwoman Laura Friedman

Councilman Ara Najarian

Councilman Dave Weaver

Senator Carol Liu

Assembly Representative Anthony Portantino

Assembly Representative Paul Krekorian

Congressman Adam Schiff, 29th District must be contacted through a form on his website.

We will be posting any new information we receive about this development at Glenoakscanyon.org.

Proposed Development on Eagle Rock Ridge

By Gerry Rankin, GOCHA Board Member (reprinted from the Fall 2009 ECHO)

As early as last summer, articles about a proposal to build a restaurant-banquet hall and community center high upon the ridge between Glenoaks Canyon and Eagle Rock appeared in periodicals targeting Eagle Rock residents.  The massive development would be entirely within Los Angeles City limits but would be visible to anyone walking on the dirt fire road on the ridge.  On August 10, 2009, at a GOCHA business meeting, the association’s Board of Directors voted to oppose the project and to take steps to ensure that responsible city officials in both Glendale and Los Angeles were made aware of the Board’s misgivings about the project.

The developer, Hamlet Der Avanessian of Glendale, has met several times with city planners in both Los Angeles and Glendale.  In these meetings some details of his proposal have become apparent.  According to Hassan Haghani, Director of Planning for the City of Glendale, the proposed project includes a two-story, 28,475 square foot restaurant-banquet hall, a 6,584 square foot community center, and 288 parking spaces. Since the 134 Freeway would block entry from Eagle Rock, access to the development would be by a 900-foot road carved into the hillside at Mt. Carmel Drive in Glendale.  Mr. Avanessian has told Glendale City Planners that he would require Glendale to provide utility services, such as electricity, water, trash collection, and sewer.  In discussions with community groups in Eagle Rock, Mr. Avanessian has explained that the restaurant-banquet hall would operate seven days a week, fifteen hours a day, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

GOCHA Board members have approached City Councilmen Dave Weaver and John Drayman regarding concerns about the proposed project.  Both Councilmen have indicated that they oppose it.  In fact, the Board has learned from City staff that all Glendale City Council Members have expressed serious reservations about the project.

Meanwhile, The Eagle Rock Association (TERA), an active community organization in Eagle Rock, has made extensive lobbying efforts in opposition to the project.  Mike Woodward, a member of TERA's Board of Directors, and Frank Parrello, Chairman of Planning, Preservation & Development for TERA, attended the GOCHA Board meeting of August 10.  They discussed reasons for TERA’s opposition to the project:  loss of wildlife habitat, heightened fire danger, increased noise level, late-night traffic congestion, and deterioration of the view now enjoyed by Eagle Rock residents.  In addition, they mentioned that a commercial development at the proposed location would likely encourage further development on the ridge.

Also attending the meeting of August 10 was Marc Sturdivant, President of VOICE, which has been active in efforts to save the Verdugo Hills from further development.   He advised that letters to City, State, and Federal representatives would be helpful in bringing pressure to bear against the development.  He said letters should be addressed to, among others, members of the California State Assembly and Senate who represent Eagle Rock and Glendale.

Hassan Haghani, Director of Planning for the City of Glendale, was the main speaker at the GOCHA Board meeting of August 10.  Mr. Haghani confirmed that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a zone change would be required before the project could begin.  He added that Mr. Avanessian had not yet paid the fees to the City of Los Angeles that would be required for these processes to begin.  Mr. Haghani said he agreed that the project appeared to involve many potential drawbacks.  In particular, he mentioned his concern about the impact on Glendale streets including Mt. Carmel Drive, Harvey Drive, and Holly Drive.  He said that the Los Angeles City Planning Department had been cooperative in sharing information with the Glendale Planning staff and that he had requested that Glendale be included in any EIR scoping meeting in the event an EIR is initiated.  Mr. Haghani estimated that an EIR for the project would take at least two years to complete.

The site of the proposed development is currently zoned for agricultural use.  Jimmy Liao, the case manager for the project at the Los Angles City Planning Department, has explained that a change in zoning to allow commercial use would not be considered by Los Angeles City until an EIR is completed and accepted by the City.  Hearings involving variances, permits, and design review would then need to be done, he said, leaving final disposition of the case several years in the future should Mr. Avanessian continue to pursue the project.

Mr. Haghani reported that while definitive plans had not been seen by Glendale Planners, the 900-foot driveway planned to access the project would probably begin on property within the City of Glendale.  He remarked that Glendale City would likely refuse to grant a zoning change if it were required for that property.

Contacts with Jimmy Liao have revealed that Mr. Avanessian has engaged in numerous meetings with City Planners and community groups with regard to the project but has repeatedly delayed paying the fees required by the City for the review process to begin.

Several persons present at the GOCHA Board meeting of August 10 noted that proposing a development that is bound to be offensive to a community is a common tactic of property owners who have land that is difficult to develop.  The motive for such an action is that a threat of this kind might induce the community to purchase the nearly worthless property, affording a profit to the developer.  While those present recognized that this scenario may not exist in the Avanessian project, some participants at the meeting questioned the seriousness of Avanessian’s plans, noting the pattern of delay along with extensive contacts with City officials and community groups.

We hope that everyone who has an opinion about this proposed development leave comments on the form below.