Several organizations recently and independently appealed a decision by an Advisory Agency of the City of Los Angeles Planning Department approving the environmentally destructive Hidden Creeks Estates gated housing development proposed by Texas land and oil field developer, Forestar Group. The developers plan to build 188 large homes on 245 acres in a currently unincorporated area that lies between Brown and Mormon Canyons in the Santa Susana Mountain foothills. Organizations appealing include CNPC partner, the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society. Others appealing include the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), the Sierra Club, California Native Plant Society Los Angeles-Santa Monica Chapter, and Advocates for the Environment. The Santa Susana Mountains Park Association, Save Porter Ranch, and numerous other individuals and groups also oppose this development.

Among the principal issues for CNP is the gross inequity involved in licensing wasteful potable water use for construction and occupancy of an unneeded development in this time of drought when our beloved Ecology Pond, a critical source of water for waterfowl in our area, is denied water and has stood virtually dry for three months. Waterfowl dependent on the pond have completely vanished from the area during a time their numbers would ordinarily peak during fall migration and winter. The recent CNP portion of the SFVAS Christmas Bird Count failed to detect a single water-associated bird at the preserve for the first time in the fifty plus years of the count!!

In addition, access to the development site will require construction of a major road through the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage facility, the source of a serious gas leak affecting the health and well being of thousands of residents in the Porter Ranch area, forcing evacuations and school closures. (See the KCAL 9 YouTube video regarding the connection between the gas leak and the development at Among some other adverse impacts, are the outright destruction of the high quality riparian woodland habitat provided by more than 400 oak trees and the woodland understory, damage to the surrounding riparian and upland landscape, disruption of existing wildlife corridors, degradation of two perennial tributaries of the Los Angeles River (Browns and Mormon creeks), increased erosion, interference with public access, fragmentation of some of the finest remaining open space in the area by the new road, and the re-grading of an estimated 7.5 million yards of soil in a seismically unstable area.

There is a need for aggressive condemnation of this development by the public. Its construction will require annexation of the site by the City, necessitating a vote of the full City Council. Tell your council representative you are appalled that this development has gotten so far in the planning process and that annexation by the city must not occur. It is especially important that Mitchell Englander, who represents the council district that includes Porter Ranch and who supports the development, is told in no uncertain terms that it is bad for the environment and bad for the City. Make that call, write that email. (See for who else to call or write and much additional information.) You can also contact Mark Osokow or Carla Bollinger for additional information about the CNPC role in this process. Thank you.

Submitted by Mark Osokow