2 Historic Trails and 424 acres of open space

October 13, 2006:  Canyonback and MSM Trail Easements Recorded – forever protecting public access to these historic trails. 

The realignment of Canyonback Trail is depicted in Exhibits B and to the Canyonback Trail Easement in relation to single-family residences to be constructed on Lot Nos. 23-29.  Note that Lot No. 31, depicted (in part)on Exhibit B, is subject to the simultaneously-recorded Open Space Easement.

The Mt. St. Mary’s Trail will be connected to Canyonback Trail via a natural, scenic trail that is being constructed to avoid existing and future development along Stoney Hill Road, which is the original alignment of the MSM Trail.  The new trail alignment is depicted as “Scenic Trail Alignment” on Exhibits B and to the MSM Trail Easement.  Note here too that Lot Nos. 31 and 32, through which the new trail will pass, is subject to the Open Space Easement.

The Open Space Easement will forever protect the natural scenic beauty of the Canyonback and MSM trails.  Lot Nos. 30-32, depicted on Exhibit B to the Open Space Easement, surround the trails and cannot be developed in the future.

September 2006: Brentwood News feature article “Mountain Trail Dispute Resolved,” by Billy Goulston, describing settlement preserving open public access on Canyonback and Mt. St. Mary’s trails.

Canyonback and Mt. St. Mary’s Trails Saved!

On August 2, 2006, the  City of Los Angeles approved the Mountaingate Development Project – as modified by the settlement reached last month. 

The City approved the revised plans, which will forever protect public access on the public trails. 

(1) The Mt. St. Mary’s Trail will survive – and it will be better than before because it will completely bypass the Stoney Hill residential enclave, passing through a natural canyon environment instead; and

(2) The Canyonback Trail will be wholly outside the planned residential enclave, hewing to the western-most alignment along Canyonback Ridge, with scenic views of the unspoiled hillsides.

Canyon Back Alliance is greatly indebted to the Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association and the Upper Mandeville Canyon Property Owners Association for bearing the out-of-pocket costs necessary to fight this battle. 

July 27, 2006 — Canyonback and Mt. St. Mary’s Trails To Be Saved!:

Canyon Back Alliance is pleased to announce that the City of Los Angeles’ Planning and Land Use Management Committee unanimously (3-0) approved the Mountaingate Development Project, as modified by the agreement to provide unobstructed public recreational use of the Canyonback and Mt. St. Mary’s trails.  Councilman Bill Rosendahl made a special appearance at the PLUM Hearing to support this remarkable resolution.   

Canyon Back Alliance, the Center for  Law in the Public Interest, the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association, and trail supporters spoke in favor of the revised plan and praised  those who made this resolution possible, especially Councilman Rosendahl  and his Deputy Norman Kulla, former Mayor Richard Riordan, Joe Edmiston and Paul Edelman of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, developer Castle & Cooke, and the Stoney Hill community in Mountaingate . The City Council is expected to provide final project approval next week.   

And thank you for your support. 


From the Los Angeles Times 

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mountain26jul26,1,817594.story?coll=la-headlines-california

Developers and Hikers Settle Access Dispute

By Jessica Garrison, Times Staff Writer

July 26, 2006 — A long fight over multimillion-dollar homes blocking access to hiking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains was resolved with a compromise Tuesday.

Under a deal approved by the Los Angeles City Council’s planning committee, developer Castle & Cooke has agreed to build a trail around its new Stoney Hill neighborhood, according to city officials.

In exchange, several organizations, including the Center for the Law in the Public Interest and a hikers’ group, will drop the lawsuit they filed seeking access to the trail.

Resolving a related fight, the developer also agreed to move another trail outside another development planned for the area.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who helped to negotiate the deal along with former Mayor Richard Riordan, called it “a major moment.” He said the fight had been going on for seven years.

As homes went up in the mountains, homeowners objected to long-standing but unofficial trails on privately held land and sometimes blocked access.

Robert Garcia, a lawyer with the Center for the Law in the Public Interest, released a letter in support of the plan.

The Canyon Back Alliance, another party in the lawsuit, issued an e-mail saying that the deal went “far beyond our expectations.”


For the past year, Canyon Back Alliance, joined by hundreds of supporters, has objected to the Mountaingate development project’s adverse impact on recreational use of the Canyonback and Mt. St. Mary’s trails.  Recently, however, Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s Office, through the tireless efforts of Norman Kulla, brought the once-feuding parties together in order to achieve a remarkable resolution. For the past two weeks, Canyon Back Alliance has been working with Mountaingate developer Castle & Cooke, the City of Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and representatives of the Stoney Hill community in Mountaingate in a joint effort to protect public recreational use of the Canyonback and Mt. St. Mary’s trails. 

We are thrilled to announce that these efforts have succeeded far beyond our expectations.  While the specifics are still being worked out, the parties have reached agreement on the critical terms:

(1) The Mt. St. Mary’s Trail will survive – and it will be better than before because it will bypass the Stoney Hill neighborhood completely; and

(2) The Canyonback Trail will be wholly outside the planned residential enclave, hewing to the western-most alignment along Canyonback Ridge, with scenic views of the unspoiled hillsides.

Full details will be finalized by, and presented during, the July 25 PLUM Hearing.  We encourage everyone to attend this meeting to show their support.