Kenter Whoops access no longer in danger- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    always learning
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    Mar 2004
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    Kenter Whoops access no longer in danger

    For those of you in the LA area you may have heard that the gated community MountainGate was trying to cut off all public access to trails from their streets. This did not shut down access to the surrounding areas but made it more tasking to get through. I am pleased to say that the efforts of those who enjoy the mountains have paid off and no access limitations will be put up.

    Here is an email I received today:

    Thank you for taking the time to send in protest letters on the gating
    of Canyonback Road.**You may have read that the City Attorney has
    stepped in.**Attached are (1) a Daily Journal update on the Canyonback
    gate situation, and (2) the Los Angeles City Attorney's letter stating
    that, because the proposed gates on Canyonback Road would restrict
    public access , the gates have been "removed" and "No further
    improvements and no further action regarding the gates will be permitted
    at this time."**Further, "the Canyonback street vacation will not
    proceed as originally proposed due to the public access issues related
    thereto."

    We are pleased that the City Attorney has put an immediate stop to the
    gating of Canyonback Road, the public gateway to the Westridge-Canyon
    Back Wilderness Park and the Big Wild.**By terminating the construction
    process and compelling removal of the gates, though not the brick posts
    on which the gate structure would rest, the City Attorney has recognized
    and is protecting the general public's fundamental right of unrestricted
    access to public parkland. Those seeking to enjoy this public treasure
    will not have to beg entry from a private security guard, employed by a
    few homeowners privileged to live along this publicly-owned wilderness
    parkland.

    The City Attorney's letter ends by noting that Councilwoman Miscikowski
    is working with the community to find an alternative solution. This
    caveat is of concern.**There can be no compromise on open and
    unrestricted access to the public parkland. While the Councilwoman's
    office has suggested, in the past, the possibility of diverting the
    trail to the west of Canyonback Road, that is simply not feasible.
    Indeed, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy has previously studied
    the possibility of diverting the trail off Canyonback Road, but
    concluded that there is no feasible way to do so, without restricting
    public access, substantially degrading the trail, or creating risks not
    currently present.**

    Those of you who read today's LA Times article have seen that a
    representative of the Sierra Club's Santa Monica Mountains Task Force
    believes that a trail could be built west of Canyonback Road, on the
    steep hillside.**But the Task Force representative was careful to note
    that the Task Force opposes the gate, and the path she envisions would
    not be a replacement for the critical public access provided by
    Canyonback Road.**Nevertheless, this statement is likely to be taken out
    of context and used by the HOA (and possibly the City), to argue that
    Canyonback Road is not needed for public access.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no adequate
    replacement for public access to the trails via Canyonback Road. It
    serves as a convenient and well-established drive-to access point for
    people who live throughout the City. The California Supreme Court has
    expressly recognized that public roads providing convenient public
    access to public parkland cannot be blocked, gated or restricted. Making
    public access less convenient, by forcing the public to access parkland
    a few miles away from an historic access point, would constitute an
    illegal impairment of public access to public parkland.

    Further, the trail-head off Canyonback Road is used by bikers, hikers,
    joggers, people walking dogs and those walking with small children.**A
    trail carved into the steep hillside, even if it could be accomplished,
    would bottle-neck access down to a single-file path, creating tremendous
    risks for those seeking to enjoy the trails as they have been
    historically enjoyed. This degradation of the public trail would impair
    access illegally.**Indeed, the Conservancy previously concluded that
    such a path would be a substandard and dangerous substitute.**Further, a
    path cut into the steep hillside raises stability, erosion and
    maintenance risks, which likewise render it an inadequate alternative to
    the existing public access road.**So, no matter how the HOA might spin
    the possibility of another trail, it would not solve the public access
    problem created by the gating of Canyonback Road.

    In sum, while we are thrilled with this victory and the City
    Attorney's recognition of the public's access rights, now is not
    the time to become complacent. The Councilwoman does not appear to have
    abandoned the idea of vacating the street and installing the gate, and
    neither has the HOA.**We must keep the public pressure on.**Ask friends
    and other trail users to send protest letters to Councilwoman
    Miscikowski, and to copy us at [email protected] or by fax at
    310-201-2110.**(Sample letters available at www.clipi.org.)**We cannot
    let up now.

    Thomas R. Freeman, Bird Marella Boxer & Wolpert
    1875 Century Park East, 23rd Floor
    Los Angeles, California 90067
    phone: (310) 201-2100
    fax: (310) 201-2110
    [email protected]
    website: www.bmbwlaw.com

  2. #2
    Hung Like a Lightswitch
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    Feb 2004
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    Glad to hear that! I finally made it up to ride Kenter this past Monday and I love that place. Mad props to those who fought to keep it open.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mandown's Avatar
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    May 2004
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    270

    Not So Fast

    [QUOTE=tgreathead] The Councilwoman does not appear to have
    abandoned the idea of vacating the street and installing the gate, and
    neither has the HOA.**We must keep the public pressure on.**Ask friends
    and other trail users to send protest letters to Councilwoman
    Miscikowski, and to copy us at [email protected] or by fax at
    310-201-2110.**(Sample letters available at www.clipi.org.)**We cannot
    let up now.


    We won a battle, but the war is on. HOA and the Ho (i mean councilwoman) are still hot on this issue. Keep an eye on this situation.

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