2010-05-06 / Community

Las Virgenes homeowners fete Yaroslavsky

By Stephanie Bertholdo bertholdo@theacorn.com

Zev Yaroslavsky Zev Yaroslavsky Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky may not live locally, but his environmental voting record over the past 15 years was enough for him to be named Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation “Citizen of the Year” on April 23 at the group’s annual banquet in Malibou Lake.

Yaroslavsky said he was surprised to hear his name announced as the award recipient.

“Honestly, I don’t deserve this,” Yaroslavsky said. “I’m paid to do my work. I never thought it was appropriate for politicians to get this,” he said of the honor.

Since he took office in 1994 Yaroslavsky has helped acquire 7,870 acres of county parkland through bonds and matching funds. His influence helped preserve the Ahmanson Ranch property in eastern Ventura County; King Gillette Ranch, a 588-acre area in the heart of the Malibu Creek watershed; upper and lower Corral Canyon in Malibu; and other key properties.

Yaroslavsky also helped author the 2000 North Area Plan to rein in development in the Santa Monica Mountains.

In 2005, the county approved a grading ordinance that required stiff review of all projects that would grade more than 5,000 cubic yards of soil. The Santa Monica North Area Ridgeline Ordinance, also passed in 2005, prohibited development on significant mountain ridgelines.

The supervisor’s environmental work hasn’t been limited to the mountains. Yaroslavsky introduced laws to improve air and water quality. He led the county’s efforts to join the Sierra Club’s “Cool Counties” initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mandated that L.A. County cut its energy use 20 percent by 2015. The county’s “Green Building” ordinance, passed in 2008, required all new subdivisions of five or more homes to meet higher environmental standards.

A “Low Impact Development Ordinance,” also in 2008, demanded that big developments prevent stormwater runoff from carrying pollutants into the streams and beaches. A Drought Tolerant Landscaping ordinance banned the use of invasive plants in new construction projects.

Community leaders praised Yaroslavsky’s environmental achievements.

John Lowe, immediate past president of the homeowners federation, called Yaroslavsky a “standout among standouts” for his dedication to environmental preservation. “He makes thing happen,” Lowe said. Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Woodland Hills) described Yaroslavsky as a “defender” of the environment.

State Sen. Fran Pavley (DSanta Monica) presented Yaroslavsky with a collage of photographs of the Santa Monica Mountains. But she said he still had “four more years (in office) and thousands of acres yet to acquire.”

“I was really touched by the award and totally blown away,” Yaroslavsky said. “Because the award comes from the citizens who are most impacted by county land-use policies, it’s particularly meaningful to be recognized.”

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